Despite finishing a more than respectable fifth in his rookie Dunlop Super2 season, Dylan O’Keeffe admits he ‘expected a bit more’.
The 21-year-old moved from the Porsche Carrera Cup to join the second-tier Supercars series this year with Garry Rogers Motorsport, replacing 2018 champion Chris Pither.
With GRM's time in Supercars now coming to an end, O'Keeffe's future is up in the air; however he is confident he'll be back on the grid next year.
O'Keeffe finished just ahead of fellow rookie Tyler Everingham in the standings – plus a mix of seasoned competitors – but was left with mixed feelings on year one of his Super2 career.
"It was a weird feeling because yes it was successful, obviously from my point of view I would've liked a bit more, but that's OK," O'Keeffe told Supercars.com of his campaign.
"For my first season in Super2, I guess it is very good, because I've been told previously racing in Super2 how challenging the category is and how long it takes to get an understanding of the cars.
"They're obviously quite different to anything else we race around the world, so those kinds of things were definitely on my mind going into it and I was not 100 percent sure what to expect.
"I'm extremely happy to finish off the year where I did, but at the same time I think we flew a little bit under the radar in some regards and I didn't really get any standout results that were that excellent.
"I probably expected a bit more to be honest, I wanted to get a proper podium, maybe even close to a pole position, but that's OK, those things will come in the second year."
Part of that underwhelming sense was actually born out of his strong start to the year, as he scored top 10 finishes in the opening two races in Adelaide.
“From the start to the end, I did improve dramatically, but it never really showed in results, which was kind of frustrating,” O’Keeffe added.
“When I qualified seventh and did a few OK things at the start of the season, I was like 'oh yeah, I can't wait until the end of the year when I've really got a handle', but nothing really took off from that.
“I want to do a second year to showcase my proper driving ability and try to put everything together.”
He did finish every race bar one in ninth or better from Ipswich onwards, including a season-best third in the wild and wet opening race at Sandown.
He was also given an out of the blue call-up into GRM’s #33 Supercar at the Vodafone Gold Coast 600 in place of Richie Stanaway, to co-drive alongside Pither.
O'Keeffe says he'd like another shot at Super2 in 2020 and is hoping to align with a team whose operations extend to the main game.
"Yes, it might not have worked out long term with GRM, but all of the experience and everything I've learnt, I can take that to any team," he said.
"From here, even though GRM probably aren't doing Super2, my goal is to still be a Supercars driver.
"I want to be aligned with a main game team, to get that endurance drive, because I feel next year I have to do a co-drive and then also look toward the future.
"It's planning for the years ahead, not so much one year at a time.
"I never want to be the driver that changes teams every year, I want to have the continuity and be built into the team.