Kai shifts up a gear

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Kai shifts up a gear

Ayoung local driving sensation is one step closer to his goal of becoming a Supercars driver, after securing a co-driving position.

Mount Gambier Supercars superstar Kai Allen will suit up with Dick Johnson Racing (DJR) for the Shell V-Power Racing Team as a co-driver in their #17 Mustang in the Supercars enduro season alongside driving great Will Davison.

The reigning Dunlop Super2 Series champion will combine his regular duties with the enduro season at the Penrite Oil Sandown 500 in September followed by the Repco Bathurst 1000 in October.

The young gun impressed DJR last year as their inaugural wildcard into the Great Race alongside Simone Silvestro aboard #17 when he clocked the fourth fastest time in the co-driver practice session.

Allen said he is looking forward to the next step in his driving career.

“Even though I did a debut last year, this is the next level and it is the actual team that are racing the whole year and that is their main sort of core and I am with one of their main drivers,” he said.

“It is pretty cool to be a part of the main team, last year was pretty cool doing it with Simona but it will be good to be a part of the real team.

“Will is very, very experienced so to get some new tips off him to help my driving will be really cool and it will be exciting to see how we go and hopefully we have a shot at getting on the podium.

“I think it is going to be really cool to get up to the workshop and spend a lot of time there and try and learn as much as I can basically.

“I have still got the Super2 to do as well which is great, so I’m looking forward to that but then to have that on the cards as well this year and getting to race at Sandown as well instead of just Bathurst, I am really looking forward to it and hopefully we can have a good run.”

The young gun said he is excited to drive alongside Davison and make a return cameo with the Shell V-Power Racing Team.

“Ever since I can remember Will has always been racing Supercars and he is a very well-known name in the sport,” Allen said.

“He’s a super nice guy, I get along with him really well and the time I spent at the workshop up there last year, it was good to gel with those guys and they are a really good bunch of people.

“I am excited to continue on our partnership leading into the enduro season and cannot wait to head in there and try and do the best I can for Will and his championship and the team.

“I am going to learn a lot when it comes down to that and really just cannot wait to get out there and have a crack.”

Allen said he is working towards a seat in the main game next season.

“I want to go through this year and just want to keep progressing, it is good to get more races under my belt so hopefully I am ready to go for 2025 to jump in the main game,” he said.

“Whether it is with Shell V-Power, we’re not sure yet, we will just get the co-driver sessions out of the way and then just work on a 2025 seat.

“I am excited to get this year under way, try and do my best in Super2, have a seat at Bathurst and then work on a 2025 drive as soon as I can to get that locked away and set up my future.

“Obviously they (Shell V-Power Racing Team) have got a lot going on at the moment and cannot make a decision at this stage which is understandable so I have just got to do the best I can and keep working towards a seat.

“I would love to be with them in 2025 but they have got two really good drivers at the moment and I will have to try and prove myself to get a drive.

“At this stage we will keep working behind the scenes and hopefully something will come up and I can be in the main game in 2025 and progress to that next step.”

The Mount Gambier born racer described the Repco Bathurst 1000 as the Supercars equivalent of the AFL grand final.

“The more laps around Bathurst the better and we just have to wait and see how we go and I am sure we will manage it quite well like we always do,” he said.

“Bathurst is such a cool track especially once you’re in the main game racing at the 1000, the fans and the atmosphere you get and the feeling you get at the race start.

“With the experience I got the first time last year I am excited to do all that again and just really keen to get out there and have a crack and hopefully we can go nice and strong.

“It is just cool to be a part of that, especially that track it’s so iconic and the undulation you get over the top and even down the hill is like a rollercoaster for the whole race.

“You forget about everything that is going on and you’re just a part of the car and that’s probably one of the best feelings for me.

“Bathurst gives you that thrill experience and you do not care about anything but trying to make the car go as fast as you can and you forget about the pressure and everything else, you’re just up there up the top of the hill flying across the top, it is a very, very cool experience and one I will never forget.”

The Eggleston Motorsport driver said gearing up as a co-driver at Mount Panorama for the 2024 enduro season will be a full circle moment for him.

“I can remember watching the TV ever since I can remember with dad sitting on the couch watching Bathurst,” he said.

“We used to put on a Bathurst day when we were little at our place and have all our friends and stuff come around and watch the race on the big TV in the shed,” he said.

“It is cool to experience that with the family and friends from Mount Gambier but then they can watch the TV like we used to but actually see me racing.

“It is a pretty cool moment and I love just having the support from Mount Gambier and it is cool to just keep chipping away and get up to the main stage.

“I am sure a lot of my family and friends will be sitting down on the couch and watching my race like we used to but of course I will not be there with them, I will be on the track.

“I am sure they will love it and cannot wait to get it under way.”

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