Confirmed: Chelsea Herbert steps up to Toyota Camry V8
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After becoming the first woman to win a race in BNT V8s history last season, it's been confirmed that Chelsea Herbert will be stepping up from the second-tier Class Two group into Class One.
The Auckland-based Herbert joins Richards Team Motorsport — taking over the Toyota Camry that Supercars driver André Heimgartner raced to the overall championship win last season.
Photo / BNT V8s, supplied
“I'm really enjoying be part of Richards Team Motorsport and I think we will be able to achieve great results over the six race weekends,” said Herbert.
“Since I was 7 it's just been Dad and me, mainly. So to step into a team where Dad has to take a back seat in the mechanical side of things is strange but it’s a taste of what’s to come further down the track with my career.”
The 19-year-old joined the series two seasons ago, racing a TL-spec Ford Falcon formerly driven by Tim Edgell. Season one saw her claim a maiden pole position, with season two bringing on a first race victory at Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park and a third-place finish in the Class Two standings. More recently, Herbert also competed in the ENEOS North Island Endurance Series with MIKE Racing, in an Aston Martin Vantage GT4.
With the differences between Class One and Class Two machinery being seven to eight seconds a lap, the move represents a significant jump. But, having already tested the MTF Finance and Superiol backed Camry, Herbert is gaining confidence.
“I’ve had about half a day out at Pukekohe so far, which went really well. The car is a lot easier to drive than what I had anticipated. It also seems physically a lot easier to drive than the Class Two car, which surprised me a little.
“The biggest challenge for me at the moment was not getting the full brake pressure down quick enough. I have a couple of test days coming up to get that nailed down before we move on to the finishing touches prior to round one.”
Herbert is just part of an entirely new driver line-up at Richards Team Motorsport. She joins two Australians — Scott Taylor (who returns to the series after a season away) and 21-year-old BNT V8s rookie Brenton Grove.
Grove represents a fresh wave of interest from young drivers over the Ditch that are keen to develop their skills during their off-season. Currently in the midst of an up-and-down first season in the Dunlop Super2 development series across the ditch.
He will hope to follow the footsteps of fellow Super2 driver Jack Smith and the aforementioned Heimgartner — both having credited improved performances in Australia with seat time in the BNT V8s.
Round one of the 2018–’19 BNT V8s series takes place at the Auckland SuperSprint Virgin Australia Supercars Championship event, November 2–4.