Dalton remains confident as Trans Am title fight heats up
Lochie Dalton will remain focused on his own performances in the final rounds of the National Trans Am Series despite the growing pressure around series title fight with Garry Rogers Motorsport teammate and series leader, James Moffat.
The Tasmanian was unable to close the gap on Moffat at Queensland Raceway earlier this month, with Moffat extending his lead ever so slightly, with 13 points now separating the duo ahead of the fifth round of the season at Sandown International Raceway next month.
Not only has he got to worry about Moffat breaking away, but Dalton will also have to keep an eye on the rapid Tom Hayman, who now sits only 36 points back after a dominant clean sweep in Ipswich.
In what is building up to be one of the most important stretches of races in his young career, Dalton knew he needed to do everything he could to get the upper hand while ensuring he stays out of trouble.
“We feel like we are in a really good spot, Moff is going to be quite strong in these final rounds, so he is definitely the driver to beat,” Dalton said.
“Going into Queensland Raceway, I wanted to be relatively conservative. Although, in race one I did a lot of damage to the car but the red flag saved me – that could have been me done for the title race right there.
“Now I know I need to finish the races and try not to take as big of risks as I would like to take, but still maximise every opportunity I can.
“Hopefully we can match Moffat at Sandown – the goal is to keep up the front and keep finishing races, I’m feeling pretty good so I hope I can pick him.”
Whilst Dalton will continue to work alongside his teammates between rounds, he was adamant the gloves start to come off once out on track.
“You have a little bit more respect and give a little bit more room when it’s your teammate you are going up against, but at the end of the day, we are fighting for a title and we are not just going to let each other go past, you still race hard,” Dalton explained.
“GRM are really good with understanding a title fight between their two drivers, they have been through it plenty of times before in the past, it’s all very friendly off the track but once you are out there, everything changes.
“Although, when you see what Tom (Hayman) did in Queensland, you know you can’t mess around too much and only focus on each other.
“There is a little bit of a buffer, but you see how quickly the gap closes up and everything can change, so we aren’t writing him out of the race yet either.”
As for the next round at Sandown International Raceway, it’s business as usual for Dalton and the GRM team.
“Nothing changes on our end ahead of Sandown. It’s a fresh track as we didn’t do much running there last year after I blew a motor on the dry laps in practice, so I will be doing as much preparation as I can,” Dalton explained.
“The weather can be unpredictable, it could be sunny and then start raining a couple of minutes later, you just don’t know.
“Driving with GRM, you know whatever conditions you jump into they are going to give you the best possible package. You just have to get in and drive it to the best of your ability.
“I love the circuit, I have a lot of confidence going into the round and as long as we get our preparation right, I feel like we are in for a shot.
The National Trans Am Series will return to the track for the fifth round of its 2023 season at Sandown International Raceway on 8-10 September.