What Dalton wants from Tickford wildcard

28 Jun
Lochie Dalton has a Gen3 Mustang test day under this belt, and is now eyes forward to Sydney
3 mins by James Pavey, Images by Tickford Racing
  • Lochie Dalton eyes full-time Supercars future

  • Young Tassie driver to make Supercars debut in Sydney

  • Dalton to steer third Tickford Mustang at July 19-21 round

Lochie Dalton is determined to see how he stacks up against Supercars' best in his debut as he eyes a full-time future in the main game.

The 22-year-old Tasmanian will steer a third Tickford Racing Gen3 Ford Mustang at the upcoming Panasonic Air Conditioning Sydney SuperNight.

Dalton will become the second Dunlop Series driver to make wildcard Supercars starts in 2024, following Cooper Murray’s debut with Triple Eight Race Engineering in Darwin.

Tickford has history in blooding future Supercars stars, with Thomas Randle rising to the top flight in 2022 following wildcard cameos in 2019 and 2021.

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Dalton, who joined Tickford’s ranks this year, doesn’t want Sydney to be a flash in the pan — rather, he wants to benchmark himself against current stars, and see what he needs to one day join them.

"I obviously don't want to do it as a one-off, I want it to be something I do full-time in the future,” Dalton told Supercars.com.

“At the moment, it’s about getting the experience, seeing where I line up, and then go back to the drawing board. It will all help show me what I need to work on to be there full-time."

Dalton completed his first test day in his Gen3 Ford — chassis TR-28, previously raced by Cam Waters — at Winton Motor Raceway earlier this week.

There, the young driver acquainted himself with the car — complete with Dalton’s name and the team’s famous #5 — in what could be his only test before Sydney.

While it wasn’t Dalton's first taste of Gen3 machinery — the former Brad Jones Racing junior tested Bryce Fullwood’s Chevrolet Camaro last year — he will have familiarity in Sydney courtesy of veteran engineer Dilan Talabani, who oversees Tickford’s Dunlop Series squad.

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“It was obviously a very busy day, because it's looking like it'll be the only test we get,” Dalton said.

"I had to learn all the pit stop stuff in a day — there's a lot more to it than just pulling into the pits, you’re also rejoining on cold tyres and pushing as hard as you can. Also, just trying to get comfortable in the car as well.

“But it was a really good day. Especially first thing in the morning, when the car rolled out with my name on it, even just having all the boom and stuff in the pit lane, it was pretty cool."

Dalton is one of three stars signed to Tickford’s junior academy, Tickford Autosport, alongside Brad Vaughan and Rylan Gray.

The three young drivers have benefited from having Waters and Randle in their corner, with Dalton dialling in to Supercars.com following a big day cutting simulator laps in Townsville at Randle’s Dream Simulation business in Melbourne.

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Randle also joined Dalton at Wednesday's test day at Winton.

It is bringing Waters and Randle full circle, with both current main game stars previously rising through Tickford’s ranks in the Dunlop Series.

“Thomas nearly made me run late for my flight! We were smashing out heaps of laps,” Sydney-based Dalton said on Thursday.

“Cam and Thomas are both really enthusiastic, and love to help. Cam's usually in our debriefs and if we have questions or queries, they’re always there to answer them.

"Thomas is usually the first person to open our door when we call into the garage on a test day to see what we need to do better.”

Dalton will resume his Dunlop Series campaign in Townsville next weekend, ahead of his Supercars debut in Sydney on July 19-21.

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