As the 2020 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour closes in and drivers begin their preparations for the big event, one driver finds himself in unfamiliar territory.
At just 16-years-old, Bayley Hall will make his debut at Bathurst and will enter the endurance race with the tag of being the youngest driver in the field – a label that does not intimidate the teenager.
Growing up in karting, Hall then successfully graduated Motorsport Australia’s Ricciardo’s Racers program in 2017, an initiative aimed at giving Australian teenagers important driving skills and their first taste of motorsport - at the ripe old age of 13.
Following on from the program, the inspired Queenslander then spent the next three years on the state circuit, moving straight into the Hyundai Excel X3 Series.
From there, a stint on the national stage with the Motorsport Australia GT Championship at the Vodafone Gold Coast 600 gave Hall some good practice in a race car and put him in the right direction.
With the biggest race of his career just over a week away, Hall believes Ricciardo’s Racers gave him the confidence and helped kick start his motorsport career.
“When I did Ricciardo’s Racers, it was my first time in a car with a roof over my head. It is definitely an awesome program and I am glad I did it,” Hall said.
“To have the support from high profile drivers and learning from their coaching was unbelievable. Especially coming straight out of go-karts.
“It was really good to get used to how big a car is compared to a kart as well as spatial awareness difference. So many other things come into play when driving and the things you need to worry about when you’re in car are very different. We were taught all of this during the program.
“Ricciardo’s Racers provided me that opportunity to understand the car and how to drive it. It was a really worthwhile program, although it feels like a lifetime ago that I did that.”
Claiming a few poles, race wins and top 10 finishes across the three categories after completing Ricciardo’s Racers, Hall now finds himself close to ticking off a bucket list item in racing at Mount Panorama.
Teamed up with Warren Luff, Brad Schumacher and Geoff Taunton in the MARC 2 race car, Hall has been busily preparing as best as he can as he looks to make a mark on the motorsport world.
“I have been doing a relentless number of hours on the sim in the lead up to this moment and just finished up my second practice day in the Mustang,” “Hall added.
“I also have been doing heaps of physical training too with running, cycling and heat training. A lot of physical activity and working on my diets to make sure the body is prepped to go for the big stint, which will be the longest time I have ever been in a race car.
“It’s definitely the biggest moment in my career so far and I am sure it’s going to be cracking weekend. Hoping for all the best at the moment.”
The 2020 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour takes place on 31 January to 2 February at Mount Panorama in Bathurst.