KartSport New Zealand’s premier competition, the KartStars series, roars into life at the City of Sails meeting in Auckland this weekend.
It has attracted nearly 200 karters from six years to over 60, from Whangarei to Invercargill, racing in nine categories.
KartStars series is the key competition for emerging and proven talent that incorporates some of the biggest events throughout the season.
As recognition of the key role that karting plays in the development of emerging motorsport talent in this country, the series will be sponsored by Hampton Downs through the Tony Quinn Foundation and the Hampton Downs NZ Racing Academy (HDNZRA) will offer places in its acclaimed programme for series winners.
HDNZRA is a pathway programme into major circuit racing opportunities while the individual events within the series also offer opportunities to major international karting championships in Europe.
KartStars Series organiser, Regan Hall said they are delighted to be supported by the Tony Quinn Foundation and the Hampton Downs NZ Racing Academy programme.
“It is recognition of the role that karting plays. Of course, most of our karters are solely focussed on karting for their competition and enjoyment, while we know what many of our motor racing stars, like Liam Lawson, who is competing this weekend, got their start in karting,” said Regan Hall.
“Many of them get back into karts when they can. For some it is invaluable race time and also pure enjoyment.
“Some of karting’s best young drivers have already gone through the Hampton Downs NZ Racing Academy and now moving into other categories and professional opportunities around the world.”
The KartStars Series, sponsored by Hampton Downs NZ Racing Academy is:
- Round 1: 28/29 January 2023: Spa Pool & Maintenance City of Sails: Auckland (www.kartsport.org.nz/EVENTS-3/city-of-sails-2day-challenge-auckland)
- Round 2: 11/12 February 2023: CIK Trophy of New Zealand: Hamilton
- Round 3: 18/19 March 2023: Harvest Marlborough
- Round 4: 7/9 April 2023: National Sprint Champs: Manawatu
- Round 5: 20/21 May 2023: Sulphur City – Grand Finale: Rotorua
Lawson among big numbers for City of Sails karting season opener
Record numbers of close to 200 karters, including star Red Bull Junior Driver Liam Lawson, will open the throttle on a new season at the City of Sails meet in Auckland.
The two-day Pool & Spa Maintenance sponsored event is the opening round of the five-stop KartStars Series which is the premier KartSport New Zealand competition.
The Series, backed by Tony Quinn Foundation and the Hampton Downs NZ Racing Academy, began last January at the Giltrap Group Raceway at Rosebank Reserve, amid the height of Covid restrictions, but will welcome fans back to watch the considerable talent on display.
Lawson will use the opening two rounds in Auckland and Hamilton to hone his on-track skills before he heads back to Europe for the new season that includes a new venture into the Japanese Super Formula on top of his other Red Bull driving duties.
Lawson will drive for the Matt Kinsman’s Sodi Kart operation, with the multi-national champion stepping away from racing to focus on his karting supplies and engine business.
There are 24 entries in the glamour KZ2 class including last year’s winner Daniel Bray, Mt Wellington clubmates Nathan Crang and Joshua Parkinson. There’s interest in the rise of last year’s Rotax Max Junior winner Sebastian Manson on his home track, former national schools champion Jay Urwin from the Tokoroa club and the experienced Jason Lee.
There is also interest from over the Tasman with Jay Murray keen to make his mark while most eyes will be on Lawson.
Taranaki’s Jayden Buttimore, third at the national championship, heads the 22 starters in Cadet Rok spread from Auckland to Canterbury, with the talented Iver Spence making the trek north from Christchurch.
There’s plenty of competition in the 125cc Rotax Max Junior class which has attracted 34 starters including national champion Kiahn Burt (Manawatu), North Island champion Ashton Phipps (Manawatu) and South Island champion Arthur Brougham (Marlborough). Watch too for last year’s Vortex Mini Rok winner Marco Manson (Auckland), who impressed at the Rok Cup Superfinal in Italy, and one of last season’s major performers, Miles Baker (Hamilton).
They will need to be on form with Australian Joel Lammers from Coffs Harbour venturing to New Zealand, after winning the NSW and ACT Rotax Pro Tour titles last year.
There are also 34 entries for the Vortex Mini Rok led by national champion Zach Tucker, who contested the Rok Cup in Italy late last year, and NZ3 plate of Auckland’s Cooper Insley, last year’s Cadet Rok winner Zach Hemphill (Auckland) with karters entered from Dunedin to Whangarei.
The Vortex ROK DVS Junior has only 13 starters but includes some hot talent with North Island champion Phipps doubling up from Rotax Max Junior and Top Half winner Jack Amon (Taranaki)
The Rotax Max Light has drawn 26 starters led by South Island champion Caleb Cross (Canterbury) and last year’s winner Ryan Crombie (Auckland).
Vortex Rok DVS Senior has a small number but includes last year’s standout Ayrton Williams and karting royalty in the form of multi-racing star Chris van der Drift (Hamilton) and Aaron Cunningham (Mt Wellington), a surname synonymous with the sport for many years.
Last year’s winner Darren Walker (Tokoroa club) heads the 125cc Rotax Max Heavy along with local club talent Aaron Tahu, while Walker doubles up to defend his honours from last year in the Rotax DD2, up against the likes of Josh Bethune (Tokoroa) and Hamilton’s Louise Rawson.
The two-day event comprises qualifying, three heats, a pre-final and final for each class. Qualifying and two heats will run on Saturday from 10am, with the final heat, pre-final and final on Sunday from 9.10am.