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No stopping Zach when it comes to racing cars

Taken from Article by Nick Overall - City News - June 2022

Zach Bates may have only got his P-plates in recent months, but the 18-year-old has more experience behind the wheel than any learner-driver logbook could count.

While during the week he may be studying like a normal year 12 student, on weekends he’s roaring around race tracks in his Toyota 86 and solidifying his spot as one of Australian motor sport’s most promising young competitors.

The Queanbeyan resident’s prowess saw him dominate last year’s Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia (TGRA) 86 series, winning nine consecutive races and breaking the previous five-in-a-row record.

...Zach is eager to prove himself this year after covid wreaked havoc with last year’s team schedules, leading Toyota to decide a championship would not be declared and denying Zach an official title despite his nine-win domination.

Broadcast live on television, the series is considered a proving ground for up-and-coming racers.

“The great thing about this series is that all the cars are the same, you can change a few things, but mostly the parity is strong so it brings it down to the driver,” says Zach.

It also pits racers against champions of the sport who attend as mentors. This year Bates raced alongside Bathurst 1000 legends Warren Luff and Jonathon Webb.

“To lean on people like them and to get advice off them is invaluable,” says Zach.

“It’s such a useful tool for young drivers and I tried to consume as much knowledge as I could.”

Zach himself comes from something of a racing dynasty.

His father, Rick, and his uncle, Neal, are twin rally pros who both took out multiple major events throughout their racing careers. Zach’s cousins Harry and Lewis Bates are also national rally competitors.

...Not unlike another young Queanbeyan racing prodigy by the name of Mark Webber, Zach’s interest in racing was ignited by go-karting.

...While away from it all, the Canberra Grammar student is working his way towards the finish line of high school, he’s still full speed ahead on pursuing a racing career afterwards.

“It is a very financially induced sport, so to be able to get the funds to get to that next step is definitely a challenge and you always have to have a backup in case it doesn’t work,” he says.

“Supercars is the ultimate goal.”

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