Nathan MorcomA class win in the Australian Production Touring Car Championship round at Phillip Island was ideal preparation for Nathan Morcom before he heads back to the USA to resume his F2000 campaign. James Smith photo.

With a four-week break between F2000 Championship Series rounds, Nathan Morcom didn’t want to idle away the time.

So, during a flying visit home to Australia, the 19 year-old Sydney driver popped down to Phillip Island in Victoria last weekend for a touring car race.

Not just a sprint event, but the first round of the Australian Production Car Endurance Championship, over six hours!

Nathan co-drove a Direct Plasterboard Outlet/Eastern Creek Karts BMW 335i in the race with his father, Barry, and Garry Holt.

And they won their class – by no fewer than five laps!

The car performed faultlessly throughout the marathon, the only hiccups being when Barry received a drive-through penalty for overtaking under yellow flags, and a delaminating tyre near the finish.

Nathan, who clocked the fastest race lap of the three drivers, said track conditions made the high-speed 4.5km Phillip Island circuit even more demanding than usual.

“It didn’t rain but the track was very slippery, so I had to concentrate on being consistent as well as quick.

“One small slip-up on any of the fast corners and the race would have been over for all three of us.

“The only worry was when a tyre started delaminating with a few laps to go – there was a massive vibration through the steering – but luckily it held together until the end.”

Morcom is scheduled to jet out of Sydney today (Monday) to return to the USA for the resumption of the F2000 Championship Series next weekend.

Driving a Rondo Van Diemen for Ohio-based Primus Racing, he’s looking for top-three results in the two rounds at the former US Formula 1 Grand Prix venue in upstate New York.

His 2011 campaign in the USA’s most competitive ‘junior development’ openwheel racing series began with a sensational debut victory and a fifth placing in the opening rounds at Virginia International Raceway in early-April.

But a driving error and car problems in the following rounds at Road Atlanta a month later yielded only a fifth placing and a non-finish.

“I need a strong weekend at Watkins Glen to make up for Road Atlanta,” Morcom said.

“I didn’t make the most of qualifying for the first race, but a bigger problem was that while we were trying get the handling right we didn’t notice that the engine was losing power.

“I finished fifth in the first race, but it was only after the throttle cable broke on the first lap of the second race that we saw the cable had stretched, causing the car to be down on top speed.”

“Fortunately I can drop my worst four races for the final pointscore, but I can’t afford more weekends like at Road Atlanta!”

With four of 14 rounds of the F2000 Championship Series completed, Morcom is third in the Rookie standings and fifth outright (see pointscore, below).