Fri 31 Mar 2023

McRae joins The Racing Factory for Junior ERC campaign

Max McRae has joined top Portuguese squad The Racing Factory as he bids for FIA Junior ERC Championship honours in 2023.

The 18-year-old, who announced plans to compete in the ERC’s young driver category last month, will pilot an Opel Corsa Rally4 run by the Porto-based team – a move that rekindles McRae family ties with the manufacturer.

Max McRae’s grandfather Jimmy took nine FIA European Rally Championship wins in Opel machinery. And the significance of the association with the brand is not lost on the younger McRae.

“Gramps is pretty synonymous with the Opel Ascona 400 – he had a lot of success and almost won the [1982] European title outright with Opel, so it’s really nice to be back with a brand that was so big for him,” he said.

“I’ve heard plenty about the Opel [Corsa]. The car looks sick and it’s got some real speed. Rally4 is super-close, we know that, but we believe the Corsa is the way forward and The Racing Factory is the team to deliver the car to help us deliver the results. It’s going to be a fantastic year.”

McRae will return to Scotland, the country of his birth, from Australia for his Junior ERC campaign, relocating to the McRae family’s hometown of Lanark.

“I love Australia and I love rallying in Australia, but Europe is the place to be based if you’re looking to build a career in this sport – and I’m determined to make a career in this sport,” McRae said.

“Coming back to Lanark is so cool. The family are all there and the rally family are there too. But the thing I really can’t wait for is to meet everybody from The Racing Factory and, of course, to drive the Opel Corsa Rally4 for the first time.”

Aloísio Monteiro, the founder and CEO of The Racing Factory, the outfit behind Mikko Heikkilä's ERC1 effort (pictured above), said: “It’s with added pride and responsibility that we have Max with us this year. We are aware the McRae name carries with it a lot of euphoria on the part of the media, but we cannot lose the focus which is to continue to be competitive and reliable in order to achieve the results we have in mind in 2023. I would like to thank the McRae family for the confidence in our structure and hope that this partnership lasts for many years.”

Max McRae will begin his Junior ERC challenge on ORLEN 79 Rally Poland from 19 - 21 May.

“That’s going to be something of a baptism of fire,” said McRae. “I land over from Australia and straight into one of Europe’s fastest gravel rallies. And just when you think the roads around Mikołajki are quick, you take a look at the second round of Junior ERC in Latvia and understand what fast roads are really all about. It’s going to be insane and I just want to get started.”

Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM