Auckland youngster wins McLaren motorsport scholarship

20-year-old Brock Gilchrist is set to take on the 2023-’24 New Zealand GT Championship.

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20-year-old Brock Gilchrist is set to take on the 2023-’24 New Zealand GT Championship.

After filtering through 38 applicants from around the country, organisers of the inaugural Giltrap Motorsport Junior Scholarship have named 20-year-old Brock Gilchrist as its winner.

As a scholarship winner, Gilchrist earns a fully funded racing campaign in New Zealand’s rapidly growing Sommerset GT New Zealand Championship behind the wheel of a McLaren 570S GT4, with backing from SP Tools and Smeg.

The announcement is the latest in a string of opportunities Gilchrist – a Matakana local – has been handed in recent months after winning the 2023 Toyota Gazoo Racing 86 Championship.

38 applicants from around the country were considered for the scholarship.

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38 applicants from around the country were considered for the scholarship.

As part of that win, Gilchrist was able to travel to Australia to conduct a Supercars test with leading outfit Triple Eight Race Engineering in one of the team’s Chevrolet Camaros. More recently, the 20-year-old travelled to the Nurburgring to compete in a round of the German ADAC GT4 Championship in a Toyota GR Supra.

The New Zealand GT Championship comprises a grid of GT exotics, with most being GT4 race cars or Porsche 911 Carrera Cup cars. The outgoing season featured McLarens, Mercedes-AMGs, Ginettas, Ferraris, Aston Martins, Lamborghinis, and more.

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Emma Gilmour finished second at the Extreme E finale in Uruguay.

Giltrap Motorsport team boss and former racer Owen Evans was pleased with the calibre of local racers that applied for the scholarship, underlining Gilchrist’s experience in fiercely competitive single-make racing as one of his key attributes.

“Brock is the Toyota 86 Champion, and he won it in style, taking on seasoned competitors with international experience in a one-make series. At 20, we feel he is ready to step up to car racing, because he’s not only proven that he’s very quick, but he’s also got a reputation for looking after the race car; an important factor in endurance racing,” said Evans.

Gilchrist’s main competition for the scholarship was 18-year-old Dylan Grant. A Formula Vee Winter Series champ and Speed Sport Scholarship winner (putting him in the same company as the likes of Shane van Gisbergen and Liam Lawson), Evans named Grant as the team’s GT New Zealand reserve driver.

Gilchrist [right] pictured with scholarship runner-up Dylan Grant [left]. Grant has been named as the McLaren programme’s reserve driver.

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Gilchrist [right] pictured with scholarship runner-up Dylan Grant [left]. Grant has been named as the McLaren programme’s reserve driver.

Whilst Giltrap Group has a long history of motorsport involvement, the firm has ramped up its presence in recent years, with its support of the likes of Earl Bamber Motorsport and Team Porsche New Zealand in Australian Porsche Carrera Cup Competition.

The scholarship announcement dovetailed with the grand opening of Garage 66; a fresh hub for Giltrap Group’s motorsport exploits that also caters to enthusiast customers. Amongst the cars on display at the event was New Zealand’s ‘Black Beauty’ A1GP racer and one of Owen Evans’ popular ‘Lighting Direct’ Porsche 911s.

The five-round GT New Zealand Championship kicks off with round one at Taupō Motorsport Park on November 17–19. The series then travels to Manfeild Circuit Chris Amon in Feilding, Ruapuna in Christchurch, and Highlands Motorsport Park in Cromwell before closing out the season on March 15–17 at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park in Waikato.

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