Kiwi rally star Hayden Paddon was presented with the WRC.com Social Media Star of the Year award at the WRC Gala awards in Sydney on Monday 20 November.
Paddon, the only New Zealander competing in the FIA World Rally Championship, has built a strong social media presence during his international career with over 400,000 followers on Facebook, 68,000 on Instagram and 36,700 on Twitter.
Oliver Ciesla, Managing Director, WRC Promoter, says: “Social media continues to change the way people interact and communicate, and in the WRC that’s no different. It’s a key way to engage with fans all over the world.
“The WRC.com Social Media Star of the Year Award is awarded by the WRC Promoter to recognise the outstanding achievements of a driver who has done the most to reach out to fans in the most innovative and prolific way, for the benefit of the sport, their teams and sponsors, and themselves.
“Hayden has deservedly been recognised for his outstanding efforts to engage with fans through the creation of emotive content from his activities surrounding the WRC which complement the championship.”
Paddon is known for his desire to connect directly and candidly with his fans. Unlike many professional athletes who use paid PR professionals or social media agencies to manage their social media accounts, it’s Paddon himself, or sometimes his co-driver Seb Marshall, posting photos, videos and comments to social media before, during and after events. Working with Hyundai New Zealand, the concept of the #PaddonsPack supporters’ group on social media gained significant momentum during 2017.
But the release of two ‘Paddon’s Playground’ videos this year added a whole new dimension to Paddon’s social media strategy. He’d conceived the idea of showcasing some of his favourite parts of New Zealand in a rally car. While he was home earlier this year, he blasted his New Zealand Hyundai AP4+ through the scenic wonders of Minaret Station on the edge of Lake Wanaka and up the Cardrona ski field road. The two hugely-popular videos were filmed and produced by John-Jo Ritson from Christchurch-based Flashworks Media.
Wayne Christie, President of MotorSport New Zealand, says: “Hayden has been a fantastic ambassador of motorsport both in New Zealand and overseas. He continues to promote himself and rallying through social media to a dedicated fan base and has created a loyal following that has enhanced the profile of Kiwi rallying and all of New Zealand to his legions of fans around the world. Hayden’s popularity at home is clearly evident when he competes in New Zealand by the sheer number of spectators that line the stages.
“Hayden has deservedly become a household name achieved through his efforts and the support of a small team via the power of social media plus traditional media. It is great to see him recognised by the WRC Promoter for his contribution in this area. Congratulations to you, Hayden. You’ve set the bar high for other Kiwi motorsport competitors.”
The social media award added to a positive weekend for Paddon who finished third in Rally Australia.
“Big thanks to WRC for recognising the effort of our small group of people for the social media award of the year,” he said. “Social media plays a huge part in keeping our fans up to date and feeling a part of our journey but I’m only a small part of it. Credit also goes to my co-driver Seb Marshall, media manager Kate Gordon-Smith, McKlein Photography for the images, John-Jo from Flashworks Media for our videos, Gary Boyd with analytics and Twitter comments, Hyundai New Zealand and the wider New Zealand media. Also big thanks to our fans who are a huge part of this.”
Source: MotorSport NZ PR
Kiwi racing star Brendon Hartley continues to make New Zealand motorsport history with confirmation that he will continue to drive for Formula 1 team Scuderia Toro Rosso for the 2018 season.
Having made his F1 debut with the team in the United States just over one month ago, Palmerston North-born Hartley will make his fourth appearance for the team at the 2017 F1 season finale in Abu Dhabi on 26 November, and has impressed the team and media with his ability to quickly learn the intricacies of the F1 car and regulations.
“We’re thrilled for Brendon as this is the key opportunity at the peak of world motorsport he always aimed to achieve,” says Brian Budd, CEO of MotorSport New Zealand. “There’s no doubt that Brendon has worked extremely hard over the years and this hard work plus his talents behind the wheel and as a professional athlete have seen him deservedly earn this chance to race in Formula 1. With every race next year, Brendon will continue to inspire younger Kiwi motorsport competitors, particularly those participating in the New Zealand Elite Motorsport Academy from which Brendon graduated in 2006.”
Source: MotorSport NZ PR
Kiwi racing stars Brendon Hartley and Earl Bamber, with Porsche team-mate Timo Bernhard, secured the 2017 FIA World Endurance Drivers’ and Manufacturers’ Championship at the penultimate round in Shanghai over the weekend.
The result adds to a stellar year for Hartley and Bamber, from Palmerston North and Wanganui respectively, particularly with Hartley’s recent successful Formula 1 debut with Scuderia Toro Rosso and confirmation that he’s racing for the F1 team for the remaining three 2017 events.
It is Hartley’s second WEC drivers’ title, the first coming in 2015 with Bernhard and Australian Mark Webber, and Bamber’s first. The friends who raced karts together as children swapped the stats around when they partnered with Bernhard to win the iconic Le Mans 24 Hours earlier this year – that was Bamber’s second Le Mans victory and Hartley’s first.
“We’re absolutely delighted for Brendon and Earl,” says Wayne Christie, President of MotorSport New Zealand. “They have done New Zealand proud and are proving an incredible inspiration for younger Kiwi motorsport competitors, particularly those participating in the Elite Motorsport Academy as both Brendon and Earl are graduates of our highly-regarded academy programme.”
Christie puts out the challenge to those involved in New Zealand’s high-profile sports awards. “We know Brendon and Earl will be lauded in an array of regional and national motorsport awards in the coming months, and they also deserve to be recognised in wider sporting awards for their incredible, history-making achievements.”
From Shanghai, Hartley has jetted off to join Toro Rosso for the Brazilian Grand Prix next Monday (NZ time), before re-joining Bamber and Bernhard for the final WEC event of the season, the Six Hours of Bahrain, in two weeks. Meanwhile, Porsche has confirmed that Bamber will return to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in the GTLM class for the 2018 season, the series he contested for Porsche in 2015 and 2016.
Christie also congratulates another New Zealander winning a major championship in a Porsche in Shanghai.
“Chris van der Drift secured the 2017 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia Championship title over the weekend, where he battled Earl Bamber’s younger brother Will among a talented field to win the championship. It’s wonderful to also see Will Bamber secured third in this extremely competitive championship.
“There’s also been exciting race action at the ITM Auckland SuperSprint over the weekend, with two New Zealanders – Scott McLaughlin and Fabian Coulthard – still in contention for the Supercars Championship title.
“This year is certainly a stellar year for New Zealand motorsport.”
Source: MotorSport NZ PR