Academy sets young drivers up for motorsport career
Sat, 10 Jul 2010 6:37p.m.
By Dave Goosselink
Some of the country’s top young racing drivers are being put through their paces at an intensive motorsport academy in Dunedin.
Graduates read like a who’s who of New Zealand motorsport and include Shane Van Gisbergen, Brendon Hartley and Mitch Evans.
For the drivers, it’s about as real as racing simulators get – a motion reactive chair, electric shocks if you crash your car and a heat chamber cranked up to 42 degrees.
“They all respond very differently,” head technician Nigel Barrett says of the students.
“Some of them actually do better in the heat, some of them seem to respond very well to it.”
Nine emerging drivers are here for an intensive programme, aimed at setting them up for a career in motor racing.
Controlling a Porsche GT3 is a new experience for Stephen Barker, who has been rally driving since he was a teenager.
He says he prefers tracks in the great outdoors.
“I did a go kart round when I was younger and didn’t like the idea of having cars around me, so stuck to rallying where you’re on your own and it’s you against a clock.”
The week is about more than just car racing.
The school also tests the limit of the competitive lads, with challenges in fitness and mental endurance.
The young drivers are being given lessons in life skills – including learning to cook for themselves.
“We’ve learned from the likes of Scott Dixon and Brendon Hartley, you get overseas as a 16 or 17-year-old and you eat hamburgers for a month, because they don’t know what to get from a supermarket, so that’s part of it as well,” says Bob McMurray of the Motorsport NZ Scholarship Trust.
For circuit racer William Bamber, there is a family connection to the academy.
Brother Early Bamber, a former A1GP driver, graduated three years ago.
William is now keen to make his own name in the world of motorsports.
“Always been the dream and it’s why I live now and breathe it,” he says.
“So I’ve got the bug and you can’t let go. So I really want to make a career for myself and hopefully that happens.”
Going by the academy’s previous graduates, you can be sure this isn’t the last we have seen of these young drivers.
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14/07/2010 8:52:49 a.m.
David Harvey wrote:
The rig is a VisionRacer VR3 with D-DOX 3DOF motion (3 actuators) Its an NZ produced product now exported to 39 countries. It starts at NZ$1600 and the sky is the limit with headsensing and 3D. It's compatible with PC as seen, PS3 and soon X-Box.
12/07/2010 2:20:45 p.m.
Rfactor the sim they are using witch comes with the Logitech G25 racing wheel. the game is a demo but you can purchace it buy credit card.
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