Aspiring race drivers from New Zealand and overseas have responded with enthusiasm to the opportunity to qualify for the CareVets Racing scholarship, a largely funded drive in the 2016-2017 Toyota 86 Championship.
Scholarship spokesperson and CareVets co-owner Keith Houston says 17 aspiring young racers had applied by the 28 August deadline. After an initial review by the judging panel, the top 12 applicants will progress to a full day of on-track and off-track assessment at Hampton Downs on September 12. The scholarship will be awarded after all 12 drivers have been assessed.
“We are looking to select a driver with ability and potential who might not otherwise receive this kind of support at this stage in their career. The response to the call for applications has been fantastic, and this will no doubt make the job of the selectors harder than in the inaugural year,” he said.
Mr Houston says the aim is to ensure that a future champion can be nurtured through the course of the year. The successful driver will contest the championship in a two-car team environment alongside Christchurch driver Ryan Yardley, 2015-2016 CareVets scholarship recipient and championship rookie category winner.
There are 16 New Zealanders and one Malaysian driver among the initial application group. Among the group there are two female drivers, Dunedin-based Alyssa Clapperton and Scout Fletcher of Christchurch.
“Many of our applicants are young, and many have karting backgrounds, which shows we are meeting the aims of the scholarship and the championship by nurturing and developing new racing talent,” Mr Houston said.
New Zealand motorsport icon Greg Murphy joins other members of the judging panel - category manager Geoff Short, scholarship creator Keith Houston and fitness judge Andy Kruy - when the top 12 applicants meet for a one day assessment at Hampton Downs circuit in the north Waikato next Monday, September 12.
Scholarship spokesperson and CareVets co-owner Keith Houston says he is very pleased to have such an experienced racer on the judging panel.
“Greg is a fantastic addition to our team, he’s truly a motor racing household name and we are very lucky he is able to spend this time with us. I know all our applicants will gain from his presence,” he said.
The 2016-2017 Toyota 86 Championship runs over six rounds starting with three races at the New Zealand round of the V8 Supercars, held at Pukekohe over the weekend of November 4-6. Each round is televised and organisers recently confirmed a prize fund of $100,000. The Championship joins the Toyota Racing Series for three rounds and culminates at Hampton Downs in the northern Waikato in March 2017.
Applicants for 2016-2017 CareVets Racing Toyota 86 Scholarship
Jaega Banga, Christchurch
Jacob Bennett, New Brighton, Christchurch
Oscar Bowater, Stoke, Nelson
Sean Browne, Halcombe, Manawatu
Alyssa Clapperton, Dunedin
Scout Fletcher, Sydenham, Christchurch
Blake Hooper, Inglewood, Taranaki
Nathan Howe, Pahurehure, Auckland
Benjamin MacDonald, Auckland
Brody McConkey, Paraparaumu, Wellington
Jack Milligan, Prebbleton, Christchurch
Taylor Quine, Bunnythorpe, Manawatu
Jaden Ransley, Christchurch
Kiran Sathivel, Johor, Malaysia
Dylan Smith, Red Beach, Auckland
Jonathan Sutton, Hope, Nelson
Cameron Wiley, Hamilton
The 2016-2017 Toyota 86 Championship
|Round 1||4 – 6 November 2016||Pukekohe Park Raceway, Pukekohe|
|Round 2||9 – 11 December 2016||Taupo Motorsport Park, Taupo|
|Round 3||13 -15 January 2017||Mike Pero Motorsport Park, Ruapuna, Christchurch|
|Round 4||20 - 22 January 2017||Teretonga Park, Invercargill|
|Round 5||10 - 12 Feb 2017||Manfeild, Feilding|
|Round 6||10 – 12 Mar 2017||Hampton Downs|