Dawn Bruce is one chuffed grandmother after getting news her grandson, Hunter McElrea, has received a grant from the Tony Quinn Foundation towards his rookie Indy Lights season in the USA.
Hunter will be racing with American auto racing powerhouse, Andretti Autosport.
The 22-year-old is the son of Ashburton-born Formula Ford and TraNZam champion, Andy McElrea.
Hunter began racing single-seater cars in Australia where he was raised.
His latest achievement follows on from a string of success with the young racer winning the Australian Formula Ford Championship in 2018, vice champion of the USF2000 Series and in 2020 he was the Road to Indy Spirit Award winner.
Dawn said she was gobsmacked when told the latest news, and hoped to get over the the United States and watch him race.
“I am very proud of him, mainly for the fact that it is his ability that got him there,” she said.
Motoring runs in the McElrea family blood with Hunter’s great grandmother being one of the founders of the Ashburton Car Club.
His grandfather Rod was a well known racer in he 1970’s and 80’s and father Andy had a successful career in Europe, and is now based in Australia running McElrea Racing.
Andy said his son has had some good opportunities so far.
“But this is a career defining opportunity now, he is trying to make the most of it, he has been competitive so we are confident he will go all right.”
Hunter’s first Indy Lights race representing Andretti Autosport was on February 27 in St Petersburg, USA. He poled in first place in qualifiers, but did not get the result he wanted.
And in Ashburton Hunter’s biggest fan, Dawn was glued to her iPad watching her grandson race.
-By Daniel Tobin