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Young Kiwi gets big American motorsport opportunity
Wings and slicks racer aiming for big things in America
Southland racing driver Brendon Leitch has received a massive opportunity to further his motor racing career. The 20 year old has been invited to travel to America to spend two days testing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the high profile Newman Wachs Racing team on the road course previously used for the F1 United States Grand Prix.
The opportunity was organised by Garry Orton of Victory Motor Racing, the team Brendon has represented in the Toyota Racing Series for the last three years.
"Garry has contacts in the US and spent time in the States working on the successful Project 64 Mini at Bonneville this year. He and Dave McMillan, a former New Zealand Champion, managed to gain an invitation from Newman Wachs Racing for me to come to Indianapolis to drive their USF2000 Series Tatuus USF-17 chassis over the weekend of 8/9 October."
The Newman Wachs team is a highly regarded American outfit owned by Eddie Wachs and, until his death, American actor and racer Paul Newman. The team is based outside Chicago at Mundelein, Illinois.
Leitch has been promised four 40 minute sessions on track in the car over the two days. "That will give me time to go over the car with the team and give the team my feedback," says Leitch.
Brendon Leitch after winning the Bruce McLaren Trophy at this years NZ Motorsport Awards. Photo / Neil Mackenzie
"It is an awesome opportunity. I haven't been out of the country for ten years so to go overseas for this will be great. It is a huge achievement just to get a test. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity. It could potentially lead to a drive next year or nothing may come of it. I will go there with an open mind and see where it leads. The car is the same chassis as the FT50 we use in the Toyota Racing Series here in New Zealand except it has less aero. It is the first rung on the ladder in the Road To Indy that they have in the States and the aero increases as you step up the ladder".
Despite limited resources and opportunities Leitch has fashioned a stunning record in New Zealand motor racing. After finishing in the top three of the New Zealand Formula Ford Championship two years in succession he moved into the Toyota Racing Series three seasons ago. Competing against race hardened international drivers with minimal preparation each year he has won two races in the series - one in the 2015 season and one this year and has stood on the podium several times. This year he finished third overall in the series points, was the top kiwi in the series and the only New Zealander to win a race.