Porsche Carrera Cup ace Dylan O’Keeffe is hoping his successful weekend in the Australian Endurance Championship will open up more doors for him in the world of GT racing.
The Victorian driver took the wheel of Kentucky Fried Chicken Audi R8 LMS GT3, in round two of the Australian Endurance Championship at Sydney Motorsport Park two-weeks ago, driving alongside Daniel Gaunt.
The pairing finished the 500km race in fourth place, after a disciplined strategy, and solid stints from both drivers meant they surfaced near the top as the chequered flag dropped.
O’Keeffe is hoping his strong performance on the weekend, will further lead him into the world of GT Racing, as he continues his stance in Porsche Carrera Cup Australia.
“I hope I’ll be back in an Audi again soon,” said O’Keeffe. “I’m not one hundred percent sure, but we will just play it as it goes.
“I don’t think we are going to New Zealand for the Hampton Downs and Highlands rounds of the GT’s, so it won’t be there, but hopefully next year.
“I will most likely be in the Bathurst 12 Hour though, so really looking forward to getting back behind the wheel of the KFC Audi there.”
Last weekend was the first time O’Keeffe has driven an Audi, having raced a Porsche for the last few years in Australia’s prestigious Carrera Cup series.
“The Audi is a very special car,” said O’Keeffe. “Surprisingly, it does share a lot of the same characteristics as the Porsche that I race in Carrera Cup.
“It didn’t take too long for me to adjust to it which is cool. To put it simply, the R8 is a Carrera Cup car on steroids.
“The amount of grip the car has under braking is awesome, and we literally brake half the distance later than we do in a Carrera Cup car. It’s truly hard to grasp sometimes.”
After a difficult qualifying, O’Keeffe and Gaunt fought back in the 500km endurance race on Saturday morning to finish just off the podium in fourth place, despite a flu for the latter.
“Our Qualifying was unfortunately hampered a bit by Dan’s performance, he was feeling a bit sick which made my lap even more important.
“With that in the back of my mind, I over-drove the car a little but still got us to sixth on the grid.
“In my first stint in the race, it took a while for me to get used to passing cars because of the phenomenal aero, and also the fact the Audi is so expensive.
“So we just brought the car home, nice and clean and ended up in a solid fourth place.”
Drivers had to deal with challenging conditions on Friday and Saturday with extremely high winds and cold temperatures just some of the factors that had to be taken into account.
“The track had a fair amount of grip, but on the marbles it was like a skating rink,” exclaimed O’Keeffe.
“The wind was also a factor in a couple of corners, especially as we swooped through turn one, but the downforce on the Audi helped a lot.
“Although my neck was still pretty sore after the race from all the G-Forces.”
The next round of Porsche Carrera Cup Australia takes place at Sandown Raceway, from the 15th to the 17th of September, while the Australian Endurance Championship heads to New Zealand, and the Hampton Downs Motorsport Park in late October.
Words: Slade Perrins.
Images: Australian GT