KELLYVILLE'S Justin Ruggier has signed with a V8 Touring Car team that will travel around Australia this year.
His reaction was nothing but emotional: "It's an amazing opportunity . . . something I will never forget," the 32-year-old said.
Justin started his career in go-karts when he was eight, racing in major events around Australia.
Now he's driving with the big boys.
Throughout the series, Ruggler will drive Rick Kelly's ex-HSV Dealer Team Commodore VZ, which Kelly used to win the 2006 V8 Championship.
While the car puts him in a great position, there's the extra pressure because of the title won by the previous driver.
"I love competing and never want to race to make money — I just want to win," Ruggier said.
"For Eggleston Motorsport to put faith in me was very satisfying, especially when they are a well-respected race team."
Ruggier has been professionally racing cars for six years, all over Australia and in Spain and England.
"Ever since I was born Mum and Dad would find me next to the Scalextric set that we had, and often watching the racing on the TV," he said.
Like any competitor before a race, Ruggier said he gets anxious for the green light to appear.
But after 24 years of racing, he still gives his dad a hug before going out onto the track.