Rising rally star Taylor Gill has announced he will return to Australia later this month to take part in the Subaru Canberra Rally of Canberra
Having spent this year abroad competing in the FIA Rally Star program, Gill and regular co-driver Daniel Brkic will fly back home shortly after the last round of the program to compete in the Bosch Motorsport Australia Rally Championship (ARC) season finale.
Getting back behind the wheel of the same Subaru WRX he campaigned during the 2022 ARC season, the New South Welshman will be entered in the White Wolf Constructions ARC Production Cup – having won the title last year.
Gill will also be returning to a rally that many would consider his breakout event from last year – the then-teenager securing fourth overall and Production Cup honours in what was just his fourth-ever national rally.
Now a far more experienced driver, Gill was thrilled the stars aligned for his return and was looking forward to competing at Canberra again.
“It was hard to commit to doing Canberra any earlier as we didn’t know the schedule for our last round in Germany, but now that we know what we’re doing, we were able to lock in a return,” Gill said.
“The biggest factor was timing of course, but the fact that the event is close to home also contributed – it’s highly likely we wouldn’t have come back if it was anywhere else.
“Doing Canberra was hard to turn down because it’s going to be cool to come back home and get behind the wheel of the Subaru at an event we did quite well at last year.
“I also truly believe that I am 100 per cent a better driver this time around. Watching Canberra in-car from last year, I honestly cringe when I watch. Mainly because of how painfully slow and under-committed I was.
“Now with this extra experience, every aspect of myself as a rally driver is better than it was 18 months ago.
“From being efficient with time and recce, to how we watch videos back and our overall pace – we are just more prepared in general. I also feel like I am fighting fit having done quite a few rallies.”
In what will be a whirlwind couple of weeks, the 20-year-old will contest the final round of Rally Star Training Season at the Lausitz Rallye in Germany on 9-11 November.
Gill will then fly to Geneva for a meeting at the FIA the following day, where next year’s Rally Star top four are likely to be announced, before arriving in Sydney on Wednesday night, where he will head straight to Canberra in readiness for testing on Thursday morning.
The two rallies will cap off a busy period for the youngster, who will have completed six rallies in the space of three months after Canberra.
“The thought of doing so many rallies so consistently puts a bit of a smile on my face. I feel extremely fortunate in my situation and grateful for the opportunity,” Gill explained.
“If someone had told me at Canberra last year that the next time I’d be there, I would be living abroad and competing in European rallies regularly, I wouldn’t have believed them – I’m definitely pinching myself about the whole situation.
“I have learned so much in the five or six European rallies I have done this year – It’s felt so cool being part of a big professional team, with other drivers, bosses and people taking care of everything – all I have to do is turn up and focus on driving.
“I love being part of the Rally Star program as it’s very different to being a privateer entry, but I do sometimes miss being able to go to events with friends and family.
“It’s going to be nice to come back to my roots and drive in the Subaru. A nice change of pace, and we’re really excited to be able to compete in Canberra.”
As for the event itself, Gill had very little expectation about where he would place.
“From our point of view, there is going to be no expectation as we are pretty open-minded going into the event,” Gill added.
“I think externally, there is going to be an expectation on us getting a good result- people will think I will be miles ahead of others because of this year, but it doesn’t faze me. I am still quite young and inexperienced in terms of the number of rallies I have done. I just want to go out there and have fun.
“And there is still quite a bit to adapt to like returning to the right-hand side, my body clock will still be on European time, I will be jet lagged and getting used to the car – it’s going to be tricky but I am looking forward to it.
“The ARC itself has also seen significant improvement since last year with new cars, new people and everyone is getting faster. The Production Cup is very competitive at the moment, especially with Molly (Taylor), Steve (Maguire) and Bodie (Reading) setting a high benchmark.”
The Subaru Canberra Rally of Canberra takes place in and around the forests of Canberra on 17-19 November.