Mon 15 Aug 2022

Teenager McRae eyes Junior WRC in 2023

Max McRae is setting his sights on following father Alister and uncle Colin into the FIA World Rally Championship next season.

The 18-year-old tested a Ford Fiesta Rally3 in Poland last week and is now working on finding the backing to run a Junior WRC campaign in 2023.

McRae Jr has spent much of his time competing at home in Western Australia after starting his career there in 2020.

He came to Britain and Ireland this summer to increase his experience at a series of outings, including a British Championship round and the McRae Rally Challenge, held in honour of 1995 world champion Colin.

“I was pretty keen to do Junior WRC anyway, but now I’ve driven the car I just know that’s where I’ve got to be,” McRae enthused. “The chance to drive that car on rounds of the World Rally Championship is totally the way to go and that’s what we’re working really hard towards now.

“To move from rallying in Australia to going to the world championship is a step up in budget, but it’s also an incredible opportunity to take experience of rallying at the highest level on surfaces and events like the snow in Sweden, the Tarmac in Croatia and then rough and smooth fast gravel in places like Sardinia and Estonia.

“I don’t know what the calendar will be for next year, but events like that are the dream and a special way to take experience.”

Talking about the M-Sport-built Fiesta Rally3 after his day-long asphalt test, at which he is understood to have impressed observers, McRae added: “That’s a seriously impressive car. You have this picture in your mind of what the car’s going to be like and how it will perform.

“I thought I had a pretty good idea… but it was even better than I thought it was going to be. What I really like is that it’s a car you have to get in and really drive – when you work that bit harder, the car comes alive and delivers so much.

“We’ve got 245bhp and around 400Nm of torque; you really notice the difference in how quickly you get up to fifth gear in this car over the Rally4. It just keeps on pulling.”

McRae made numerous changes to the car’s set-up throughout the 160km test.

“The M-Sport Poland team was amazing,” he said. “We took the base set-up and then made quite a few changes across the car, just to see how it would react and how it would feel to drive. It was great and really cool to spend the day working with a team like that.”

Alister McRae started 77 WRC rounds, including top-level stints with Hyundai and Mitsubishi. Brother Colin won 25 WRC rallies during a stellar career in which he drove for Subaru, Ford and Citroën. He remains the youngest winner of the drivers’ title.

Video: Rally Estonia Junior WRC highlights
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