Australian O'Keeffe rewarded with history-making WTCR chance
Dylan O’Keeffe will become the first Australian to compete in the WTCR − FIA World Touring Car Cup when the 2020 season gets up and running in Belgium from September 11-13.
He has secured Vuković Motorsport’s wildcard entry at Circuit Zolder where he will drive a Renault Mégane RS TCR** alongside the Swiss team’s all-season racer Jack Young. The 22-year-old tested the French machine in Austria last month and has remained in Europe to make his WTCR debut.
“For this WTCR drive to have come to fruition is quite incredible, considering the circumstances we’re all facing with COVID-19,” said O’Keeffe, who races for Garry Rogers Motorsport in TCR Australia. “I’m extremely grateful to the team at Vuković Motorsport for giving me the opportunity to race their car.
“While I’m still very much focused on my TCR Australia drive with Garry Rogers Motorsport, the season is suspended until at least October, which has created the window for me to travel overseas and be able to follow the necessary quarantine protocols when I return.
“My first race meeting outside Australia was the 2017 Carrera Cup round I did in Malaysia, which was my first podium finish in the category. I participated in the Porsche Junior Programme Shootout a couple of times but didn’t have any more chances to race overseas.”
O’Keeffe said his recent test in the Renault provided him with valuable knowledge of the Mégane. “We achieved our main objective from the test day, which was to improve the handling balance of the car,” he said. “It was quite wet in the morning but it dried out in the afternoon, which was useful because it enabled me to get a feel for the car and circuit in different types of conditions. The crew at Vuković Motorsport have been enjoyable to work with and I’m confident we’ll arrive for the WTCR round with a solid baseline set-up.”
Milkenko Vuković, the Vuković Motorsport CEO, said: “We’re thrilled to have Dylan in one of our cars for the first round of our WTCR campaign. As we expected, Dylan did a fine job in our Renault at the test day and provided us with some valuable feedback. We can’t wait to see him racing wheel-to-wheel with the other WTCR drivers.”
In accordance with the WTCR regulations, wildcard racers are not eligible for points and will carry an additional 20 kilograms.
*The use of the Renault Mégane RS TCR in the 2020 WTCR − FIA World Touring Car Cup is subject to the completion of all technical processes mandated by WSC, the organisation behind the TCR concept and trademark.