Buchan “didn’t care” about TCR title

Josh Buchan hopes to return to defend his Supercheap Auto TCR Australia title next year. Image: Daniel Kalisz/RACE PROJECT

HMO Customer Racing’s Josh Buchan won a thrilling maiden Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series title at Bathurst last weekend, but admits he “didn’t care” much about the local title as he looked to do battle with the overseas stars in TCR World Tour.

Mechanical problems and a post-race disqualification for teammate Bailey Sweeny enhanced Buchan’s chances following a solid outing at Sydney Motorsport Park the previous weekend.

In the end it was 50-point margin back to reigning series winner Tony D’Alberto, with the inter-team battle between Buchan and Sweeny for the title gaining all the attention.

Luck was not on Sweeny’s side as he entered Bathurst with a 29-point lead, which was reduced in half after the opener before an intercooler pipe disconnected three times during Race 2 and a disqualification in the final led to the i30 N TCR driver dropping to third in the standings.

Given Buchan’s Elantra N TCR’s troubled history at Mount Panaroma and Sweeny’s supreme pace there, Buchan’s attention wasn’t on securing the title, rather giving a good show against the international drivers.

“Coming into the TCR World Tour rounds I was a long shot in the points and really put the series title in the back of my mind,” Buchan reflected.

“I didn’t really care about it, I just wanted to punch on with some Euros to be honest and in Sydney I felt like I did a good job of that.

“I feel like having a dip against those boys, earning some respect up and down the grid off those guys in Sydney maybe put a little bit of pressure on the Sweeny side of things. He didn’t slow down or anything, but it definitely helped me out coming up to Bathurst.

“Bailey’s a weapon around here, so I knew it be hard. Every bit of media I did leading up to the event, I said I didn’t care how I went. I was content with how I had gone and I felt like I’d squeezed every point I could produce throughout the year. I feel the same now, that’s as many points I could have scored in 2023.

“There was a bit of luck my way, I had some bad luck come my way earlier in the year.”

Buchan enjoyed racing against the international contingent and praised was heaped on HMO Customer Racing from TCR World Tour competitors on the professionalism of the outfit.

“They race hard, they don’t mess about, which is the racing I love and what I’m used to from my go kart days,” he said.

“It was great to see the differences between the brands and my own, which are all things we can take into when we hopefully run the number one next year.

“I think the factory Hyundai team early on figured we already had a good package as well. I’ve had some comments up and down the grid that ours (HMO Customer Racing) is the best Elantra they’ve come across globally outside of BRC and that’s a credit to HMO Customer Racing.

Buchan is targeting a return next year and with his support from Hyundai’s N Australia division believes it will happen and is eager to participate alongside the TCR World Tour again.

“Yeah, I think so,” Buchan said.

“This is obviously pretty motivating for my sponsors, it’s always nice when you’ve got the number one on the car, so hopefully they want to go again and there will be only one place you’ll find me.

“I feel like the last two rounds, people will enter the year just to participate in the TCR World Tour because there is no other category on the planet where you can get into a car and compete against the best guys in the world, and actually have a chance.”

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