Motor racing star Liam Lawson will trade his exhibition laps in the Red Bull Racing F1 car around Bathurst last week, to hop back into his Sodi Kart for the CIK Trophy of New Zealand event at KartSport Hamilton this weekend.
The two-day event, sponsored by APL Windows Solutions at the spectacular Porter Group Park, is the second round of the five-stop Hampton Downs NZ Racing Academy KartStars Series, the premier KartSport New Zealand national series.
There’s plenty at stake with CIK Trophy events for Vortex ROK DVS, Vortex ROK DVS Junior &KZ2 classes, while Cadet ROK, Vortex Mini ROK, Rotax Max Junior, Rotax Light and Heavy and Rotax DD2 compete for the Challenge Cup.
Lawson will compete in his final kart racing stint in New Zealand 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 Racing reserve driving duties.
He will carry the KartStars leader’s plate after topping the opening round in Auckland in the KZ2 category, where he finished ahead or Auckland’s Graeme Smyth and local Hamilton karter Mitchell Sparrow.
Watch too for established international stars Daniel Bray and Nathan Crang, while 14-year-old Jay Urwin impressed in his first competitive outing in the premier class, with ambitious plans to compete in Australia and USA this year.
With so much at stake there is no surprises that Vortex Mini ROK has drawn 40 starters, triggering an oversubscribed field format for the first time in nearly two decades, with outstanding young Christchurch karter, Zach Tucker dominant in Auckland ahead of Seth Comer (Auckland) and fellow Cantabrian Henry Fisher.
There are 36 starters in Rotax Max Junior where Mt Wellington’s Ashton Phipps carries the leader’s plate ahead of Manawatu’s National champion Kiahn Burt and Auckland’s Raymond Mallin.
Mallin, doubling up again in Vortex ROK DVS Junior, is the KartStars leader ahead of Taranaki’s Jack Amon and Canterbury’s Isaak Fletcher, while DVS Senior is led by last year’s CIK Trophy winner Ayrton Williams (Auckland) from Tokoroa’s Mason Armstrong.
In other classes Darren Walker (Tokoroa) has the leader plate in Rotax Max Heavy, while there is open competition in Rotax Max Light, with Hawkes Bay’s Tom Bewley returning from his Toyota 86 Series tarseal racing duties.
Canterbury’s Iver Spence impressed to claim the leader’s plate in a 20-strong field in Cadet ROK from Hamilton’s Charles Taylor and Wellington’s Levi Trotter, while Challenge Cup favourite in DD2 goes with Hampton Downs NZ Racing Academy Kartstars leader Josh Bethune from the Tokoroa club.
The two-day event comprises qualifying in the morning and heats in the afternoon on Saturday, with heat, pre-final and final on Sunday from 9.40am.