Mon 22 Jan 2024

It’s ‘big step’ time as McBride choses Junior ERC

Kyle McBride has become the latest rising talent to choose the Hankook-equipped FIA Junior ERC Championship for the next stage of his career progression.

With support from the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy, the 20-year-old has acquired a Peugeot 208 Rally4 and is now working on finalising the necessary budget to contest the six-event 2024 Junior ERC season.   

McBride, who works as a car mechanic, is preparing to make the step up on the back of finishing a close runner-up to Kyle White in the Junior section of the British Rally championship in 2023, only his second year in Rally4 machinery.  

“This next step is a big one, but I know it is an important one,” McBride said. “If we can get a budget together to do Junior ERC it will be an amazing opportunity to gain experience of top European events at 20 years of age.

“The path from Junior 1000 to Junior BRC and now hopefully to Junior ERC has been inspired by the MI Rally Academy and their continued help has been brilliant.   “Opportunities at this level are difficult to secure but hopefully we can get some more good sponsors on board to help us get there.”  

Hailing from Donegal in the Republic of Ireland, McBride began competing in 2019 when he took part in the Junior 1000 Forest Rally Championship. He stepped up to the British championship three years later and landed the Junior BRC Academy title aboard a Ford Fiesta R2T, before taking the Junior BRC title chase to the 2023 season finale in a Fiesta R4.

McBride’s choice of Peugeot 208 Rally4 for his Junior ERC move will allow him to benchmark his performances against drivers such as Alfred Kramer, Mattia Zanin and compatriot Aoife Raftery. They all used 208 Rally4s during their maiden Junior ERC campaigns in 2023.  

“My first impression of the 208 is quite good,” said McBride. “I hired one for a gravel sprint in December and it went well. I am just excited to get behind the wheel of my own one now.  

“This year will be a great chance for me to develop my driving and take my performances to the next level. Learning a new car is a big part of that and with Junior ERC providing a nice stepping stone to Junior WRC, this is another great chance to push myself.”  

The 2024 Junior ERC season will be contested on three asphalt events and three mixed-surface rounds with V Rally Hungary up first from 12 - 14 April.

Celebration photo: Probite British Rally Championship

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