Kyle's revved up for Open debut

Published 4:00pm 8 February 2024

Kyle's revved up for Open debut
Words by Nick Crockford

The countdown is almost over for Kyle Evans, the 19-year-old Redcliffe racer who start his first Australian Formula Open season this weekend (February 9-11).

Months of preparation will culminate on Friday when Evans climbs into his Gilmour Racing/KCK Racing 2011 Dallara Formula Three (F3) car at Sandown Raceway.

He has the racing number 17 and the meeting is being broadcast live on 7plus.

Friday’s practice at the Melbourne track – considered a ‘power circuit’ with two straights almost 1km long – will be followed by races Saturday and Sunday.

Evans knows about speed, having hit 240km/h at Phillip Island last year, but is still working out how far he can push the F3 car which has “so much down force”.

“I will probably be one of the most inexperienced drivers in the first race,” he said, before heading down to Victoria.

Kyle Evans' practice and race times in this weekend's opening round of the Australian Formula Open.

“I’m still getting my head around this formula … it’s a work in progress at the moment.

“But that doesn’t worry me. I’ve got too much else to worry about, like focusing on what I have to do and aiming for those targets.

“Obviously I’d like to win it (the championship), but I think making the top three will be a reasonable target.”

Evans was in Formula Ford last year when offered a “run” in an F3 car during a practice day and “wasn’t expecting to be as quick as I was”.

His first Open drive followed at the Phillip Island Grand Prix, in November, when he finished fifth, sixth and sixth in the three races.

Kyle Evans beside the Gilmour Racing/KCK Racing car he will drive this season.

Matthew and Donna Gilmour, of Gilmour Racing, were “amazed” and signed Evans for the 2024 Formula Open series, which has three point-scoring races in each round.

After Sandown, he goes to Winton Raceway, Victoria, April 26-28; Sydney Motorsport Park, May 24-26; The Bend, South Australia, June 7-9; Queensland Raceway, Willowbank, July 19-21, Sydney Motorsport Park, October 18-20 and Phillip Island, Victoria, November 28-30.

To prepare, Evans has been working hard in the gym every day as well as running, cycling and adopting a new diet.

“At Phillip Island (last year) I found out I needed more strength,” the former St Patrick’s College student said.

“It’s mainly upper body, core strength, shoulders and arms. Basically, you are strapped in the car, but your limbs are loose.

From left: Lee-Anne Maker-Evans and Kyle Evans with Gilmour Racing's Matthew and Donna Gilmour.

“I work and then every afternoon go to the gym. I’ll also do a run or bike ride for the cardio and eat leafy greens, proteins, lots of carbs.”

At home he does “endless laps” on a race simulator, getting to know the tracks and visualise the challenges each present.

Evans is also working in his race starts. “The clutch is like a light switch initially. It’s on or it’s off,” he said.

“I have to get the revs perfect, so it doesn’t stall or break into too much wheel spin. It’s quite hard.”

Evans’ racing career started at the age of nine in karts. At 14, he switched to cars to drive the Hyundai Excel X3 Series, then Formula Ford Kent and after COVID-19 the national and southern Formula Ford Duratec competition.

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