Kaleb Ngatoa says he is walking into this weekend’s round of the S5000 championship with confidence after a strong debut outing in Phillip Island.
Ngatoa came out of his rookie weekend with a tenth and eighth in races one and three. He would retire from the second race due to a driveshaft failure.
The 19-year-old was on the brink of the podium in race three after starting 11th, only to experience an off-track excursion on the final lap to finish eighth.
While he says he would have enjoyed achieving some better results, Ngatoa is buzzing with confidence and is excited to see what is in store this weekend at Sandow.
“Honestly, I just completely forgot about Saturday and said there’s no point in focusing on the past and really just put my head down and wanted to show people what we can do,” Ngatoa told Velocity News.
“I had a really good first lap, and then obviously, that red flag came out. But the confidence I gained in myself after that first lap meant I knew what I could do with the car and race through the pack.
“I would have loved to have some better results on the table, but even though we had a few mechanical issues I learnt so much about how the car drives and I got some good laps under me ready for the next round.”
Until last weekend, Ngotoa had never experienced the grunt of the V8-powered S5000 machine. He says the experience is like nothing else he had ever driven.
“When I first put my foot flat to the floor it was just incredible. The power pushes you back into the seat. It was an amazing feeling.
“The mechanical grip the car has with its big rear tyres is awesome you can carry a lot of speed and have a lot of trust in the car to stick to the road.”
Alongside understanding the ins-and-outs of an unfamiliar car, each new round presents Ngatoa with the task of learning foreign circuits.
“I think just getting a good understanding of the track and how it all flows,” he said when asked what the biggest challenge for him this weekend is.
“Obviously, Sandown is another new track to me but as long as I can get my head around it fast, I’m sure I’ll be ok.”
Race three at Phillip Island highlighted the Ngatoa’s ability to charge through the field and run at a consistent pace to the front runners.
However, he says that doesn’t mean he will be targeting podiums or even race wins this year.
“I’m feeling really good about this weekend and I am confident in myself.
“I’m not going to put any pressure on me to win or anything, I’m just going to have fun and feel good in the car and see where we end up. But I would love to be able to take it to those guys.”