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MotorSport New Zealand’s club championship decided

The premier Gold Star title at the 2018 New Zealand ClubSport Championship, held in Christchurch on 17 and March, was won by Cameron Morison, a Christchurch-based pilot in his twenties. Invercargill’s Rachel Lawrie, a 33-year-old accountant and mother from Invercargill, took out the Women in Motorsport NZ ClubSport Champion’s title and 18-year-old trainee mechanic Jordan Grant, from Tauranga, won the junior champion’s title for the second time.

The MotorSport New Zealand championship highlights the sport’s grassroots, club-level competition which attracts a high proportion of the country’s licenced competitors.

The NZ ClubSport Championship incorporates three very popular motorsport disciplines which form the basis of many New Zealand motorsport club events:

·         Motorkhana – an entry level event, run on a grass or sealed surface, where a competitor navigates their car around a course, of approximately 100 metres in length and marked by cones, at low speeds, usually in first gear and, at times, in reverse.

·         Autocross – a larger version of a motorkhana, but forward direction only and including straights of up to 100 metres (seal) or 200 metres (grass).

·         Bent Sprint – a timed run on a road course, gravel or sealed, which has at least one bend or curve, and is of a length determined by the organisers.

MotorSport New Zealand President Wayne Christie, from Christchurch, congratulated the organisers, Canterbury Car Club, and competitors on a well-run and hotly-contested event.

“These three disciplines – autocross, motorkhana and bent sprint – are the bedrock of our member club events, where competitors learn the key elements of car control and enjoy the excitement of competition,” says Christie.

“The skills learned in these grassroots forms of competition are vital for participants wishing to progress to club rallies and circuit racing, and then onto national and international level competition. Having said that, for many thousands of Kiwi motorsport competitors, these club-run events are what they love – relatively low budget, able to be contested in a wide range of cars with core safety equipment, and all about the spirit of competition and comradery you’d expect with a club event.

“By recognising ClubSport with a national championship pays due credit to the club-driven elements of our sport. These are our grassroots classes and it’s very encouraging for our sport that this year’s championship attracted strong entries and tight-fought competition.

“Canterbury Car Club, with assistance from nearby motorsport clubs, put together a well-organised and very well-presented event, befitting a national championship. Chris Protheroe and his team did themselves proud with a top notch venue and layouts – the autocross course, dubbed the Bathurst 800, reassembled the famed Mount Panorama circuit! Congratulations to all involved and the 2018 champions.”

Morison and Grant each receive a prize in the form of an exciting opportunity to compete overseas. These two 2018 ClubSport champions can enter one round of the 2018 Asia Zone Auto Gymkhana Championship. The prize covers their entry, airfares, accommodation and a vehicle to use during the competition.

Brian Budd, CEO of MotorSport NZ says: “The idea of offering this prize followed a presentation on the Asia Zone Auto Gymkhana Championship that Wayne Christie and I attended at the FIA Asia Pacific Zone Congress earlier this year. It seemed a great opportunity for New Zealand competitors to experience grassroots competition in Asia and to create some inter-country competition at this level. MSNZ has offered a similar opportunity for two Asian competitors to compete in our ClubSport Championship from 2019.”

Cameron Morison, 2018 NZ ClubSport Champion by Euan Cameron

Morison, who is originally from Invercargill, belongs to the Ashburton Car Club and is a member of MotorSport New Zealand’s voluntary ClubSport Advisory Commission. He says he enjoys the technical skill of the motorkhana and the speed of the bent sprint.

“The personal challenge to do better is what I enjoy most, but I also enjoy the build and work on my car as much as I enjoy driving, but neither would be fun without the friends you meet along the way,” says the three-time ClubSport champion who also won in 2014 and 2016. “A friend got me involved using my road car in 2010. I was a student on the time living on $250 a week and that was still enough to get involved. This year’s championship is again thanks to my friends who have supported me with encouragement, loaning equipment and storing my toy.”

Rachel Lawrie, 2018 NZ ClubSport Women’s Champion by Euan Cameron

Lawrie, a member of the Southland Sports Car Club, was delighted that a women’s championship was officially recognised this year. A three-time ClubSport championship entrant, she says it’s extra special to be the inaugural recipient of the Women in Motorsport NZ Ladies’ Cup.

“Each year I have improved my skills and slowly but surely I’m climbing the overall leader-board. The new women’s category creates an additional competition within the main competition, similar to how the junior class has operated for a number of years. I hope it will encourage others to give it a crack and not be intimidated by the overall extremely competitive, national championship field.”

Having started competing in club-level motorsport in 2014, Lawrie enjoys the technical challenge of the motorkhana and the speed of the bent sprint. “It’s all about the challenge and excitement, pushing your limits and learning new skills.”

She adds: “I’m a keen advocate for getting more young people and females into motorsport and try to get as many people involved as I can in the women’s and junior-focused autocross run annually by Eastern Southland Car Club. It’s a great, low pressure event to just have a go at the sport.”

Jordan Grant, 2018 NZ Junior ClubSport Champion by Euan Cameron

Grant, who belongs to Motorsport Bay of Plenty and is also a committee member, made his motorsport debut at last year’s NZ ClubSport Championship event held in Taupo where he won the 2017 NZ ClubSport Gold Star Junior Championship.

“I love the challenge and fun of racing against the clock,” says the teen who competes in a Suzuki Swift. “I’d like to thank my parents for their huge support and helping me work on my car. I’d also like to thank my sponsors Neil Rogers and Associates and Prospeed Motorsport and thank all the people that helped me to build my car into what it is today.”

This year’s New Zealand ClubSport Championship was run by the Canterbury Car Club at Mike Pero Motorsport Park (Ruapuna) and attracted 34 entries from around the country.

The governing body of motorsport in this country, MotorSport New Zealand is an incorporated society owned by approximately 100 member clubs. See www.motorsport.org.nz for more information.

Source: MotorSport NZ PR

Chandler’s contribution to NZ motorsport recognised at Halberg Awards

Aucklander Morrie Chandler, ONZM, was presented with a lifetime achievement award at the 55th Halberg Awards ceremony on 8 February.

Formerly the President of MotorSport New Zealand (MSNZ) from 1977 to 1998 and chairman of Rally New Zealand Ltd from 1978 to 2006 while also an active rally competitor, Chandler’s contributions to New Zealand motorsport have been many and varied across several decades. Chandler also contributed to the governance of motorsport at a global level holding several significant and influential roles with the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), starting with his appointment to the FIA Rally Commission in 1983. Chandler’s most recent FIA role was as a Vice President of the sport, a role he stepped down from at the end of 2017.

Wayne Christie, current MSNZ President, says that to see Chandler’s achievements recognised at the Halberg Awards is a proud day for motorsport in New Zealand.

“Morrie Chandler has been an extraordinarily positive force in New Zealand motorsport for more than 40 years,” says Christie. “Many aspects of our sport, nationally and internationally, have developed and flourished with Morrie’s guidance and ability to bring people together to work for the common good.

“On behalf of MotorSport New Zealand, I congratulate Morrie on this lifetime achievement award from the Halberg Awards. Thank you for your dedication to motorsport, Morrie, and for your advice and mentorship to many of us who follow in your footsteps. I won’t be the only one continuing to seek your input in the years to come, so thank you.”

Chandler says he is humbled, but proud to represent motorsport. “I’m proud to see motorsport being recognised by the Halberg Awards and it was a wonderful evening with so many accomplished people.”

The annual Halberg Awards is the major fundraiser for the Halberg Foundation, the charity set up by Olympic champion Sir Murray Halberg (ONZ) in 1963 to enhance the lives of physically disabled young New Zealanders by enabling them to participate in sport and recreation.

MotorSport New Zealand is the sole authority appointed by the FIA to regulate motor sport in New Zealand in order to promote and achieve safety, fairness, and social responsibility in the conduct of the sport.

Source: MotorSport NZ PR

New Zealand retains strong representation at the FIA

President of MotorSport New Zealand (MSNZ) Wayne Christie (pictured left), of Christchurch, has been elected president of the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) Rally Commission, following the 2017 annual general assembly of the world governing body of motorsport last week.

Christie follows two highly-regarded New Zealanders, Morrie Chandler (pictured right), ONZM and the late Ron Frost, MBE, in maintaining a Kiwi presence at the highest levels of world motorsport. Chandler and Frost, both from Auckland, were also former presidents of MSNZ – Chandler from 1977 to 1998 and Frost from 1958 to 1977.

Chandler has held several roles with the FIA, most recently as one of seven vice presidents on the World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) for the last eleven years. Earlier he was one of 25 members of the WMSC – the sport’s top governing body. Chandler was also previously a member of the FIA’s Rallies Commission, then president of the World Rally Championship organisers before being elected president of the World Rally Championship Commission in 2006.

Chandler stepped down from the FIA Vice Presidential role this month, in accordance with the FIA statutes applying an age limit of 75 years at time of election to all FIA bodies. In recognition of his valued contributions over many years, Chandler was honoured with the title of Vice President d’Honneur de FIA during the 2017 general assembly meeting which concluded the FIA’s annual meetings in Paris.

“For a small country, New Zealand punches well above its weight in world motorsport as competitors and in the sport’s administration and regulation,” says Christie who was voted in as MSNZ president in 2016.

“Chandler and Frost, before me, forged significant pathways which assisted us to continue New Zealand’s representation at the highest levels of the FIA.

“Apart from the obvious successes of many Kiwi competitors internationally this year, New Zealand also ranks inside the top ten countries for numbers of motorsport competitors and events held, and this is purely on numbers, not per capita,” Christie says, quoting the FIA 2017 Sport Clubs Data Survey.

Stepping into his new global role as the president of the FIA Rally Commission alongside his MSNZ role and his full-time position with a Christchurch legal firm, Christie says he is better known as a circuit racing competitor.

“I have had some previous rallying co-driving experience, and have stewarded rallies up to New Zealand Championship level. I also bring eight years of experience heading up MSNZ advisory commissions, and it is this experience I believe I can bring to the FIA Rally Commission. There is already so much rally experience within the commission, my role is to help manage and coordinate the knowledge for the betterment of the sport. I’m also fortunate to have many, very experienced ‘rally brains’ in New Zealand who I can draw upon.”

Christie believes he has the skills to make a difference at FIA level. “The MSNZ board agreed that it was desirable for New Zealand to continue its long-standing presence at that level of the FIA. There are several reasons behind this: a lot of work has gone before us that should not be let go lightly; motorsport in New Zealand has benefitted from that level of involvement and can continue to do so; and New Zealand is well respected within the FIA family and can continue to contribute in a positive manner.”

The FIA Rally Commission is responsible for overseeing the welfare of rallying below World Rally Championship level, with a particular focus on the global regional rally championships, such as the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship.

Christie acknowledges there are stiff challenges facing several of the regional rally championships.

“I’m looking forward to working with the 25 commission members to address the issues and concerns to make rallying in the regions around the world stronger, with key issues such as costs among the biggest hurdles.”

Christie’s position heading the FIA Rally Commission also means that he has a seat on the WRC Commission as well as the Safety Commission.

Two other New Zealanders are also represented at the highest levels of the FIA include New Zealand Automobile Association (NZAA) CEO Brian Gibbons who takes over the presidency of the FIA Senate, which oversees the FIA’s management and finances.  Mike Noon, the NZAA’s general manager of motoring affairs, was elected president of Region II (Asia Pacific) for the FIA Mobility Programmes Committee. NZAA members Simon Douglas and Dougal Swift were also elected as vice-chairmen of the FIA Mobility Policy Commission and the FIA Mobility Services Commission respectively.

The FIA is comprised of 245 motoring and motor sport club members in 143 countries and has 80 million members. The FIA divides the world into seven zones with New Zealand in the Asia-Pacific region.

Source: MotorSport NZ PR

MotorSport New Zealand focuses on volunteer welfare

As International Volunteer Day is recognised on 5 December, MotorSport New Zealand is working to develop a set of volunteer welfare guidelines for motorsport event organisers.

Every weekend in New Zealand, hundreds of motorsport volunteers head to race circuits and closed road events such as rallies and hill climbs to ensure that competitors can safely participate in their chosen form of motorsport. The volunteers fulfil vital roles such as flag marshals or grid personnel, timing or fire and rescue crews, scrutineers or technical officials, competitor relations officers, or event management personnel such as clerks of the course and stewards.

“Without our volunteers, motorsport in New Zealand simply would not happen,” says MotorSport New Zealand President, Wayne Christie.

One of the issues around volunteer welfare being considered by MotorSport New Zealand and one of its advisory commissions, the Volunteers Commission – whose members are also volunteers – is the amount of time that volunteers donate annually to the operations, management and safety of motorsport in New Zealand.

“MotorSport New Zealand has a responsibility to look after the welfare of its volunteers,” says Christie. “Volunteers contribute significant amounts of their time outside their jobs and other life responsibilities, to ensure that motorsport thrives and flourishes. Our volunteers often work very long days at events and several weekends in a row for the benefit of motorsport. That contribution is huge and, at times, not fully recognised and acknowledged. We accept that they are a vital ingredient in the running of our events, and even though volunteering is their chosen sport, the contribution made by our volunteers needs to be acknowledged more than we currently do.

“We are working with our Volunteer Commission to consider what may need to change in order to better look after our volunteers. From these discussions, a guiding document will be formulated for the MotorSport New Zealand board to consider and implement across the sport.”

The International Volunteer Day is a United Nations-led initiative and takes place each year on 5 December. The aim in 2017 is to use the day to celebrate and recognise New Zealand’s volunteers for the invaluable work they do in our communities, locally and globally.

More information about how to become a motorsport volunteer can be found on the MotorSport New Zealand website http://www.motorsport.org.nz/resources/getstarted/volunteers.

Source: MotorSport NZ PR

Photo: Geoff Ridder

Paddon’s social media vision recognised by WRC peers

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

Hartley creating history for New Zealand motorsport

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

Stellar year for Kiwi stars Hartley and Bamber

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

50 years since Denny Hulme’s F1 Championship title

Sunday 22 October marks the 50th anniversary of Kiwi racing legend Denny Hulme winning the 1967 Formula 1 World Championship in Mexico. Hulme made history as the first – and only – New Zealander to have ever won the most prestigious motor racing championship in the world.

The significance of the date gains added impetus this year as another New Zealander, 27-year-old Brendon Hartley, will make his F1 debut on 22 October 2017 in the United States Grand Prix. It’s 33 years since a New Zealander last raced in F1.

Hulme’s achievement was notable in several ways. He was racing and winning alongside with fellow Kiwi Bruce McLaren in the famed Can-Am series while also racing F1 for Jack Brabham, so to be crowned world champion, he had to not only beat his team mate, but his boss and his employer. Earlier in the 1967 F1 season, Hulme won his first Grand Prix on the famed streets of Monaco, becoming the first New Zealander to have won a F1 race.

His Kiwi chief mechanic at Braham Racing, Cary Taylor, recently told motor racing writer Michael Clark: “To have been with Denny for his first F1 win at Monaco in 1967 still holds very special memories for me. I don’t think we really expected to win, as we were still running last year’s BT20, but, at Monaco, anything can happen, with success or failure the difference between a split second’s loss of driver concentration and a war of mechanical attrition.”

Hulme won again partway through that eventful 1967 season, at Germany’s mighty Nürburgring. With podium results in six other races, the championship came down to the Grand Prix in Mexico with Hulme on 47 points and Brabham on 43. Either Brabham driver, known for their serious work ethic and a tendency not to waste words, could take the title. Fellow Kiwi and 1967 F1 competitor, Chris Amon noted: “Jack and Denny and didn’t talk much at the best of times, but in 1967 what used to be extraordinarily limited conversation became almost non-existent!”

Hulme describes the race on 22 October 1967 to Michael Clark during an interview in 1992 six weeks before Hulme died at Bathurst: “Basically Jack did say ‘Well, good luck’, when we arrived at our cars the next morning, and off we went. I was very aware that I could not afford a DNF. I was very conscious of that situation and the first criteria was to get a good start, get clear, and not race with anyone else because, too often, you can get put out by someone else’s bloody stupidity.” The green and gold Brabhams sat on the third row, Brabham 0.38 seconds quicker than Hulme. “Basically, I had to finish, not very far behind Jack”. Jim Clark won the race for Lotus while Brabham finished second, and Hulme third. A New Zealander was World Champion!

In his interview, Hulme highlights his well-known dislike of celebrity: “Jimmy [Clark] and I got up on the podium together and there is a good photograph of the two of us with a single laurel around both of us. Jack was up on the podium as well but it was okay. By then it was all over. We decided that the war had ended and the treaty signed. I was going somewhere else and Jack was going to get on with his own job. After the race we went off for a celebration in a bullring and we all had a play around with these miniature bulls. On the Monday morning I headed off to Riverside – I didn’t want to go to England for all the ballyhoo and hoopla – I just plodded on and joined the Can-Am cars at Riverside as if Formula 1 didn’t exist. Look forward to the next event – that was my motto.”

Wayne Christie, President of MotorSport New Zealand, says: “2017 has been a year of milestones for our sport with several of our member car clubs celebrating significant anniversaries and it seems entirely appropriate that we are able to recognise our first Formula One World Championship winner by having Brendon, the first ever race winner of our internationally recognised Toyota Racing Series, make his F1 debut on the same day.

“It is also important that we recognise that Brendon is a graduate of the MotorSport New Zealand Scholarship Trust’s Elite Motor Sport Academy, which was established in 2003 to help provide our emerging stars with the tools to succeed on the international stage, and one of the goals of the Elite Academy has been to have one of its graduates competing in Formula One.”

Source: MotorSport NZ PR

Photos: Terry Marshall

MotorSport New Zealand revs past 70 years

On 18 October 1947 a meeting was held in Wellington to form a national body to govern the coordination of motor sports in New Zealand.

The Association of New Zealand Car Clubs was duly established with an initial group of seven regional car clubs represented, namely the New Zealand Motor Racing Drivers Club (now Auckland Car Club), Hawke’s Bay Sports Car Club (now the Hawke’s Bay Car Club), Manawatu Car Club, New Zealand Sports Car Club (now the Wellington Car Club), Canterbury Car Club, Vintage Vehicles Association (now the Vintage Car Club of NZ), and Otago Car Club (now the Otago Sports Car Club).

The incorporated society is now called MotorSport New Zealand and is sanctioned by the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) as the sole regulatory authority for four-wheeled motor sports in New Zealand. With around 100 member car clubs MSNZ focusses on the regulatory, technical and safety aspects of competitive circuit racing and rallying at national and club levels, and club-oriented events such as motorkhanas, hill climbs, bent sprints and autocrosses, while affiliated organisations such as KartSport New Zealand, the New Zealand Drag Racing Association and the Vintage Car Club look after their relevant categories of four-wheeled motorsport.

Wayne Christie, President of MotorSport New Zealand, says: “To mark 70 years of our organisation this October is truly significant. Consider the thousands upon thousands of hours devoted by competitors, crews, event organisers, marshals, officials, photographers and reporters – the great majority of them volunteers – across those 70 years to allow participation in and enjoyment of motorsport as a leisure and sporting activity.

“For many of us, what started out as a fun way to enjoy some high speed thrills in our car in a safe and responsible way, has evolved into an activity that has given a shared enjoyment in a job well done, friendships for life and, in many cases, a sense of commitment to leaving the sport in good shape for future generations to ensure they can also participate in competitive motor sports the length and breadth of New Zealand.

Christie says MSNZ’s mission statements ring true for him and his fellow board members.

  • MSNZ is committed to develop and maintain an environment that enables the people of New Zealand to enjoy motorsport as a leisure and sporting activity.
  • MSNZ is committed to promoting and improving motorsport in New Zealand as a widely recognised, accepted and respected sport.
  • MSNZ wants people to enjoy and participate in the adventure and challenge of cars being driven with speed, safety and skill.
  • MSNZ is committed to the professional and modern management of its business. It will create an environment in which people can contribute and expand their skills in and commitment to all aspects of the sport.
  • MSNZ develops and maintains systems for safety, technical, judicial, accreditation, training and compliance, and other intellectual property necessary for the effective management and development of the sport. The systems and services of MSNZ are provided to members, other customers and the community in order to achieve the MSNZ mission.

“As our communities and society changes, with challenges such as more pressure on recreational spaces, costs, health and safety requirements, and environmental considerations, it’s more important than ever to offer safe, controlled environments and organised events for car enthusiasts to have fun with their cars. That’s where our member car clubs are a valuable asset for their communities, and encourage people to utilise appropriate events and locations for the thrills of motorsport at all levels.”

A significant celebration is being planned for MSNZ’s 75th anniversary in five years’ time.

A full list of the member clubs which comprise MotorSport New Zealand Inc. can be found on the website www.motorsport.org.nz in the contacts section, or visit https://www.facebook.com/MotorSportNewZealand/. The organisation also has several Facebook pages for the different sectors of the sport such as Motorsport NZ Volunteers, NZ Youth in Motorsport, ClubSport Scene NZ, Women in Motorsport NZ, and the Elite Motorsport Academy NZ.

Source: MotorSport NZ PR

Hartley’s F1 news sensational for NZ motorsport

The announcement that Kiwi racing driver Brendon Hartley will race for Formula 1 team Scuderia Toro Rosso in America next weekend is a yet another major milestone in Hartley’s stellar career and for New Zealand motorsport as a whole.

Hartley’s debut F1 race, the United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Texas on 22 October, is 50 years to the day since Hulme became the first, and only New Zealander to win the World F1 Championship.

Hartley, age 27 and originally from Palmerston North, joins a small line-up of just nine Kiwis who have raced in the world’s top circuit racing category to carry on the tradition set by Bruce McLaren, Denny Hulme and Chris Amon. It’s 33 years since a New Zealander, Mike Thackwell, last raced in Formula 1.

President of MotorSport New Zealand, Wayne Christie says: “Everyone at MotorSport New Zealand and our wider motorsport community are already very proud of Brendon Hartley’s achievements as a driver, having won with FIA World Endurance Championship and the famous Le Mans race with his Porsche team-mates.

“We congratulate Brendon on being selected for this one-off drive and we hope it leads to yet more opportunities for one of our best drivers,” says Christie.

“Brendon’s goal has always been to compete at the pinnacle of the motorsport internationally and F1 is that pinnacle. He has significant experience as a F1 reserve driver, alongside his considerable expertise as a sports car driver. We are very pleased for him that he has made the next step to achieving his F1 goal, and this news again demonstrates that Kiwis really do punch above our weight internationally in motorsport.”

Of the news that he would replace Pierre Gasly at Toro Rosso for the US Grand Prix, Hartley said: “What an amazing feeling! This opportunity came as somewhat of a surprise, but I never did give up on my ambition and childhood dream to reach F1. I have grown and learnt so much since the days when I was the Red Bull and Toro Rosso reserve driver, and the tough years I went through made me stronger and even more determined.

“I want to say a huge thanks to Red Bull for making this a reality, and to Porsche for allowing me to do this alongside the World Endurance Championship. The COTA is a track I really enjoy and one I have raced at recently. I’m trying not to put too many expectations on my F1 debut, but I feel ready for it.”

Hartley last tested with the team back in 2009. Eight years later, he will be taking part in his first Formula 1 Grand Prix, at the Circuit of the Americas, alongside Daniil Kvyat.

Kiwi fans saw Hartley race at home as a teenager and key among his achievements in single seaters was, at the age of 15 in 2005, becoming the winner of the first-ever race of the inaugural Toyota Racing Series. That year, he also attended and graduated from New Zealand’s highly-regarded Elite Motorsport Academy which offers an annual one-week intensive training camp and year-long coaching programme to assist up to nine motorsport competitors with their mental and physical fitness, and sponsorship, marketing, nutrition and media skills.

Christie, who chairs the MotorSport NZ Scholarship Trust, says to see a graduate of the Elite Motorsport Academy to be selected for F1 is an absolute highlight for him and the other trustees. “The Elite Academy has contributed to the skills needed by Hartley and many of our other successful international competitors such as Hayden Paddon and Shane van Gisbergen to go forward and achieve great things in world motorsport. The Academy’s success can be demonstrated by the number of graduates who are performing with distinction on the world stage.”

With the support of a number of New Zealanders, Hartley headed for Europe at the age of 16 and, after much hard work, has a number of notable achievements to his credit including being reserve driver for the Red Bull F1 team in 2009 and 2010 and part of the Red Bull Academy. He tested with Mercedes F1 in France in 2012, then switched to sports cars. In 2015 he was crowned WEC Champion alongside Mark Webber and Timo Bernhard and, in June this year, won the Le Man 24 Hour Race with fellow Kiwi Earl Bamber and Timo Bernhard.

This weekend Hartley is racing with Bamber and Porsche LMP1 team-mates at the Japanese round of the FIA World Endurance Championship.

Christie adds: “Up and coming competitors may like to note that applications for the 2018 Elite Motorsport Academy have just opened. Refer to the Academy section of our website, www.motorsport.org.nz for more information.”

Source: MotorSport NZ PR

Photo: Toro Rosso