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What’s next for Richards after TCR podium debut

CLAY Richards is a self-proclaimed TCR addict after his debut in the Australian category last weekend.

Richards experienced a rollercoaster ride at Winton aboard his Melbourne Performance Centre Audi.

His outing was bookended by lows, missing the entire opening practice due to a power steering issue and retiring from Race 3 with a broken lower control arm.

In between was a high point of starting second in the reverse top 10 grid race and converting that into second place at the chequered flag.

Richards admits he had expected to be gobbled up quickly – and that he was even intimidated by the calibre of his rivals – but was pleasantly surprised with how the confidence-boosting performance panned out.

Clay Richards in action aboard the Shannons Audi. Pic: Supplied/Daniel Kalisz

“I knew it was going to be very aggressive racing and really cutthroat stuff but I guess racing the Toyota 86 series, I was able to bring some of that with me because that category is pretty similar,” the 23-year-old told V8 Sleuth.

“It’s very aggressive and everyone wants to pass you at every corner, so you’re always aware of what’s going on. I suppose I was able to take that over and use in TCR.”

So, will he be on the grid come Round 4 at Queensland Raceway in August?

Probably not. But that’s not to say he won’t be back in 2024, if not later this year.

“If we were to do another round of TCR this year, it would probably be the last two rounds when the internationals come over, either Sydney or Bathurst,” said the son of five-time Bathurst 1000 winner Steve.

“But look, I’m addicted to TCR now and if I had it my way I’d be at the next round in a heartbeat.

“We’re thinking about next year as well, our aim is to not be in 86s next year and go to the next step, whether that’s TCR or something else, but we’re definitely leaning most towards TCR.

MORE: Jim Richards’ grandson walks away from nasty rollover

“Obviously our season in 86s hasn’t started yet, it doesn’t start until July, so that right now is the main focus, getting through that and see what happens at the end of the year.”

Those events at Sydney Motorsport Park (November 3-5) and Mount Panorama (November 10-12) will double as rounds of TCR Australia and the inaugural TCR World Tour.

Clay Richards celebrates. Pic: Supplied/Daniel Kalisz
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