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Sunday, 21 October 2018 18:02

Analysis: Kiwis take flight

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With two New Zealanders set to do battle for the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship as we approach the ITM Auckland SuperSprint, we look at the reasons why Kiwis are dominating the Australian-based series in SupercarXtra Magazine issue #107.

CLICK HERE for more information on SupercarXtra Magazine issue #107.

For a country with a population of less than five million people, New Zealand has made a remarkable contribution to motorsport with competitive entrants across the globe.

This is also evident in Australia, where Scott McLaughlin and Shane van Gisbergen are competing for the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, Fabian Coulthard, Richie Stanaway and Andre Heimgartner have competitive full-time drives and Earl Bamber and Chris Pither joined the grid for the endurance events.

Their current success in Supercars can be traced to the inclusion of a championship round at Pukekohe Park Raceway in New Zealand from 2001.

The likes of McLaughlin and van Gisbergen grew up watching and idolising Greg Murphy winning on home soil and at Bathurst, inspiring them to race in Australia.

“You’ve got to have the right people and the right support around you to make sure all your skills are tuned and that you’re able to extract them to the absolute maximum,” says Murphy.

“That’s what we’ve got at the moment, which for all the Kiwis fans back in New Zealand watching and for the likes of me it’s great and is fantastic for our motorsport culture.”

New Zealand’s motorsport culture is strong thanks to a large number of circuits, strong domestic categories that run over the southern hemisphere summer, with European drivers racing in them, and, as Murphy states, benefactors willing to back young drivers.

“I think it sort of comes back to the fact that we are a small nation and there is a strong desire to succeed here,” says MotorSport New Zealand CEO Brian Budd.

“I guess we like to beat Aussies but that’s beside the point. We definitely punch above our weight internationally in a whole range of sports and activities and motorsport is one of those.

“A lot of young guys, particularly ones that are on farms, are driving vehicles at a young age.

“We’ve got a very strong karting scene and most major towns and cities have a kart club and a kart track.

“We’ve got a lot of circuits for the size of the population, eight permanent-licence circuits for four and a half million people.

“If you look at Sydney you’ve got one or two. There’s a chance that a lot of young guys will do a heck of a lot more racing because it’s not a big thing to travel the length and breadth of the country to do events.”

It took a New Zealander 25 years to win the Australian Touring Car Championship courtesy of Jim Richards in 1985. He set the path for New Zealanders to follow in Australian touring cars.

Now, with the current level of talent coming out of New Zealand and the likes of McLaughlin and van Gisbergen at their peak, we could be in a spell of Kiwi domination in Supercars.

CLICK HERE to purchase issue #107 within Australia to read the full feature.

CLICK HERE to purchase issue #107 within New Zealand to read the full feature.

CLICK HERE to purchase issue #107 for the rest of the world to read the full feature.

CLICK HERE to find where to purchase issue #107 at your nearest store to read the full feature.

CLICK HERE to purchase the digital edition of issue #107 to read the full feature.

 

calendar-banner

Event Date
Superloop Adelaide 500 February 20-23
Melbourne 400 March 12-15
Tyrepower Tasmania Super400  April 3-5
ITM Auckland Super400 April 24-26
PIRTEK Perth SuperNight May 15-17
Truck Assist Winton Super400 June 5-7
Watpac Townsville 400 June 26-28
BetEasy Darwin Triple Crown July 17-19
Sydney SuperNight August 28-30
OTR The Bend 500 September 18-20
Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 October 8-11
Vodafone Gold Coast 600 Oct. 30-Nov. 1
Penrite Oil Sandown Super400  November 20-22
Coates Hire Newcastle 500 December 4-6
   
   

 

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1. Scott McLaughlin
288  
2. Jamie Whincup
261 -27
3. Chaz Mostert
234 -54
4. Cameron Waters
231 -57
5. Will Davison
231 -57
6. David Reynolds
210 -78
7. Lee Holdsworth
171 -117
8. Mark Winterbottom
162 -126
9. Fabian Coulthard
162 -126
10. Rick Kelly
150 -138

Full championship standings