Multiple New Zealand junior karting champion, 15 year old Chris Vander Drift has today joined Team Kiwi Racing, the premier motorsport team in New Zealand. The opportunity Team Kiwi Racing has given Chris allows for a multi-year association. "We...
Multiple New Zealand junior karting champion, 15 year old Chris Vander Drift has today joined Team Kiwi Racing, the premier motorsport team in New Zealand. The opportunity Team Kiwi Racing has given Chris allows for a multi-year association. "We have been keeping a close watch on all New Zealand karters over the past year and Chris has displayed the right attitude both on and off the track", said David John, Team Kiwi owner. "He has shown a great deal of commitment and professionalism towards his karting this season and we have rewarded him with the unique opportunity to develop his motorsport career within our team", he added.
Chris was shortlisted at the end of 2000 for a place in the Team Kiwi Karting Academy but narrowly missed out due to his young age. "I was determined to show that I should have been on the Team Kiwi Racing team and could perform at the highest level", said Chris. "This year has been very successful, winning all four major junior titles in New Zealand" he added. In addition, Chris has competed successfully in the Australian Junior Intercontinental A Championship for the first time, consistently running near the top of the field.
Like many aspiring young Kiwi drivers before him, Chris was being forced to look offshore to advance his career aspirations until Team Kiwi Racing made this opportunity available to all young New Zealand motorsport talent. This will provide Chris and other talented drivers the opportunity to progress their motorsport careers to the highest level without having to leave New Zealand and/or base themselves overseas.
Team Kiwi has structured an intensive development program for Chris, introducing him to the Team Kiwi 2 ltr Touring Cars during 2001 in a testing role. This will give him valuable experience before he is given a competitive drive in one of the championship winning Team Kiwi 2 ltr Tourers. "Chris will work with the crew and the team, learning the ropes from all angles both on and off the track ", said Martin Collins, Team manager. "We are taking a long term view with Chris and want to develop him into an international level driver" he added.
Chris' ultimate dream of driving a 600bhp V8 Supercar is definitely in the long term plans of Team Kiwi, with a structured program mapping out the necessary skills and experience that he needs to develop to achieve this. For the remainder of 2001 Chris will continue to compete in the New Zealand Pro Series and Australian Junior Intercontinental A Championship. During 2002 Chris will contest a number of Senior karting classes within New Zealand and Australia, supplemented with his support and promotional commitments to Team Kiwi and of course, his schoolwork.
Team Kiwi has enjoyed a highly successful 2001 season, claiming first and second places in the competitive New Zealand 2 ltr Touring Car Championship. The team has also campaigned their first season in the incredibly competitive Australian Shell V8 Supercar Series, turning in a number of very credible performances with Team Kiwi V8 Supercar drivers Jason Richards and Angus Fogg.