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BATES GETS FIRST SUPERCARS EXPERIENCE

By AutoAction

Eight laps at Winton thanks to Will Brown and Erebus.

Several weeks ago talented youngster Zach Bates had his first serious step towards a future in Supercars with a brief hit out at Winton.

The Canberra kid jumped into an Erebus Motorsport car at the end of the team’s ‘Who’s Next’ day at the Victorian track thanks to his mentor Will Brown and Erebus boss Barry Ryan.

It comes off the back of his domination of the Toyota 86 Series last year and a podium performance last month in his Trans Am debut at Sydney Motorsports Park.

He overshadowed fellow youngsters Nash Morris and Jett Johnson, in a one-off weekend with the Trans Am racer owned by his uncle, to bag third place in the second of three racers and third overall for the weekend.

Bates has no cash but plenty of commitment, as well as talent, and is knocking on doors every day as he looks for a professional future in Supercars.

Brown took him for a passenger run before Bates was handed the wheel of the Mercadore test car for eight laps.

“It was for me to understand what a Supercar is all about,” Bates tells Auto Action. “It was a bit different from what I’ve ever driven. But that’s what makes them so unique and fun.”

The members of the Erebus Academy were the focus for the test day at Winton, but there was still plenty of pressure on Bates.

He knew he could not afford a mistake, but also needed to be fast and smooth. His best lap was less than a second slower than Brown, running on the same tires at the same time of the day.

“He gave me plenty of advice and some little pointers to help speed up the learning process,” says Bates. “There is a lot of stigma around Supercars and everything it stands for.”

Even so, he enjoyed the experience and the challenge as he adjusted to the speed and challenge of the car.

“They’re quite different with grippy slick tires and a sequential gearbox that I haven’t driven a lot. There were just a few things to get used to.”

Bates has no idea what comes next, even with help from Brown, but knows the target in his driving career.

“Now that I’ve driven that, I don’t want to drive anything else,” he says. “I’d love to race Supercars but I’ve still got a long way to go. It was an awesome opportunity to learn.”

The latest edition of AUTO ACTION contains a Young Guns feature on Zach Bates discussing his rise up the motorsport ranks and future ambitions.

To read the full feature purchase the latest edition at your local newsagency or for the digital version click here.

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