Cam Waters has scored his first success of 2021 against Shane van Gisbergen, without turning a wheel in his Supercars Mustang.
While the quick Kiwi has been banned from speedway racing over the Supercars off-season, Waters is racing ahead with plans for a big program of sprintcar racing.
Waters has already completed a successful test run and intends to race regularly at tracks around Victoria, including Warrnambool and Avalon near Geelong, to keep himself fit and focussed on racing.
In contrast, SvG has been banned by Triple Eight boss Roland Dane from doing any speedcar racing in New Zealand during the Supercars off-season, despite showing plenty of pace in a test and also winning a high-profile rallysprint across the Tasman.
“I’ve got one-up on Shane,” Waters laughed as he outlined his speedway plan to Race News.
“The difference, I guess, is that I’ve always done speedway. I’ve been talking about sprintcars for a while and trying to put something together. Covid just put a bit of a pause on things.
“I have to thank Tim Edwards from Tickford. He has been enthusiastic from the very outset and even said he would happily jump on the tools at some stage.”
Waters is a former Australian champion in the Modified Sedan category and also took a Victorian title in Late Model sedans.
He is hoping to have a busy summer season in sprintcars, racing with both 360 and 410 engines, using a Maxim chassis from the McFadden family, and driving for the Chief Racing outfit owned by Colin McQuinn. His crew chief is veteran Lindsay Trotter.
“Probably it will be about 10 races over the next three or four months. It depends a little bit on how we’re going, but that’s the plan.
“It would be good to try and do a few more, but it’s a bit harder with the borders the way they are.”
Waters is clear on the benefits of sprintcars in summer.
“Driving anything is good. And something that is so quick has no negatives. You’ve still got to use your brain.
“They are so much fun to drive, with 900 horsepower and 600 kilos. They are so foreign to anything else I’ve driven, just the way you attack things and maximise the car.
“How quickly I’ll have to adapt is the main challenge. I’ve kinda got my head around what I need to do.”
He is not expecting a first-up win but plans to take things steadily as he adjusts to the dirt-track environment.
“To start it’s about finishing. To run in the top half of the field will be good. It’s going to be a challenge.”
But what about crashing, and the potential for injury?
“I’m well aware that I’ll probably be upside-down at some point. I’m not too fazed about it.
“But I wear all the safety gear and the car is good. And the thing with a sprintcar is that it has the wing on top to absorb any impact.
“Speedcars with no wing are probably a little bit more dangerous. I probably wouldn’t race one of them, but I’m happy to be in the sprintcar.”
Although he is focussed on his upcoming sprintcar racing, Waters is also aware that he will be a Supercars title contender in 2021 after his impressive speed and maturity last year.
“When you come second in the points, the next thing is to win it,” Water said.
“The way we finished the year was very strong. I felt we were really understanding the package and the Tickford guys were working well together.
“So I think we can go for a championship.”
And his likely rivals?
“I think Shane will be quick all year. You can never go past Jamie Whincup because he always arrives every year and is competitive.
“And I think Chaz Mostert and Walkinshaw Racing will take another step up.”