Kyle McBride is readying himself to take on the Junior European Rally Championship in 2024. The Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy member has acquired a Peugeot 208 Rally4 ahead of the six-round campaign.
The 20-year-old is keen to build on his rapid development after finishing a close second in last year’s Junior British Rally Championship in only his second year in Rally4 machinery.
“This next step is a big one,” admitted McBride, “but I know it is an important one.
This photo of Kyle at Cambrian Rally is courtesy of British Rally Championship
“If we can get a budget together to do Junior ERC it will be an amazing opportunity to gain experience of top European events at 20 years of age."
"The path from J1000s to Junior BRC and now hopefully to Junior ERC has been inspired by the MI Rally Academy and their continued help has been brilliant."
“Opportunities at this level are difficult to secure but hopefully we can get some more good sponsors on board to help us get there.”
McBride jumped onto the rallying scene with a debut Junior 1000 Forest Rally Championship win in 2019. His first foray into BRC came three years later when he became the Junior BRC Academy champion aboard his Ford Fiesta R2T.
The young Donegal driver, who works as a motorsport mechanic, stepped up to a Ford Fiesta Rally4 in 2023. McBride eventually finished runner-up in Junior BRC, taking the title fight with the experienced Kyle White to the final round.
McBride will now switch to a Peugeot 208 Rally4 for the 2024 season.
“My first impression of the 208 is quite good,” said McBride. “I hired one for a gravel sprint in December and it went well."
“I am just excited to get behind the wheel of my own one now. This year will be a great chance for me to develop my driving and take my performances to the next level."
“Learning a new car is a big part of that and with Junior ERC providing a nice stepping stone to Junior WRC, this is another great chance to push myself.”
The hotly contested Junior ERC features top-quality events like Sweden’s Royal Rally of Scandinavia, WRC-level Rally Estonia, and Wales’ Rally Ceredigion.
The mix of gravel and asphalt events will test the up-and-coming crews as they fight for Junior ERC’s amazing prize, a fully funded Junior WRC campaign.
Text by Adam Hall