Young gun Dylan O’Keeffe is gearing up for his first Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour campaign in a GT3 car.
The Melbourne-based racer will drive for Audi Sport Customer Racing Australia in the endurance classic at Mount Panorama this weekend (February 2-4), partnering Ash Samadi and Daniel Gaunt.
O’Keeffe is hoping to lead on from a successful Bathurst 12 Hour last year, where he took out the win in Class B sharing a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup with co-drivers Dean Grant and David Wall.
“It’s awesome to be heading back to the Mountain again this weekend,” said O’Keeffe.
“After last year’s Class B win in a Cup Car, my goal for this year was to do the race in a Class A, GT3 car and do a good job as well.
“Obviously, Audi Sport Customer Racing are one of the best teams around and I have a good relationship with them so I’m excited to be joining them for the 12 Hour.
“It won’t be outright speed we’re looking for, but more just consistency and trying to put everything together to be there at the end.”
The 19-year old, who placed sixth in last year’s Porsche Carrera Cup Australia championship, is thrilled to be able to join Audi’s operation for the Bathurst event, where he’ll share a garage with some of the German brand’s best factory drivers.
“It’s a good benchmark for me to be driving a similar car in the exact same race as guys like factory Audi drivers Chris Mies and Kelvin van der Linde,” explained O’Keeffe.
“Over the weekend I can really try pace myself against them and hopefully learn a thing or too as well.
“They’re obviously racing these cars week in, week out so they’re extremely comfortable in the cars, but if we can be anywhere close to them that’s a good benchmark for yourself to know you’re doing a good job too.”
This weekend will not be O’Keeffe’s first outing aboard an Audi R8 LMS GT3, after he competed a round of the Australian Endurance Championship in August last year with the Audi squad at Sydney Motorsport Park.
That weekend he also shared the car with New Zealander, Gaunt.
“I haven’t had a run in the Audi since Sydney, so it’s been a while, but I’ve been doing plenty of sim work and after one session it’ll come back to me really quickly and at least working with Dan [Gaunt] and the same guys we’ll get sorted quickly,” added O’Keeffe.
“The ultimate goal for the weekend will be to finish the race and do the most number of laps I can, if I can qualify the car as well, that’d be a real highlight, but mostly to do the best job I can for Dan, Ash and for the team.
“We’ll try and do a good job and hopefully get more opportunities like this throughout the year and next year as well.”
The Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour event begins with the opening practice session on Friday, before the twice around the clock race starts on Sunday at 0545am local time.