Photo: TCR Australia

Dylan O’Keeffe secures Kelly Racing seat for Bathurst

Fresh from his debut in the World Touring Car Cup, TCR Australia front-runner Dylan O’Keeffe will make his debut in the Bathurst 1000 later this season having secured a drive with Kelly Racing.

O’Keeffe will share the #7 NED Whisky Ford Mustang with André Heimgartner in the season finale in what will be his second Supercars start, having competed at Surfers Paradise for Garry Rogers Motorsport last year.

“I’m extremely excited to be joining Kelly Racing for my first Bathurst 1000,” he said. “As a racing driver, you grow up dreaming of being able to race in the Bathurst 1000, so I’m extremely grateful to have been given that opportunity and looking forward to joining the team, getting used to the car and going through the whole process.

“I’m looking forward to driving the Ford Mustang, it’s been a little while since I’ve driven a Supercar however I’m confident I’ll adapt to it quickly and be able to be competitive with the other co-drivers. We’ll have a few practice sessions before the big race which will give me plenty of time to acclimatise, get to know everyone and learn the car.

“One of the big challenges will probably just be getting used to the pit stops and driver changes as that’s not something that I’ve done a lot of. We’re probably quite lucky that André and myself are similar in size so it shouldn’t be too complicated.

“Overall, I can’t wait to meet the dedicated team who have been working tirelessly over the last couple of months. They’ve had some great results recently so I’m looking forward to working with them and hopefully having a good result at Bathurst.”

Heimgartner, who raced alongside O’Keeffe on the TCR Australia grid last season, said he was pleased to welcome O’Keeffe into the team.

“It’s awesome to have Dylan join us for the Bathurst 1000,” he said. “I actually raced alongside him quite a bit in TCR last year and he was really competitive and actually got a few wins and podiums. He’s also had some solid experience behind the wheel of a Supercar so we should be a good combination.

“It’s great to give a young rising star the co-driver role, it wasn’t that long ago that I was in a similar position myself, I got a co-drive and now here we are a few years later and I’m in my third full-time season in Supercars. It’s rewarding for myself and the whole team to be able to give a young driver the opportunity to show what they can do.

“We saw Dylan at the the Gold Coast 600 last year where he was able stay out of trouble and hold his own against some of the more experienced guys in a fairly chaotic race so no doubt he has the skill and experience to put us in a good position for Bathurst.”