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MPC bring in local rally star for TCR opener

Melbourne Performance Centre (MPC) has secured the services of prominent Tasmanian rally driver Eddie Maguire for the opening round of Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series.

Locked in to steer the team’s Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR for the round at Symmons Plains this weekend, Maguire will be making his circuit debut after many years competing in tarmac and gravel rallies.

The deal marks a new challenge for Maguire, who enjoyed plenty of success behind the wheel of a Dodge Viper last year, including outright victories in both the iconic TARGA Tasmania and the Shannons Adelaide Rally.

Previous to last year, he campaigned a Mitsubishi Evo 9 in the Motorsport Australia Tasmanian Rally Championship, which saw him claim the state championship title in both 2017 and 2020.

Melbourne Performance Centre’s Troy Russell was excited to have Maguire join the team’s other driver in young gun Jay Hanson for the season opener.

“We’ve had a long standing relationship with Eddie and the opportunity to offer him a drive at his home event was one not to pass up,” Russell added.

“Eddie is experienced around Symmons Plains and won Targa Tasmania last year, so hopefully that success to the circuit.

“It’s awesome to welcome another driver to Supercheap Auto TCR Australia. It continues to grow and so has our team with its commitment including the new Audi RS3 LMS TCR for Jay Hanson.”

Although Maguire will be making his debut this weekend, it’s not an idea that has come out of the blue.

Having toyed with the thought of branching out of rallying midway through last year, Maguire’s idea turned into reality earlier this month when the former Aaron Cameron/Chelsea Angelo VW Golf became available.

Despite not having any experience racing front-wheel drive cars, the 2021 TARGA Tasmania winner was looking forward to the challenge at a track familiar to him.

“We’ve done a lot of gravel and tarmac rallying with quite a bit of success, but after winning Targa Tasmania last year we just wanted to look for some different things to do in motorsport,” Maguire said.

“I haven’t got any circuit racing experience at all, but I’ve had a few conversations with Lee and Troy at MPC, I’ve probably known them for 15 years.

“I’ve said to them over the years if there are any other opportunities and I received a phone call from Lee last week to say MPC had a spare car to have a go in at Tassie. I thought, ‘if there was anywhere I was going to start it would be around a familiar track’.

“I’ve never driven a front-wheel-drive race car, prior to the Viper I’ve always driven Mitsubishi Lancer Evos on gravel and tarmac. I’m hoping I can get my head around it in practice and we’ll see how we go.

“If by the end of the weekend I’m putting down some good laps and maybe even claw our way up the field then that would be great, but I don’t have any huge expectations. I’m just there for the experience.

“I’ve been keeping my eye on the TCR Australia Series for a while now and I think it’s a great concept. Certainly, if we have a good weekend, we enjoy it and go alright, we’d look at doing other rounds.”

The seven-round Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series begins at Symmons Plains this weekend.