Sydney based British racer, Sydney based British racer, Cam Walton enjoyed a competitive weekend at the brand new The Bend Motorsport Park in South Australia.
On equal footing for the first time in this years Toyota 86 Racing Series, Walton showed his potential early in the event topping both practice sessions in the lead up to qualifying. Relishing the challenge of a new track that nobody had prior experience on.
"The Bend is an awesome track and facility, and I loved driving the Toyota 86 round it," said Walton after the weekend.
"The way the car is so perfectly balanced means braking late, loading it up and dancing it around the corners. It was so much fun putting laps together, and driving it on the pedals around the fast stuff was so rewarding."
Walton qualified in sixth and showed plenty of pace adapting to the ever-changing circuit during the three races earning a podium finish in the second race. However, a race win did go begging after pushing the limits in an intense battle while leading the field in the third race. Ending the weekend with a fifth, second and fifth across the three races.
"The level playing field with a new track definitely mixed things up, and I think we can confidently say we were the best team for staying on top of the track evolution and dramatic condition changes across the 3 days, never dropping out of the top 5 or 6." Walton continued.
"I can't thank the guys enough for giving me a perfect race car in every single session."
"It's no mistake that we were up the front this weekend... we've put in a lot of hours back at the workshop, on the dyno and at the test track since Townsville to keep developing the car and package, allowing me to focus on my driving and preparation to the full as well."
"A round win went begging and it hurts to lose on another podium or win in race 3 but that was by no fault of the team or car. A debut podium was incredible and showed all the work since Townsville paid off. We're taking a lot from that."
"I know what I did and I know why, so I'll be working hard on that for the next race." "I'm already knuckling down and doing my homework, and the team are more motivated than ever to turn up more competitive at the next round."
"Confidence is high and we are in a good place at the moment. This momentum has come just at the right time for our triple-header of The Bend, Sandown and Bathurst."
Walton was also thankful to have family support for the round at The Bend, with his family making the trip from the UK to watch him race for the first time on Australian soil. "Having family here was a huge boost," said Walton.
"Other than the fact I haven't seen them in months. Having my parents and Grandma all at the event along with my Adelaide family for moral support helped ease the weekend along smoothly, following on from my girlfriend Nai flying over for the 2 weeks before the race."
"It's been a lonely campaign at times having moved here on my own and being such a small team of just 3 it can be really tough at times. This weekend it felt like a team of 10 all pulling together and bought back memories of club racing with the family back in the UK. It was great."
Walton has now closed the gap to the lead of the championship, moving up to fourth in the Toyota 86 Racing Series standings in the process.
"We've narrowed the gap to the championship lead to half what it was after Townsville"
"Now halfway through the championship, consistency in the face of strong competition and new challenges is being rewarded, but we need to keep pushing in the second half of the season."
"If you'd asked us at the start of the season if we'd be happy with where we are now at the halfway point, I think we'd all be ecstatic - and we should all be proud of what we've achieved so far, but we also know we have more to give and are still growing as a team."
The Toyota 86 Racing Series heads to Sandown Raceway in Melbourne for the next round on September 14-16, alongside the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship.
Cam would like to thank all his supporters for their continued assistance, including:
•Greenthumb Lawn Treatment Service
Toyota 86 Racing Series 2018 Schedule:
•Races 1, 2 & 3 WD-40 Phillip Island 500 April 20-22
•Races 4, 5 & 6 Watpac Townsville 400 July 6-8
•Races 7, 8 & 9 The Bend SuperSprint August 24-26
•Races 10, 11 & 12 Sandown September 14-16
•Races 13, 14 & 15 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 October 4-7
•Races 16, 17 & 18 Coates Hire Newcastle 500 November 23-25