Mitch Evans pleads for more support
Mitch Evans believes the young Kiwi contingent nearing the top of world motorsport deserve more credit in this country, labelling our one-track mind to sport as "embarrassing".
Evans is one of a number of New Zealand drivers whose efforts have earned acclaim around the globe, a level of attention that rarely extends to their homeland where rugby of course rules the roost.
With Evans and Richie Stanaway performing well in GP2 - sitting a step below the ultimate dream of Formula 1 - and with Earl Bamber winning this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans, Evans told Newstalk ZB's Tony Veitch that the trio were be overlooked by New Zealand sporting fans.
When asked whether he and his fellow Kiwis were receiving enough respect within their homeland, Evans said: "If I'm going to be brutally honest right now, no, I don't think so. If you want to take the actual size of our country, the population, and the success that we're getting overseas in motorsport, it is enormous compared to other countries.
"We're just so far away and so rugby-minded - it is just embarrassing. It's a bit embarrassing because I've been exposed to other parts of the world and motorsport is literally the biggest sport in the world.
The lack of attention was a particular frustration for Evans given the past pedigree of motorsport in this country, when the likes of Chris Amon, Bruce McLaren, Denny Hulme enjoyed fame and fandom both here and abroad. But with Evans holding a "small possibility" of making the leap to F1 in the near future, the 21-year-old was hoping to recapture that level of support.
"It's a bit of a sour thing because we get overlooked a huge amount in New Zealand, which I think is a shame because we've got a lot of history in New Zealand," he said.
"There's been a huge drought for New Zealanders in Formula 1 but, with myself in Richie in GP2, we're so bloody close to F1 and making it happen. If we just got a little bit more support, it would be incredible and it would go a long way."