As 18th birthday presents go, Kurt Kostecki’s is going to be pretty hard to top.
The teenager will become one of youngest drivers to compete in a Supercars race this weekend at the Townsville 400.
Kostecki will be filling in for Holden’s Lee Holdsworth, who broke his pelvis, two ribs and his right knee last month in a high-speed crash at Darwin.
Team owner Charlie Schwerkolt had to scramble to not only find a driver for Townsville but a car as well with Holdsworth’s Commodore a write-off.
Kostecki’s parents came forward with a vehicle, on the proviso their son was behind the wheel for this weekend’s event and the Ipswich SuperSprint from July 22 at Queensland Raceway.
It’s a steep learning curve for Kostecki, who turned 18 on Monday, and is competing in the Supercars development series.
“He’s actually an impressive young man – he really is,” Schwerkolt told AAP of the youngster.
“He’s got a cool head, a smart brain behind him and I’m actually really impressed with him. He’s a good kid.
“There’s a big learning curve there for him but he’s a ripper kid.”
Kostecki’s first Supercars race will be Saturday’s 200km event at the unforgiving Reid Park street circuit.
Schwerkolt admits the P-plater faces consequences if he gets something wrong in the race but is backing Kostecki to surprise any doubters.
“If he gets it wrong, yes, plenty of concrete walls to hit. Hopefully, we’re not going to be repairing a car any time soon,” he said.
“It’s encouraging for him. It’s a lifetime opportunity to do this so early. Good on him.”
Schwerkolt said Holdsworth remained on track for a return to racing at this year’s endurance events in Sandown and Bathurst.
“At this stage, yes,” he said.
“It’s early days. He’s recovering well.”