A close contest with Virgin Australia Supercars Champion Shane Van Gisbergen was the standout moment for Dylan O’Keeffe in Round 2 of the Australian GT Championship at Tailem Bend on the weekend.
O’Keeffe and co-driver Ash Samadi finished yesterday’s 78 lap race, which doubled as the opening round of the 2018 Australian Endurance Championship, ninth outright after starting 14th on the grid.
O’Keeffe said the circumstances surrounding the weekend made it one of the most challenging race meetings of his career.
“We always knew this weekend was going to be a big learning curve, and the weather conditions made it even more tricky than we expected,” O’Keeffe said.
“On Friday and Saturday, there were some dust storms and heavy showers of rain, and the series organisers decided to revert to the shorter International Circuit.
“It was the right call, but we only had one practice session to learn the other track.
“Most of my focus was on helping Ash get comfortable in the car and improve his lap times.”
Samadi started the race, taking the team’s first compulsory pit stop on lap 23 before pitting again to hand over to O’Keeffe on lap 36 – he resumed in 12th position and was able to improve to ninth at the chequered flag.
“When I came out of the pits, I was right behind Shane Van Gisbergen in the McLaren, and I followed him closely for the rest of the race.
“With the GT cars, it can be hard to follow closely because of the aerodynamic turbulence created by the car in front, so I couldn’t quite set up an overtaking move. As it turned out, SVG got penalised five seconds after the race, which meant we finished ahead of him anyway.”
O’Keeffe said the weekend was a valuable one for his driver development.
“When you’re working with another driver and giving them feedback, it makes you reflect on your own performance as well,” O’Keeffe said.
“Also, because the race was changed to the International Circuit, I was able to learn that track ahead of our Carrera Cup round there in August.”
Dylan O’Keeffe will be back behind the wheel of his APB Group Porsche 911 for the next Porsche Wilson Security Carrera Cup Australia round at Phillip Island this weekend.
Round Results Summary
Australian Endurance Championship Points
- Max Twigg/Tony D’Alberto – 315
- Liam Talbot/John Martin – 282
- Steven Richards/Michael Almond – 235
- Tony Bates/Daniel Gaunt – 198
- Fraser Ross/Duvashen Padayachee – 196
- Peter Hackett/Jake Fouracre – 193
- Tony Walls/Warren Luff – 165
- Adrian Dietz/Cameron McConville – 150
- Dylan O’Keeffe/Ash Samadi – 143
- Scott Taylor/Craig Baird – 135