An ecstatic Garth Walden has opened up on his GWR Australia team’s double victory in Round 5 of the Porsche Paynter Dixon Carrera Cup Australia at Sandown on the weekend, a result he says has been a decade in the making.
Dylan O’Keeffe won the Pro Class round with victories in two of the three races, while a trio of top three finishes for Dean Cook enabled him to clinch Pro-Am honours.
The GWR Australia team has been a mainstay of Carrera Cup since 2014, initially running a single car for Ash Samadi. The team continued as a single-car operation until 2019, when it grew to two cars, before expanding to become a three-car outfit in 2022.
Walden said the Sandown result is one of his finest moments as a team owner.
“We’ve won championships in other categories like Radical Cup and achieved class wins in GT and the Bathurst 6 Hour, but I’ve always rated Carrera Cup as one of the most prestigious categories in Australian motorsport,” Walden said.
“The driving talent in Carrera Cup is genuinely world class, and the teams are some of the most professional and well-resourced in the country, so to succeed against such elite opposition at Sandown was one of the most special moments I’ve experienced as a team owner and the culmination of what I’ve been working towards when I started GWR a decade ago.
“We have a dedicated crew at GWR and they had to work tirelessly to repair Dylan’s car after he was involved in a crash at Tailem Bend, but now they get to enjoy the fruits of their labour.”
Walden paid tribute to the efforts of O’Keeffe and Cook in delivering the team’s stunning result.
“Dylan is by far the best driver I’ve ever had in one of my Carrera Cup cars, he is just an exceptional talent behind the wheel,” Walden said.
“Since he joined GWR at the beginning of last year, he has lifted our team to a new level and we now go into every weekend expecting to be fighting for poles, podiums and wins. He’s threatened to deliver a big result on a few occasions and at Sandown it all came together – he dominated the weekend on raw speed.
“Dean’s driving ability is not to be underestimated either. The Pro-Am class in Carrera Cup features some of the best non-professional drivers in the world, and while Dean is relaxed out of the car, he’s very competitive on the track and has excellent awareness when he’s involved in battle packs.
“In the final Sandown race, he positioned his car perfectly to avoid an accident that claimed a couple of his rivals, and that was key in enabling him to secure the Pro-Am round win.”
With the round win boxes ticked, Walden said the next goal for GWR in Carrera Cup is a championship, something he hasn’t ruled out for 2023.
“Dylan has had a tough first half of the season with various incidents in all of the first four rounds, but he made up a lot of ground this weekend while the championship leaders had dramas of their own, which shows you’re never out of it,” Walden said.
“Meanwhile, Dean is only a handful of points off the Pro-Am lead, so that championship is well within reach.
“To win the Carrera Cup championship would well and truly be GWR’s greatest achievement as a race team, and our Sandown result shows it’s a goal well within our grasp.”