Gilchrist in dreamworld after successful Triple Eight Supercar test
2023 Toyota 86 Champion Brock Gilchrist showed why he’s one of New Zealand’s hottest prospects for the Australian Supercars after a successful test with Triple Eight Race Engineering at Queensland Raceway last week attracting high praise from Shane van Gisbergen in the process too.
The test included a training session at the fabled Norwell Motorplex in the morning with fellow Kiwi and reigning Supercars Champion Shane van Gisbergen, a factory seat fitting and then a test session in a Gen 3 Camaro under the guidance again of Shane and Supercars legend Craig Lowndes.
Following a warm welcome from Ampol Red Bull Racing team boss and Supercars icon Jamie Whincup, Gilchrist quickly settled into his new environment. He impressed everyone around him with his calm and methodical approach to the test and how quickly he got down to representative lap times. For the youngster, it was a dream come true.
“I keep saying it but it really was an unreal day and I still can’t tell if I was dreaming,” he said afterwards.
“It was everything I had expected and so much more. The atmosphere was great and the whole team could not do enough to make me comfortable and feel at home.
“All in all, what an experience. It was the coolest of days to work alongside Triple Eight Race Engineering. All I can say is a massive thanks to the Tony Quinn Foundation and everyone who selected me for the test and made it all possible.
“Knowing I’ve driven in the wildcard car and watching it go around Bathurst will feel pretty cool.
“Shane’s input to my driving was invaluable. He’s at the top of his game right now and for him to make the time to help me was very generous.”
Kiwi legend van Gisbergen, fresh from his global headline grabbing win on debut in NASCAR, was full of praise for the Matakana driver, commenting: “It was pretty awesome for Brock to get the opportunity to come and test through Tony’s Foundation and Brock did very well. He asked all the right questions and did all the right preparation to do a good job.
“We went to Norwell the day before and did a little bit of driver coaching stuff but he was very fast and onto it anyway. He only got limited laps in the Supercar but with what he did he didn’t put a foot wrong and built up every lap. The guys were stoked to have him there and he did an awesome job, and hopefully it leads to more opportunities in the future. He has an exciting future ahead of him.”
Aside from the test drive, the Tony Quinn Foundation Trustees Choice winner also spent time with the Supercars team to learn about the behind-the-scenes racing environment, and also time with Tony Quinn himself.
A dramatic finale at Hampton Downs saw Brock take the flag in a wounded Toyota 86 down in 17th place, but it was enough to come home the champion. He joins a list of supremely skilled young Kiwi motorsport talent to have benefitted with support from the TQ Foundation over a wide variety of categories in single-seater and saloon car racing. The list includes Liam Lawson, Hunter McElrea, Rowan Shepherd, Matthew McCutcheon, Liam Sceats, Hayden Bakkerus, Zac Christensen, Ryan Wood, Tom Bewley, William Exton and Breanna Morris.
As 2023 Toyota 86 Championship winner, Brock will be also heading to Europe next month for an all-expenses paid trip to race a GR Supra GT4 Evo in the third round of the ADAC GT4 Germany championship at the iconic Nürburgring.