Bathurst Battle For TCR Star

Bathurst Battle For TCR Star

The race is on for Dylan O’Keefe as he goes flat-out to make the starting grid for the Bathurst 1000.

Hot from a successful international TCR debut in Austria, he is now doing everything he can to jump into a Supercar at Mount Panorama.

O’Keefe says he has a potential slot in the Supercars grand final but is finding it tough to get a flight home from Europe.

“I’ve got about six travel agents helping me. It’s looking difficult but I want to get back and race at Bathurst,” O’Keefe tells Race News from Switzerland.

“I always knew it would be hard to make the trip but, in hindsight, I should have booked my return trip and made the arrangements at the same time.”

O’Keefe has his fingers crossed and his mobile ready, but also has time to reflect on a debut in the World TCR season opener with the Vukovic team in a Renault Megane RS.

“From my point of view, I think I got the most out of the car and the team. We weren’t too far away,” he says.

“We did a pretty good job with the tools we had for the weekend. We had to show we could be in the mix. The cars were reliable and they were pretty speedy with the experience we had.”

Vukovic Motorsport is developing the Megane with help from Garry Rogers Motorsport, which designed and developed new suspension components, and that’s how O’Keefe was plugged into the mix.

O’Keefe managed 12th and 13th places after qualifying 13th in a field packed with factory-assisted teams and top-line drivers including Nestor Girolami and JK Vernay, who both won races in the inaugural carsales TCR Australia Series last year.

“It was terrific. Everything I could have hoped for. In the first race we finished where we started, and in the second race we moved up one place,” he says.

“ I think we could be in the back of the Top 10 with a few things we learned.”

He also learned about the rough-house tactics of the world’s top TCR drivers.

“Some of the stuff is not as policed as Australia. They block and they feed you off the track. Anything goes. You can defend for you life and get away with it.”

O’Keefe is now aiming for a full-time ride in the WTCR series, perhaps in 2021, although there might be a chance for the second round of this year’s series if he remains stranded in Europe.

“If I can’t get home then 100 per cent I want to try and do another race. The next race is at the Nurburgring. The full course. It would be cool, really cool, to race there.

“But I really want to make it a permanent drive in WTCR. Maybe not this year, but next year. I’d like to try and get a full-time drive, hopefully with Renault if we can get them on our side.”