50499740412_8f034d8043_web

Dylan o’keeffe

O’Keeffe Awed by Bathurst 1000 Start Opportunity

Dylan O’Keeffe says lining up on the grid for the start of the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 is a moment he will never forget, after finishing 11th in his Great Race debut alongside Andre Heimgartner in the NED Whisky Ford Mustang today.

The Kelly Racing team entrusted O’Keeffe with starting duties in today’s 1,000km endurance epic and he rose to the occasion, completing a trouble-free opening stint.

“The experience of lining up on the grid and actually starting such a massive race was a very special moment for me; I can’t thank the Kelly Racing team enough for trusting me to drive the first stint,” O’Keeffe said.

“My initial launch was pretty good, but another car squeezed me to the outside in the first corner, so I lost some places going up Mountain Straight.

“After that, I settled into a rhythm and was punching out some good times.”

O’Keeffe handed over to Heimgartner on lap 13, the New Zealander completing a double-stint that elevated the NED Whisky machine into the top 10 before O’Keeffe slotted back behind the wheel for another stint on lap 51 while the race was under Safety Car conditions.

A shower of rain just before the race restarted prompted O’Keeffe to visit the pits to change to wet tyres, however the rain stopped shortly afterwards and O’Keeffe was back for another pit stop to return to slicks.

“It was very wet over the top, so in the interests of safety we decided to change to wets and for a while, it looked like it was the right call – we were faster than the cars that stayed on slicks,” he said.

“If it had kept raining, it would have been a brilliant strategic call but unfortunately it dried out.”

Despite losing some time with the extra pit stop, O’Keeffe was able to remain on the lead lap until he handed the car back to Heimgartner on lap 76.

O’Keeffe climbed aboard for his final stint on lap 97. Racing predominantly against the full-time Supercars Championship competitors, O’Keeffe worked his way up to 12th.

“The last stint was a challenge but I was able to gain a couple of spots, maintain a competitive pace and hand a clean car back to Andre for the run home,” he said.

Heimgartner relieved O’Keeffe of driving duties on lap 117 and completed the team’s solid effort by bringing the car across the line in 11th.

O’Keeffe paid credit to Heimgartner for the team’s final result.

“Andre was on fire all weekend, his pace was sensational,” O’Keeffe said.

“The change to wet tyres in the middle of the race didn’t quite work for us, but we recovered pretty well.

“It would have been nice to finish in the top 10 but we’re satisfied to have brought the car to the finish without a mark on it. “I loved my first Bathurst 1000 experience and hope to be back for many more of these races in the future,” O’Keeffe concluded.

Share this post

Phillip Island 3_web

O’Keeffe Predicting West Circuit TCR Thrills

Dylan O’Keeffe is expecting the West Circuit at Shell V-Power Motorsport Park to produce plenty of entertainment for the Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series when ...
Read More →
Taupo 1_web

O’Keeffe Braves Challenging NZ Weather for Consistent Results

Dylan O’Keeffe and his RAM Motorsport/GWR Australia squad have survived a mixture of weather conditions at New Zealand’s Taupo circuit to come away with fourth ...
Read More →
Pre-Taupo 1_web

O’Keeffe Aiming to Repeat Past Overseas Porsche Results

Dylan O’Keeffe is aiming to continue his strong international racing form when he heads to New Zealand for this weekend’s second Porsche Paynter Dixon Carrera ...
Read More →