Four Years Overseas, One Disposable Camera At the age of 15 most Queensland teenagers are looking forward to getting their licence, aiming for state junior sporting teams, making the transition into senior high school or dating their first ...
Four Years Overseas, One Disposable Camera
At the age of 15 most Queensland teenagers are looking forward to getting their licence, aiming for state junior sporting teams, making the transition into senior high school or dating their first boyfriend or girlfriend.
Gold Coast teenager Josh Hunt was different, he was heading overseas in an effort to fulfill his dream of making a career out of motor racing.
This year his hard work and dedication is being rewarded with entry into the Toyota Atlantic Series in America.
With the valued support of Wright Patton Shakespeare, which is owned by Gold Coast businessman Craig Gore Hunt is making his presence felt in the extremely tough Championship.
Champ Car World Series Co-Owner and fellow Aussie Kevin Kalkhoven has also been a strong supporter of Hunt this year.
Over the past four years Hunt has traveled across some of the hottest tourist spots in the world including Germany, Italy, Austria, Monte Carlo, Canada, California, Pennsylvania, Florida and Las Vegas.
Throughout this time most tourists would have worn out a couple of still cameras and maybe even had to update their video camera taking in the memories of the world's MOST famous destinations.
At the other end of the scale Hunt has taken one roll of film on a disposable camera from when he was in Italy that were only developed last week, four years after they were taken.
"I'm here to do a job, this is where I live and the reason I am here is to race, I try not to consider myself as a tourist and take photos everywhere I go," said Hunt.
"Ben Horstman (fellow Australian karter racing overseas) taught me not to consider myself a tourist, think like I am a local rather than different to everyone anywhere I go."
"It is a harsh reality but is something you have got to do. If you can't do it maybe you should be doing something else."
Spending so much time away from family and friends the Gold Coast would have most teenagers homesick within a few months.
However for this Australian teenage motor racing prodigy the extended periods overseas represents the greatest progression for his racing career.
"I get asked if I ever get homesick a lot but the answer is actually no," said Hunt.
"I think that is because I have got a great family who has been so supportive of me and the goals that I have set myself.
It is this mind set that has helped Hunt develop into the mature 19-year-old that he is today.
"Josh has always been focused on making the next step in his career and his goals in life rather than partying or traveling the world as a tourist," said Josh's father Wayne.
"While we are a tight knit family it is the mature attitude that Josh showed in his first trip overseas, and continues to show, that makes us so comfortable having him over there.
"Being so far away from home you sometimes lose track of where he is, but you know he will be not far away from the team or a racetrack."
Hunt will be in action this weekend on the streets of Vancouver when he competes in the eighth round of the Toyota Atlantic Series around the 1.781 mile (2.866 km) temporary street circuit.
Practice begins on Friday July 23 at 9:15am followed by qualifying in the afternoon. A further practice and qualifying session will follow on Saturday with the 38-lap race on Sunday.
The time in Vancouver is 17 hours behind Australian Eastern Standard Time.
All Toyota Atlantic cars are manufactured by Swift Engineering and powered by a 1600cc Toyota engine 240 horsepower producing speeds in excess of 160 mph (260 kmh) while using a 15-inch diameter lightweight aluminium wheels mounted with Yokohama tyres.
Run in conjunction with the opening round of the Champ Car World Series, this is the 31st year of competition for the Toyota Atlantic Championship and is regarded as the premier training ground for the future stars of the sport.
Hunt is the first Australian to compete in the Toyota Atlantic Series since fellow Queenslander David Besnard in 1999 and has received major support from Wright Patton Shakespeare Financial Group, which is owned by Gold Coast businessman Craig Gore and Champ Car World Series Co-Owner and Aussie Kevin Kalkhoven.
A successful year in the Toyota Atlantic Championship will see Hunt make his Champ Car debut in the Lexmark Indy 300 on the streets of the Gold Coast on October 21-24.
The Toyota Atlantic race at Vancouver is the eighth of 12 rounds in the Championship. All 12 scheduled races this year will be run in conjunction with Champ Car World Series events on tracks that include road courses and ovals, as well as street and airport circuits with eight rounds in America, one in Mexico and three in Canada.