Josh Buchan triumphs with Elantra N TCR
HMO Customer Racing Elantra N TCR driver Josh Buchan has secured the 2023 TCR Australia championship in the season finale at Mount Panorama circuit, Bathurst this weekend. Team-mate Bailey Sweeny finished third overall in the standings.
“The HMO Customer Racing team have appeared unbeatable at times this season,” commented Andrea, our Customer Racing Manager. “It shows in their two drivers finishing first and third in the final standings.”
A close battle
Josh leapfrogged his team-mate Bailey Sweeny for the title, with the key moment happening in Race 2 of the weekend where Bailey failed to finish with a technical problem. Despite being passed by several TCR World Tour entrants, Josh was able to hold on to the final TCR Australia podium place in the race.
“What a crazy weekend, and a tough way to wrap up the championship,” said an ecstatic Josh. “It’s a massive relief. I haven’t won a national championship before, and I’m lost for words at the moment.”
After also failing to score in the final race of the weekend, Bailey dropped a further place in the standings to third.
“It’s been a bittersweet weekend at Bathurst, and a weekend of what could have been,” said Bailey. “To come so close is hard to take and to say I’m disappointed is a bit of understatement.”
A successful year
Josh became the second driver to take the series title with HMO Customer Racing and with Bailey third in the standings, the 2023 championship has been the most successful season yet for the HMO Customer Racing squad. Both drivers have accounted for victory in a third of the races during the year.
Josh had his worst performance of the season at Symmons Plains circuit, leaving the weekend eighth in the points. He began his climb up the order with his only wins of the campaign in Race 1 and 3 on the Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit. Another two podiums at Winton put him in position to take the championship lead at the start of the second half of the season at Queensland.
Bailey led the championship from the start with two wins and Symmons Plains and two podiums at Winton before a poor weekend at Queensland dropped him behind his team-mate.
Josh’s consistency in the Elantra N TCR kept the gap to his team-mate small enough to fight till the final round after Bailey took a further two wins at Sandown.
The final two rounds saw an increased opposition in the form of the TCR World Tour grid, but despite this Josh remained strong. Two top five finishes in Sydney helped to further close the gap to his team-mate. His two podiums at Bathurst allowed him to take advantage of his team-mate’s misfortune and clinch the title.
“Josh’s performance over the course of the season makes him a more than worthy champion,” added Andrea. “He has shown great pace with the Elantra N TCR – especially in the final two rounds against not only his Australian rivals, but the drivers of the TCR World Tour.”