O’Keeffe expects more of himself in second Bathurst 1000

Dylan O’Keeffe. Picture: Daniel Kalisz

Dylan O’Keeffe is targeting a stronger personal performance in what will be a “different” second Repco Bathurst 1000 to his debut.

The 23-year-old made his Great Race debut last year alongside Andre Heimgartner at Kelly Racing, the duo combining to finish 11th.

Now the Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series regular is back for his second straight crack at the famed endurance race.

This year he’ll join Garry Jacobson in the #22 while Fabian Coulthard will be paired with team owner Jonathan Webb in the #19 entry.

For O’Keeffe, his second Bathurst 1000 brings a new feel.

His first hitout at the event was noteworthy in that only 4000 spectators were allowed to attend each day, creating an eerie feeling at Mount Panorama.

It’s hoped this year’s Bathurst 1000 will have fewer restrictions in what is set to be the final outing for the Holden ZB Commodore on The Mountain.

“I’m honoured to get a second chance at the Mountain,” said O’Keeffe.

“I’m not making my debut this time, so it brings a different type of pressure. I’m expecting a little more from myself this time around.

“I’ve followed Garry’s career and he’s a great driver. I’m really looking forward to working with him.

“I’m also looking forward to being in the team and around Jonathon and Fabian who have so much experience in these Supercars and at the track.”

This year O’Keeffe will have the benefit of a pre-event test.

Last year the Victorian spent the lead up to the Bathurst 1000 in managed hotel isolation having returned from Europe after competing in the World Touring Car Cup.

A test, O’Keeffe said, will do him a world of good.

“Last year, I hadn’t been doing a lot of racing because of the pandemic,” said O’Keeffe.

“And even though I went over to Europe to compete in the World TCR round, I had to quarantine once I returned to Australia.

“So there were no opportunities for me to test the car before Bathurst.

“This year, I’ve had a lot more seat time and I’ll also have the opportunity to drive the PremiAir Hire Commodore with some drive and practice days scheduled between now and November for me to become familiar with the team and the car.”

This year’s Bathurst 1000 takes place on November 4-7.

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