New FIA driver ratings for Kiwi race drivers revealed
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Headlined by Scott Dixon and Scott McLaughlin, there has been impressive Kiwi success in international motor racing this year.
Another measure of how deep Kiwi talent runs in international motor racing is found in the latest FIA Driver Categorisation List released this month.
The release of the provisional list for 2019 runs to 51 pages and includes more than 3700 drivers. It contains nearly 40 New Zealand drivers who have one of the four — Platinum, Gold, Silver or Bronze — ratings required for many international endurance races.
The ratings have been conceived to separate professional and amateur drivers and they form the basis for the Pro-Am driver combinations required in series such as the LMP2 and GTE-Am classes of the FIA World Endurance Championship, European Le Mans Series, most GT3 championships and major stand-alone endurance races.
New Zealand has five Platinum rated drivers with a sixth in waiting. Formula 1 racer and Le Mans winner Brendon Hartley, Indycar champ Scott Dixon, Porsche factory driver Earl Bamber, former Supercars champ Shane van Gisbergen and Richie Stanaway are the Kiwi quintet with a 2019 Platinum rating.
By winning the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, Scott McLaughlin will automatically move from Gold to Platinum status.
The other Kiwi racers with Gold ratings are Japan-based star Nick Cassidy along with Craig Baird, Mitch and Simon Evans, Matt Halliday, Chris van der Drift and Bathurst winner Steven Richards.
Drivers with a prime opportunity to leverage a Silver rating for a place in international Pro-Am enduro squad are newly crowned Dunlop Super2 Series champion Chris Pither, Will Bamber, Supercars driver Andre Heimgartner, Daniel Gaunt, Dominic Storey and Jono Lester.
Some notable drivers don’t appear on the FIA list — one example is Fabian Coulthard — because they have not competed in an international GT race in recent years.
2019 FIA Driver Ratings / New Zealand drivers
Platinum: Earl Bamber; Scott Dixon; Brendon Hartley; Richie Stanaway; Shane van Gisbergen.
Gold: Craig Baird; Nick Cassidy; Mitch Evans; Simon Evans; Matt Halliday; Scott McLaughlin; Steve Richards; Chris van der Drift.
Silver: Will Bamber; Nick Chester; Jaxon Evans; Daniel Gaunt; Andre Heimgartner; Jono Lester; John McIntyre; Richard Moore; Chris Pither; Paul Radisich; Jonny Reid; Glenn Smith; Graeme Smyth; Matt Whittaker; Dominic Storey; Shaun Varney; Andrew Waite; Roger Wills.
Bronze: Rick Armstrong; Andrew Bagnall; Kevin Bell; John de Veth; Andrew Fawcett; Sam Fillmore; Gene Rollinson.