Scholarship doubles its prize
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One of New Zealand’s leading motorsport scholarships is boosting its presence for 2018 — doubling its grand prize as part of a new expansion.
The CareVets Motorsport Scholarship is into its third year; pitting a group of young aspiring race drivers against one another in a day of on- and off-track challenges at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park.
In past years, one winner would have been selected based on performance, with Ryan Yardley, Jack Milligan, and Bramwell King all former scholarship recipients — each earning themselves a drive in the competitive Toyota 86 Championship and two going on to taste title success.
But this year CareVets will be offering two drives in the single-make category’s 2018-19 season.
“For two years in a row we’ve been able to provide a champion to the series, which is quite nice. We generally didn’t expect to be on that path,” said CareVets team principal Dr Keith Houston.
“For this coming season we’re going to have two cars available for two scholarships. That should encourage a lot more people to apply because there’s a higher chance of getting a seat.”
Entries to the scholarship close on April 16, and the event will take place on April 30 with the assistance of some of experts across multiple disciplines — as well as touring-car ace Greg Murphy.
“He [Murphy] is very good at determining race attitude as well as technical skills. From that point of view he will be quite an advantage to the scholarship. We’ve also got a good set team with lots of data to help people.”
Competition winners will also gain a berth in the upcoming Eneos North Island Endurance Series, which will function as pre-season seat time as the 86 series continues to foster a growing grid.
“These cars drive a lot differently than Formula First, Formula Ford, or Mazda Pro7. [Seat time] will get them to hone a few of their skills before they’re on track at Pukekohe Park for their first competition,” said Houston.
“I think the field this year will get up to 20 cars, which will make good ‘door handle to door handle’ racing.
“Last season wasn’t dominated — we had five or six different winners all the time and different podiums for everyone, because of the bigger fields.”
With former CareVets scholarship winner Milligan winning the 2017-18 title, the scholarship is beginning to form a reputation for harvesting talent.
“Ryan [Yardley] went from our scholarship to the Toyota Racing Series and later this year he’s going over to America. Jack [Milligan] has been offered multiple rides and extra work at Highlands Motorsport Park, plus he’s had an offer from Mike Racing.
“I think our scholarship gives the exposure to allow other people to make choices, and that’s proved by where they’ve moved on to.”