Harley Haber hopes that a win in the BP Supercars All Stars Eseries will help him land the backing to enter Super2 and revive his real world ambitions.
The 21-year-old prevailed over Dunlop Super2 Series leader Brodie Kostecki, with whom he had shared the front row, in the 31st and final race of the virtual competition at Mount Panorama.
Haber was also a front-runner in the recently completed ARG eSport Cup but has not raced in the real world since 2018.
A funding shortfall left him unable to extend a two-round stint with Image Racing in that year’s Kumho Tyre V8 Touring Car Series into a full season in 2019, and he failed to see out the 2017 Australian Formula 4 Championship for similar reasons.
It was at Image, however, that he worked with Tim Newton, who is now the engineer on Matt Stone Racing’s #34 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship entry for Zane Goddard and Jake Kostecki.
With MSR interested in a return to Super2 during the current season, and Newton having helped to bring Haber into the Queensland team’s fold as something of a sim racing coach, he hopes to use his Eseries success to attract the sponsorship which will have him competing in the second tier of Supercars this year.
“I think now it’s a matter of making the most of this opportunity with all of the coverage that I got last night,” he told Speedcafe.com.
“Obviously Matt gave me a little bit of an opportunity with the Eseries and I made that count, so I’m hoping that we can work something out now in regards to Super2.
“I’m not going to lie, he’s obviously not the only team that’s been in contact, (but) I would like to stay loyal to MSR.
“Now, I’ve got some more ammunition to go to sponsors and say, ‘Hey, look, this is what I’ve done, this is what I can do, this is what I’m capable of, this is all the coverage I’ve got, this is what I’m looking at doing.’
“I can’t confirm that I’m doing Super2 because I still need to get the funds together to make that happen, but from here on in, that’s definitely the goal.”
While current Super2 driver Broc Feeney and McLaren Formula 1 pilot Lando Norris had already driven wildcard entries to victory in the Eseries, Haber is the only one to have done so in a non-reverse grid race.
The Sydneysider believes that the evening was an ideal way to demonstrate his potential.
“I think I’m actually the first one (wildcard) to win a genuine race for pace,” he observed.
“Obviously I came up against some of the biggest names in Australian motorsport, plus they’ve had plenty of time, of practice and racing on the simulator already.
“It’s cool to come into an environment where it’s equal car and equal set-up, which is very difficult to get in the real world, and then to showcase what I can do against those guys on an equal playing field is ideal.”
MSR driver Garry Jacobson, himself only in his second full season in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, helped connect Haber with Supercars Media’s Nathan Prendergast to organise the drive.
The team already has a strong history with young drivers, having taken out the Super2 Series with Todd Hazelwood in 2017 and moved up with the South Australian for his rookie season in the top tier in the following year.
Haber pointed to that achievement as reason to try and pursue a seat with MSR.
“The guys at MSR have really been so helpful with everything so far,” he said.
“You look at Hazelwood and how he came through and progressed, and they’ve won a Super2 championship before.
“Ideally, if I can piece something together with them, I think we’d be able to put a pretty strong programme together, so it’d be a quite promising combination.”
The Super2 Series is set to resume at the Truck Assist Winton event on July 18-19.