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Hunter young gun Gilroy revved up for Townsville 500

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After securing his maiden podium finish at the Newcastle 500, Hunter V8 Supercar driver Ryan Gilroy wants to taste more success.

And, that starts this weekend, at the Townsville 500 from 7 to 9 July.

Contesting the Dunlop Series, made up of Super2 and Super3, the 22-year-old claimed an impressive third on his “home track” in March.

Cameron McLeod, Jobe Stewart and Ryan Gilroy on the podium at the Newcastle 500.

It’s a far cry from when Gilroy first jumped behind the wheel of a production car – at the age of 16 – and won in his debut season.

“The leap’s enormous,” he said.

“Going from a little Pulsar all those years ago, and then through the 86 program with Cedar’s Racing Team, to driving a V8 Supercar, it’s been a massive, massive learning curve.

“But, at the same time, it’s a really cool experience.

“It’s everything and anything I ever dreamed of.

“I’m thriving in the current environment, too.

“However, I’ve still got my goals, my mindset remains, and I still want to push on and win.

“So, I’m happy that I’m driving a Supercar, but I’m not that happy when I’m not winning.

“Being on the podium at Newcastle was a nice start.”

Gilroy, who’s raising money to support the survivors and victims’ families of the Greta bus tragedy in June, is piloting the Bowers Heavy Haulage ex-Triple Eight Holden VF Commodore in his Super3 debut.

The Dunlop Series, a critical stepping-stone in driver development, provides a pathway to the Repco Supercars Championship.

It’s also an opportunity for a youngster, like the Singleton-raised athlete, to hone his skills and showcase his talent in front of the participating racing teams.

“That’s the main aim, at this stage, Supercars,” he told the Newcastle Weekly.

“You grow up watching them, hearing the noises and understanding what they look like, what they sound like and what they’re like when they drive past you.

“But, actually, being behind the wheel and having those familiar sounds right there at your fingertips is quite a surreal feeling.

“The vehicles themselves, they’re a bit of a beast to drive.

“However, once you get on top of them, they are uber-cool race cars.

“They’re like nothing else in the world that you can drive.”

Ryan Gilroy pilots the Bowers Heavy Haulage ex-Triple Eight Holden VF Commodore in Western Australia.

Gilroy admitted he was keen to adapt to the warmer climes of North Queensland, with practice scheduled for Friday.

“You betcha… firstly, I’m expecting to take the trackies off and putting the shorts on, which is a thing I’m most looking forward to,” he added with a laugh.

“It’ll be my third year back to Townsville.

“I love the track, love the atmosphere of the place, and love going up north.

“However, it’s my first time in a Supercar around the streets of Townsville.

“So, it is going to be a little bit different to years gone by.

“But, the track familiarity is there.

“During practice, we should be able to get stuck into it essentially and just get familiar with the Supercar and how to tackle it around Townsville.

“We’ll push on from there.

“Ultimately, the goal is always to win and put on your best performance.

“Obviously, in practice, it’s just to do as many miles as possible and prepare yourself for the two big days on Saturday and Sunday.

“Qualifying really means something.

“So, we’ll use Friday to play around with as much as we can and get a really good idea of where we’re at.

“That’ll set us up for the rest of the weekend.

“However, I’m heading there [Townsville] with confidence.”

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