Lachlan Mineeff’s eye-opening introduction to TCR Australia
Lachlan Mineeff was not planning to race in the Phillip Island round of Supercheap Auto TCR Australia. However, when the event was postponed by three weeks thanks to a COVID-19 outbreak, it presented the 18-year-old with an unmissable opportunity to make his first appearance in the competitive category.
With no seat time in his VW Golf TCR car prior to the race meeting, Mineeff’s expectations were modest. But a stunning performance in diabolical weather conditions saw the Southern Highlands driver finishing ninth in his first-ever TCR race.
“We weren’t planning to run at Phillip Island but when it got postponed, we were able to do a whole lot of planning and preparation in that three-week period, which enabled us to make the grid,” said Mineeff.
“The weather that weekend was wild and in hindsight it was really good for us.
“In the past I’d never been overly confident in the wet, but it was an equaliser for the whole field, as all the experienced drivers had to contend with one of the first wet TCR races in Australia.”
Mineeff’s appearance at Phillip Island came after a considerable time away from the driver’s seat, as the young gun spent almost the entire 2020 season on the sidelines following his 2019 Formula Ford campaign.
“In 2019 we won two rounds of the Australian Formula Ford Championship and then sold our car because I was ready to take the next step,” he said.
“Thanks to the pandemic, nothing really came to fruition in 2020 but it enabled us to put together this deal for 2021.”
For his Phillip Island debut, Mineeff ran under the Melbourne Performance Centre banner, easing his transition into the series as he lined up amidst a group of experienced team-mates.
Subsequently, Mineeff purchased the #14 Volkswagen Golf GTI and shifted his TCR campaign to a privateer operation under the Purple Sector banner. The Sydney Motorsport Park round marked Purple Sector’s first event as a standalone operation, Mineeff describing the experience as challenging but rewarding.
“There’s certainly plenty of challenges to running as a privateer entry, there’s a lot to learn and it’s a pretty steep learning curve,” he said.
“We’re fortunate that TCR as a category allows us as a single car team to be on the same grid as these big multi-car operations such as Garry Rogers Motorsport and Melbourne Performance Centre.
“It’s pretty cool racing door-to-door with a team like GRM who are such an iconic part of the Australian motorsport scene across so many categories.”
One of the opportunities afforded to Mineeff this year as a direct result of his performances in TCR was a test in Cooper Webster’s S5000 which took place at Sydney Motorsport Park.
“The exposure that we’re getting is phenomenal, from the TV coverage to the social media focus it really helps open doors for other opportunities. I was really fortunate to jump in Cooper Webster’s S5000 on the Thursday night at SMP which was simply exhilarating.”
Now in the backend of the 2021 Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Season, Mineeff is eager to continue improving and building up the Purple Sector team.
“We’re managing our expectations, it’s one of the most competitive fields in the country but we’re confident we can continue to improve each time we hit the track. We’re looking to continue into the future, we own the car and are running the team so the idea would be to remain on the grid for 2022,” he said.
The next round of the series will be held at Morgan Park Raceway in Queensland, to be held on June 25-27. Tickets must be pre-purchased online. CLICK HERE to secure your tickets.