Three drivers from the first intake into the Hampton Downs NZ Racing Academy announced themselves as future stars with impressive performances at the New Zealand Grand Prix last month.
Matthew Payne finished on the podium after a superb drive while Caleb Ngatoa earned pole position for the 66th New Zealand Grand Prix. Billy Frazer showed good pace across the weekend and will be a force to be reckoned with throughout the remainder of the Castrol Toyota Racing Series.
The trio were among the first names to be part of the recently established Hampton Downs NZ Racing Academy, which was launched over the Grand Prix weekend.
The aim of the initiative is to upskill talented youngsters to help them achieve at an elite level with two-time race winner Daniel Gaunt as the academy director and head instructor.
“It has been created to upskill and support local and international drivers at a world-class facility,” said Gaunt. “Whether you’re wanting to make the jump from go-karts to cars or have been racing cars for several years and want to hone your skills to improve as a racing driver, we have something for you.
“The academy is primarily designed for up-and-coming drivers to learn basic and advanced driving skills but it is also open to club racers who want to improve their technique.”
Payne, a former karting star, was particularly impressive at the New Zealand Grand Prix and he puts his success down to three preparation sessions with the academy.
“I have done three days in the FT50 with Dan Gaunt and it was really beneficial,” Payne explained.
“It was my first experience in a car with wings and slicks and so that really helped me adjust.
“It contributed hugely [to Grand Prix success]. It was just the little things, starting with good habits and not trying to do too much.
“Daniel was great too.”
Hampton Downs is already home to some of the biggest motorsport operations in the country with Castrol Toyota Racing Series and drift king Mad Mike Whiddett’s business based on site.
“We want to continue New Zealand’s incredible legacy in motorsport,” said chief operating officer Josie Spillane.
“Hampton Downs is a world class facility and we want to help create world class drivers from the huge pool of raw talent we have here in New Zealand.”
For more information visit www.hamptondownsacademy.com
Mike Marsden February 11, 2021
Posted In: News
Tags: 66th Grand Prix
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