A Q&A with Zach Bates
Courtesy of Gazoo Racing - click here for the full article
Zach chatted with us in the lead up to the TGRA 86 Series opener for 2022 at Sydney Motorsport Park, where he fought to find the line in extremely wet conditions to nab two podium finishes.
Zach Bates is a member of a motorsport dynasty. His dad, uncle and cousins are all legends in their own right. But if the 17 year-old feels the pressure of expectation, you can’t tell by speaking to him. On our after-school zoom call, he comes across as a naturally gifted and quietly confident up-and-comer who just loves to race and give it his best shot. His best shot just happens to mean thirteen podium finishes in a row (and counting).
You’ve grown up in a motorsport family. When did you know professional driving was something you wanted to take on more seriously?
I've been very fortunate that I've been able to grow up in this family. When I was younger I was interested in playing soccer and was doing lots of other sports, which I wasn't very good at. At one point when I was about ten, I went go-karting and I was like, oh, yeah, I definitely want to do this. I was actually quite late to go-karting to be fair. Most kids start at six or seven. But I just joined the local karting club. I had a lot to learn and I enjoyed every bit of it.
What's your training regime been like in the lead up to the TGRA 86 series?
It's not too bad. I do a lot of running, cycling and mountain biking. We're very lucky around here in Canberra that we've got some really cool places to go and ride and run. I've done a little bit of gym work. I probably needed to do a bit more. But yeah, it does get relatively hot in these cars. They've got power steering and brakes that aren't too heavy. You can get away with not doing a lot of fitness. But if you are fit, you can concentrate on the race more.
What’s your favourite track to race on?
I think everyone looks forward to Bathurst. Last year we got lucky because we got to race there two times in the one year, which is actually pretty rare. So whenever you get the opportunity to do laps there, you definitely take them.
“My biggest piece of advice is probably enjoy it.
Because if you're not doing it for fun, why are you doing it?”
What are your proudest career achievements so far?
Last year was a relatively good year for me. Townsville was one of the highlights. I hadn’t been to the track before, so I got two practices to try and learn as much as I could and I managed to take the round there. So that was probably one of the cooler things I've done so far. I really enjoyed racing the track in Townsville too. I actually think it’s even with Bathurst, for me. They put on such a great event.
What does it take to get on a winning streak?
I try not to think about it too much. The competition is very fierce. It can be quite hard to get that momentum. But once you get a few wins under your belt you can kind of figure out your opponents, you know, how they race and what you can do to beat them. The series is so driver based. There aren’t any differences between the cars, so you can clearly see if one driver is doing a better job than you.
Have you ever been tempted to take on rally driving? Is that one of your goals for the future?
I definitely would like to try it. I've done some brief things but nothing too serious. Like I did some rally sprints. But what Harry and Lewis are doing is crazy. If you ever get the opportunity to ride in a rally car, take it because it is out of this world what they do.
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