Callum Hedge says snaring a maiden Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge win in his rookie round was surprising. Still, the young Kiwi is now gunning for more success.
Driving under the guidance of Earl Bamber Motorsport, Hedge delivered a spellbinding wet weather drive in the second race over the weekend at Phillip Island.
The 17-year-old rookie kept his cool as those around him ran into trouble amid the challenging weather conditions. In the end, Hedge eased across the line 15-seconds ahead of his next rival.
However, he says earning his debut win came as a surprise, especially given his lack of experience.
“We definitely were surprised to get a win so early in the piece this year,” Hedge told Velocity News.
“We were aiming for a podium finish this weekend so to get a win we greatly exceeded our expectations. Now we just have to build on this momentum and push on from here.”
Leading up to the weekend, Hedge had completed a handful of test days to get up to speed with the new car. Yet, Saturday was his first time driving the new car in the wet.
“The wet race was incredibly difficult,” he said. “I had never driven a Porsche in the wet at that point. There were a lot of unknowns headed into the race.
“The Earl Bamber Motorsport/Team Porsche New Zealand crew gave me an amazing car, so it was up to me to keep it pointing in the right direction and out of trouble.
“It took me a few laps to get my eye in, but I found the grip and managed to piece it together.”
This season is Earl Bamber Motorsport’s first foray into the Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge.
Hedge is partnered with fellow Kiwi Madeline Stewart for the full Michelin Sprint championship. The team is also debuting in the Porsche Carrera Cup Australia series with defending Toyota Racing Series champion Matthew Payne.
Despite the team being new to the championship and working with Hedge, their young driver believes everyone is getting along strongly.
“We are gelling very well at the team, we get along great, and all describe things in a similar way.
“The crew have vast experience running several different cars, so there is a lot to learn from everyone.
“We had also Steve Owen come on board and help Madeline and I out over the weekend. It was great to learn from someone who has a lot of driving experience.”
Following his win, Hedge now sits second in the driver standings. Looking ahead to the end of the championship at Bathurst in November, he identifies consistency and reliability as the key to remaining in the title fight.
“We have to maintain strong consistency in every race and have no DNF’s.
“There’s always things I can improve in myself around my driving technique, so we will likely do a test day and keep trying to perfect my technique.
“We also had a few engine and gearbox issues that we will fix and head into the round two stronger than ever.
“It’s about constantly scoring strong points and learning when to be aggressive and when to hold back. Hopefully we will be in the hunt at Bathurst by the end of the year.”