Zac Soutar keen to kick Bathurst bogey
The Mountain hasn’t been kind to 2022 surprise packet Zac Soutar, but the Geelong privateer is eager to kick his bogey at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst International.
It has been a remarkable rise for the Spicers Australia-supported Honda driver as he sits equal fourth in the standings and scored his maiden victory at the opening meeting of the season, AWC Race Tasmania.
Not only this, but at the last two rounds Soutar has acted as back up to Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series leader Tony D’Alberto successfully finishing runner up twice to the factory-supported driver at Queensland Raceway.
However, Soutar still wants to tick off a couple of achievements before the season is out.
“I haven’t scored a pole yet or a fastest race lap and they are two things I’d like to do before the year is out,” said Soutar.
“I’d obviously love to do that at Bathurst, but we have to wait and see.”
It will be no easy feat due to the Civic Type R TCR being unfancied at Mount Panorama, but Soutar is determined to improve his performance during Easter where he failed to make the top 10.
“The Peugeots are quite quick there and the Honda is good, but not quite the best, so we’ll see what happens to see if we can pull it off,” Soutar summarised.
“I think we’ll go better at Bathurst for sure. The thing with the Honda is it’s very fast through open, flowing corners, so in theory it should be really fast across the top of the Mountain, but the only drama with that is if we get stuck in traffic, we can’t make the most of that and we struggle in other areas of the circuit.
“Where the Honda really lacks at Bathurst is up the hill exiting Hell Corner where the other cars pull a couple of lengths on us. We don’t have that mid-range grunt to get up the hill, but at the end of Conrod we come on song and it has quite good top end in addition to what I mentioned earlier through the second sector.
“If we can qualify towards the front, I think we will race well, but it’s all dependent on getting that lap in and trying to get ourselves in the top five so we’re in a good position for the race.”
To most Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series observers Soutar’s rise has been a surprise, however not to him.
“A part of me knew we could do it and I believed last year we looked like numpties running around at the back of the field because we weren’t sure what we were doing, learning and going through that process of discovering everything,” he reflected.
“I was confident when we got a bit of an idea and a bit of direction with the car that we could be among the top five or top 10. I didn’t quite think we’d score four podiums and sitting equal fourth in the standings, but I’ll take it.
“I knew that with the team I have around me, they are a great bunch of guys and I believed we’d get there eventually.”
Also, building on a good working relationship with D’Alberto and Wall Racing has become beneficial to both sides.
“The way Tony and I can openly talk about stuff is pretty good,” Soutar explained.
“We might try something in our cars and we’ll have pretty similar feedback or I’ll go one way, he goes other then we’ll talk about it to find a direction.
“It’s been really cool working with Wall Racing and Tony, which I think has benefitted all of us and I hope it continues into next year.”
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