Max McRae will make the next step in his fledgling rallying career by taking on the Junior class in the European Rally Championship this season.
McRae, the son of former World Rally Championship driver Alister and nephew of the late 1995 WRC champion Colin, has been eyeing a move into European competition having largely focussed his career around his native national championship in Australia.
The 18-year-old had set his sights on competing in the Junior World Rally Championship after testing a Rally3 JWRC-specification Fiesta last year, but the timeline and the early start to the JWRC season made a move to the Junior ERC more viable.
The Junior ERC class is open to Rally4 and Rally5 machinery and to drivers aged 27 and under. The six-round championship begins on Rally Poland in May.
“Junior ERC is the perfect step for me," said McRae, who will move from his home in Perth, Australia to Europe this year.
“Competing in Australia has been amazing for the last couple of years, but I know I have to make the move and head across to Europe and that’s what this season’s all about.
“Talking to people like Iain [Campbell, European Rally Championship manager] the potential career progression from Junior ERC is really clear and that’s what I’m looking at now.
"There are some amazing events on the European calendar – events that offer massive diversity in the nature of roads, from the super-quick stages of Poland and Latvia to the asphalt rounds in Rome and Zlin. And, of course, there’s the completely new rally in Sweden (Royal Rally of Scandinavia).”
McRae will follow in the footsteps of his father Alister, uncle Colin and grandfather Jimmy, who all competed in the ERC during their glittering rally careers. Famously, Jimmy McRae finished runner-up in the 1982 ERC driving an Opel Ascona 400 to four victories.
European Rally Championship manager Iain Campbell added: “The McRae name is one of the most iconic in rallying and we are now incredibly honoured to have a third generation of the McRae family competing in the European Rally Championship.”
FIA Junior ERC Championship 2023 calendar
1 79th Orlen Rally Poland (gravel, 19 - 21 May)
2 Tet Rally Liepāja, Latvia (gravel, 16 - 18 June)
3 Royal Rally of Scandinavia, Sweden (gravel, 6 - 8 July)
4 Rally di Roma Capitale, Italy (asphalt, 28 - 30 July)
5 Barum Czech Rally Zlín (asphalt, 18 - 20 August)
6 Rally Hungary (asphalt, 6 - 8 October)