Lathrope closed out his first year of Class One competition at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park with a set of strong finishes inside the top 10.
It was a tough task for the 28-year-old Aucklander who had to battle with a field more than double the size seen in previous rounds.
That meant he was up against some fierce competition too, with the likes of series returnee Scott Taylor and ex-SUPER GT Series ace Jono Lester in the mix.
The opening race of the weekend saw Lathrope finish rearwards of the top 10 runners, but by the final race he was inside the top-five.
For Lathrope, getting through the final few races of the season unscathed was a positive to take away considering the ill fortune found in the opening two rounds.
With mechanical drama early in the season he’d been in no man’s land. Fortunately The final brought opportunities to battle for position for the first time all season.
“The races were all pretty cool,” Lathrope said.
“I actually got to pass a few people, which was awesome. I passed Matt Tubbs, Scott Taylor and Jono Lester.”
Lathrope struggled in practice and qualifying to get a feel for the car, which meant when he got to the opening race of the weekend he was uncomfortable.
After passing a few of the drivers he made a couple of mistakes and dropped back to eighth by the chequered flag.
Come Sunday morning, the crew make big set up changes to the car to get Lathrope more in tune with his Ford Falcon FG.
“My braking improved massively and I did a quicker time in the race than what I qualified with. I was blown away.
“I had a wicked race with Jono Lester for a few laps until he made a mistake and I passed him. I had another battle with Scott Taylor, Matt Tubbs and Blair MacDonald and managed to finish ahead of all of them.
“We fully ended the season on a high. I’m so happy. It felt so good having door-to-door races with everyone, not for one or two laps, a whole race.
“I was fizzing. When I was behind Jono I got on the radio and screamed ‘this is awesome!’”
With the off-season in full swing, Lathrope said he’s looking to up his game for the 2018–’19 season. He’ll look to cut more laps around Hampton Downs as well as trying to get some more practice in karts. On top of that Lathrope is focused on getting fighting fit for the new season.
Overall, the 2017–’18 season was an eye opener for Lathrope as he tried as best as he could to keep up with the more experienced lead pack
“I’ve got a much better understanding now of what it means to run with the top class.
“Personally I went into this season with my expectations way too high and expected things to be easier than what they were. It was a nice wake up call to put him in good stead for the off season now to prepare myself.
“I wouldn’t change a thing.”