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Q&A WITH DYLAN O’KEEFFE ANDRE HEIMGARTNER’S CO-DRIVER FOR BATHURST

MEDIA RELEASE/Kelly Racing – Photo: supplied

Tell us about your initial introduction to motorsport
 
“Dad competed in speedway when I was very young, so there was always an interest in motorsport within the family. Hanging out at racing events was just a normal part of life in our household, so it was natural for me to become interested in having a turn.
 
“I competed in go-karts at the Oakleigh circuit and my first car races were in the Victorian Porsche 944 Challenge. It wasn’t really a conventional pathway, but it was a really good development category – the cars weren’t too expensive and they weren’t particularly powerful, but they had really good handling and taught me how to maximise corner speed.
 
“Tony Bates, who was a friend of my dad and uncle, let me test his Porsche Carrera Cup car and in 2015 I stepped up to Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge.”

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At what point did you decide you wanted to become a professional racing driver?
 
“When I was competing in Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge and starting to get good results in a national category, at that point I thought maybe I could make it work as a professional career. From there, things started to take off.”
 
You’ve raced quite a few different cars – how will this help you with your Bathurst debut?
 
“I think it will help greatly, because not all my experience has been just locked into one car and I’ve had to adapt to different situations and different driving techniques. I think that experience will help me make a smooth transition into the Kelly Racing Mustang.”
 
What are the highlights from the racing you’ve done at Bathurst?
 
“The best result I’ve had was in 2017 when I scored a class win at the Bathurst 12 Hour, but the highlight for me was one of the Porsche Carrera Cup races in 2018. I started fifth on the grid and finished second but the competition at the front of the field was unbelievably intense – everyone was pushing to the absolute limit and we were breaking lap records every lap. They were the best laps I’ve ever driven around the Mountain.”
 
How are you feeling about joining Kelly Racing?
 
“I’m feeling very excited. It’s a professional team with a lot of history and a good mix of youth and experience. There’s Andre and I who are young, but in the other car are Rick and Dale who have been racing a lot longer.
 
“I’ve followed Todd and Rick Kelly for a long time – I can remember going to Sandown with dad and cheering them on.”
 
What are you most looking forward to about teaming up with André?
 
“Andre and I know each other well and we sometimes hang out away from the track. We have the same personal trainer so we’ve trained together a few times as well.
 
“We’ve had a few good battles in Carrera Cup and TCR; Andre is a very talented driver, so I’m looking forward to learning from his experience and working with him to get the most out of the NED Whisky Mustang.”

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