Brad Lathrope ended the six-round BNT V8 season on a high, judging the final race of three at Hampton Downs to be his best performance for 2018/2019.
“It was an awesome last weekend and last round of racing. Although Friday and Saturday morning were horrendous with the rain making it the slipperiest track I’ve ever driven on,” Lathrope says.
He admits he struggled to get the best out of his Dayle ITM #73 Ford Falcon super tourer in the wet.
“On Friday afternoon I had a reasonably scary moment coming up the front straight at just under 200kmh where the car snapped completely sideways on me and was heading towards a concrete wall. Thankfully I straightened it out, but my heart was pounding after that. It was a very nervous moment and I don’t want to do that again any time soon.”
It affected his qualifying confidence and Lathrope just concentrated on keeping the Dayle ITM Ford on the circuit which left him off the pace of the Class One front-runners.
The weather cleared up for the first race but unfortunately, he couldn’t capitalise on a dry track as early on he got spun out by another competitor.
“By the time I got the right way around on the track again and got going, I was quite far behind everyone in the class. I tried to catch them, but it was too big of an ask.”
Over Saturday night, Lathrope looked at data and video footage and turned it all into a more positive performance on Sunday, finishing mid-pack in race two.
He saved the best until last and believes race three was “the best I’ve driven the car in regard to brake application and steering input. It was a good positive finish to the weekend.”
While Lathrope would have liked to be mixing it with the top three drivers more over the championship, he knows he still has a lot to learn following on from his first full year in the top tier class.
“I’m still learning, and my boys have got a lot to learn but we are making steps in the right direction as a team. We are closing the gap on the cars in front. It’s not such a big a step, as it was at the beginning of the season.
“Massive thanks to all my sponsors. Deb and Marty from ITM, AJ and Amy from Redline and Tony from A1 Homes, thank you for making the journey out to the track over the weekend. The biggest thank you to my team for always giving me a great car and trying to build my confidence back up when its lacking. Barry Leitch cheers for coming up again from Southland and sharing your knowledge with me and team. I’m very happy with how everything finished this year and I’m excited about what next season holds.”