Motorsport competitors keen to further their career aspirations by being selected to participate in the New Zealand Elite Motorsport Academy have until 17 March to submit their applications for the 2017 intake.
The Elite Motorsport Academy is managed by the MotorSport New Zealand Scholarship Trust and run by world-class tutors from Academy of Sport South Island and the University of Otago’s School of Physical Education’s Human Performance Centre. The year-long programme for eight participants commences with a ‘camp’ in Dunedin in July each year where the participants learn a wide array of skills and techniques to aid their mental and physical fitness as a motorsport competitor, as well as the sponsorship and marketing, nutrition and media skills needed to succeed in the sport.
The Academy first ran in 2004 with race drivers Nelson Hartley, Christina Orr, Chris Pither and Tim Edgell among the selected participants that year. Many Academy graduates have forged successful international careers such as Shane van Gisbergen, Brendon Hartley, Hayden Paddon, Earl Bamber and Mitch Evans.
The 2016 class of Academy participants – Jaxon Evans (Australian Porsche GT3), Connor Adam (Toyota 86), Alexandra Whitley (SsangYong Ute), Michael McLean (rally), Brock Cooley (NZ Touring Cars), Kieran Anstis (rally), Jacob Smith (Toyota 86) and Hunter McElrea (Australian Formula Ford) – have about two months to complete the on-going tasks and projects set for them at the camp and by the service providers each choose to work with to develop key areas of their performance as a competitor. Results from the camp week are assessed with this task work for participants to amass points, the top Academy participant from each year winning the Ian Snellgrove trophy which is presented at the MotorSport New Zealand awards night in May this year.
Wayne Christie, President of MotorSport New Zealand and a trustee of the Scholarship Trust, says: “It’s fantastic seeing the current and many past Elite Motorsport Academy drivers in action during the summer’s Premier Race Championship events. There are quite a few Academy graduates in several classes and it’s great to witness their growth and progression as race drivers, progress which is unlikely to have been as quick or strong if it wasn’t for the experience and skills they gained through the Elite Motorsport Academy programme.”
Fellow trustee David Turner adds: “There are many impressive values that we see from all Academy graduates, skills and tools they learn doing their time in camp in Otago and across the following year. There’s a fantastic level of friendship shared which also stands them in good stead in the world of motorsport. It’s of great pleasure to us, as trustees, to see these friendships and value, regardless of the winning of races – it’s the connections that are formed which speak to the Academy and its core values.”
Turner suggests competitors who have applied in the past may wish to consider applying again. “It’s important that you do not feel like you cannot apply again, because you can and should. Also it’s important to note that there is no upper age limit for applicants.”
Applications close at 5pm on 17 March. The application form is available on the Academy page of MotorSport New Zealand’s website, www.motorsport.org.nz.
“We urge prospective applicants to take the time to look at the Academy information on the website and see what it has to offer,” Turner says. “Speak to others who have attended and listen to all they got from it – how can it benefit you as well? One only has look back at the earlier graduates and see the levels many of them have attained in our domestic motorsport series and around the world.”