Steven Johnson: Jett needs to test himself against Trans Am stars
Steven Johnson wants to get son Jett into the National Trans Am Series sooner rather than later so that the youngster can learn from the stars of the category.
Jett Johnson swept this month’s round of the Promaxx Performance Exhausts TA2 Muscle Car Northern Series, which represented his first four wins in circuit racing.
That Queensland Raceway event was his third in a TA2 car, after debuting in June and picking up finishes of fifth, third, third, and second.
Nathan Herne dominated on that weekend, and is one of the front-runners in the National Trans Am Series which is also a TA2 competition.
He sits four points behind Aaron Seton in the standings, racing in a field which also includes former Supercars and NASCAR driver Owen Kelly.
Jett Johnson could well race against all three if he enters the Trans Am round at November’s Supercheap Auto Bathurst International, which Steven reaffirmed is their plan.
The teenager’s father believes he will benefit from racing against a higher calibre of driver.
“Yeah, he will be,” said Steven of Jett racing at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst International, on the Parked Up podcast.
“We’re definitely trying to do that; we’re just keeping our fingers crossed that it is going to happen.
“That’s the plan, we’d love to take him to Challenge Bathurst [earlier in November] for basically a practice weekend in the Trans Am then the Supercheap Auto Bathurst International for the Trans Am event. That will be pretty much his initiation to the Trans Am class.
“I think he’s nearly ready to go to the ARG [Australian Racing Groups] events and race in Trans Am [Series]. He needs to go up against Seton, Herne, [Ben] Grice and Owen Kelly because that’s where he’s going to learn to improve himself, but also to learn more as a race driver.
“The thing is, he’s learning in the right car. It’s rear-wheel-drive; yes, it’s left-hand-drive, but it’s a four-speed H-pattern, [so] you’ve got to drive it like a Supercar.”
Jett moved into TA2 from Excel competition, and his performances since have given his father further confidence that he is on the right path.
“I was quite nervous putting him in the Trans Am car so early, but he’s handled it really, really well,” said the Supercars race winner.
“It’s surprised a lot of us, surprised myself, Dad [Dick Johnson] and a lot of the guys around the motorsport community because he’s only really done a handful of Excel races.
“That in itself has given us a lot of confidence now in wanting him to move forward and go harder with the top level guys, basically developing what he’s got.
“He goes about it the right way; he doesn’t seem to be trying to go too far by overstepping the mark and then having to bring it back.
“I like how he’s approaching it slowly, slowly and chipping away at it.”
The Supercheap Auto Bathurst International takes place at Mount Panorama on November 26-28.