The privateer punching above his weight
Everyone loves a fairytale story and Zac Soutar’s victory at AWC Race Tasmania with his family-operated privateer team was just that.
The plucky privateer debuted in the category last year after a prolonged period off track due to the global pandemic where it was a baptism of fire, but support from Spicers Australia prior to the Bathurst finale where he scored a sixth in Race 3 provided good momentum for 2022.
Forging a closer relationship with Australian Honda TCR distributor Wall Racing through set-up for this year has already proven to be a masterstroke.
At AWC Race Tasmania, Soutar was the fastest Civic Type R TCR in qualifying before taking two sixths and a race victory, the 16th different winner in Supercheap Auto TCR Australia at the time.
Since then, Soutar has marked himself as the leading privateer in field and continues to cement himself in the top 10.
Soutar even led the series at Phillip Island after a fifth position in Race 1, but a tangle with HMO Customer Racing rookie Bailey Sweeny dropped him down the order and his time at the top ended.
He rebounded by finishing eighth in the final race, before struggling at the Mountain to record a trio of 13th place finishes.
But Sydney Motorsport Park last month welcomed a return to the top five, before finishing ninth and 12th for the weekend as tyres fell away.
A true family operation as former sidecar motorcycle riding father Shane leads the team as Soutar’s brother Tom helps twiddles the spanners on the weekends, while long-time engineer Brett Francis continues with the team after linking up in Formula Ford.
The Geelong-based team proves what is possible for a small squad in Supercheap Auto TCR Australia, but there are challenges to come namely the return of Queensland Raceway and Sandown to schedule after a three year hiatus.
Sitting equal eighth in the standings, Soutar lies 63-points behind series leader and fellow Honda driver Tony D’Alberto, but is sure to continue his giant killing act as the season enters its conclusion.
The next round of the Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series is at Queensland Raceway on August 5-7 as part of the SpeedSeries.