Moffat samples S5000 in Winton test
SUPERCHEAP Auto TCR Australia star James Moffat has traded four cylinders for eight during a Winton test day this week.
Moffat, who regularly drives a LMCT+ backed Renault Megane RS in the two-litre touring car category, tested a Garry Rogers Motorsport-prepared S5000 entry yesterday in what was his first drive of an open-wheeler in 15 years.
The chance to experience Australia’s premier open wheel category came after Moffat spent the 2021 S5000 Australian Drivers’ Championship in the pit lane as a mentor to GRM young gun, Nathan Herne.
“It’s a very cool car to drive,” said Moffat, who progressed through Formula Ford on his way up the motorsport ladder in Australia.
“For me, it has certainly been a long time between drinks in regards to driving an open wheeler. It was back in 2007 when I last drove Formula Ford, so it has been a while!
“Up until now, there hasn’t been the opportunity to drive one. Garry had always said that he’d like me to do it, and about mid morning, Gaz came up to me and said “It’s about time you jumped in one of these.”
“It hadn’t been on my radar to do it, but I’m really glad that I got the opportunity.
“I’ve seen first hand what’s gone into building all the cars at GRM, so it was nice to finally get the chance to experience it.”
Moffat said the experience, even on a slower, more technical circuit like Winton’s 3.2km layout, gave enough of an insight into how challenging the Rogers AF01/V8 package is to steer.
“I was able to squeeze into Nathan’s seat insert, the belts fit me and away we went,” he explained.
“Of course, Winton is not a circuit like Phillip Island or Sydney Motorsport Park, but it was certainly enough of an experience to get an impression of what they are like to drive, the horsepower and how much you have to muscle the cars and how brutal they are. I can really appreciate now more what these guys are dealing with.
“It was nice to tick the box and know more about what they are like to drive.”
Moffat’s role as a mentor to Herne paid off for the 18-year-old driver who was contesting his first full national level championship.
A sixth-placed finish in the Valvoline-backed GRM entry included seven podium finishes across the four round, 12-race campaign.
Some seat time in the S5000 entry has allowed Moffat to gain a better understanding of what his young charge was up against throughout the season.
“It is good to understand more what he is talking about and what he is going through out on the track,” said Moffat.
“If I continue in that sort of role with him, or any S5000 driver, then this drive will be beneficial.
“I now know more about them, and they are cool to drive. It was really nice to tick the box and I’m very thankful to GRM for the opportunity.”
As well as his TCR Australia commitments, Moffat plans to make his debut in the national TransAm series aboard a Ford Mustang sporting an iconic livery later this year.