Hampton Downs NZ Racing Academy awards Kiahn Burt with Toyota 86 drive
Cars are the next port of call for New Zealand's latest karting champion Kiahn Burt; the 13-year-old awarded a test in a Toyota 86 with the Hampton Downs NZ Racing Academy.
Burt's passion for speed was fuelled eight years ago when he sat trackside at a local kart meeting.
"We were good family friends with [Porsche Sprint Challenge driver Ryan Wood], and we went out and watched him one day, and I thought it was just so cool.
"So, I hopped in a kart one day and I absolutely loved it."
Eight years later, Burt now has a national Junior Rotax title inked on his racing CV.
But the Palmerston North youngster wants more, and now, thanks to the Hampton Downs NZ Racing Academy, Burt will rack up some mileage in a Toyota 86 race car.
"I'm just excited," Burt said. “I'm very grateful for this opportunity.
"It has always been my dream to get into a race car. I am excited to test the 86 because I know this is the next step in my career.
"My end goal in motorsport is to race cars for a living and make it my job. To work with the Hampton Downs Academy is just going to fast track my progress and I can't wait to work with some of the best coaches in New Zealand."
Coaching Burt over the two-day test is double New Zealand Grand Prix winner Daniel Gaunt.
"Kiahn will come out of the Academy test with his first experience in a race car," Gaunt, chief instructor for the Academy, said.
"The karting championship he won is super competitive. He's done well, and we look forward to having him.
“Identifying young talent and giving them the opportunity to progress their careers is a big part of what the Hampton Downs NZ Racing Academy does,” Said Gaunt.
Burt is equally excited to work alongside Gaunt and learn from his wealth of experience.
"I know I need to listen because whatever he is going to say is what really needs to be done," he said. "I don't really mind if I am not the fastest. I've never been in a race car before. It's just all about learning."
The Hampton Downs NZ Racing Academy is open to any New Zealand-based driver wanting to improve their off- and on-track skills. Tests take place on an empty track and utilises all of the world-class Hampton Downs circuit and facilities.
The Academy has different stages, each catering to different driver experience. Both a Toyota 86 and FT-50 single-seater can be tested with professional instruction.