Aspiring Supercars champion Peter Vodanovich is hopeful his Erebus Academy ties will pave a path towards a coveted seat in the main game.
Despite only boasting four years of experience behind the wheel, Vodanovich has established himself as one of New Zealand’s best up and coming talents with the 19-year-old primed to snare a maiden Toyota 86 Championship at home in September.
Surprisingly, the young Kiwi jibed away from the traditional karting route in his junior career, nurturing his talent in the realm of sim-racing before making a leap into cars.
Since then Vodanovich’s impressive speed, charismatic charm and versatility across a wide range of touring car machines include SsangYong Utes and BMW E30s has led to being taken under the wing of Supercars stalwart Paul ‘The Dude’ Morris.
The only driver to triumph the hallowed Mount Panorama Circuit in both the Six Hour, 12 Hour and 1000 endurance races, Morris has been instrumental in ushering young talent into the spotlight, most notably current Erebus star Anton de Pasquale.
Vodanovich admires Morris commitment in assisting young drivers spellbound by goals but often stifled by monetary issues.
“Paul Morris was a huge help in getting the connection to first Anton to help develop my driving, and then to Barry Ryan (Team Principal of Erebus Motorsport) to help build the pathway,” Vodanovich told Velocity News.
“The Dude is a big advocate in helping drivers that are putting in the work behind the scenes.
“Although I have not been able to train in person at Norwell (Morris’ training facility), we still catch up on the phone every so often to chat about what I’ve been doing to push towards my Supercars goal and how I’ve been developing as a driver.”
Vodanovich was slated to contest the delayed season-opening Super3 round in an Erebus-backed car at Sydney Motorsport Park earlier this month.
However, strict travel restrictions for international arrivals coming into Australia and the mandated managed-isolation period upon return to New Zealand have had those plans curbed.
Despite his travel predicament, Vodanovich is excited to continue his partnership with Erebus and eventually get around to training with the outfit in what he believes is a perfect base platform to launch a fully-fledged Supercars career off from.
“It’s really exciting that Barry and the Erebus Junior programme has been following my success in New Zealand.
“And if I can secure the Toyota 86 Championship that will look great on my resumé when I finally get to go racing with them.
“It’s definitely a positive step towards Supercars and if I prove myself, Erebus has a great pathway setup to get to the main game.”
Since the return of real-life racing in New Zealand, Vodanovich has been hard at work undergoing extensive testing at Hampton Downs in preparation for September’s Toyota 86 season finale.
The Kiwi holds a slender two-point lead over Australian rival Jaylyn Robotham who may well find himself behind the eight ball with a lack of any Trans-tasman travel bubble currently hindering Robotham’s plans with haphazard announcements by both governments adding further confusion to the already tangled mess.
Nevertheless, Vodanovich is riding high after a late flurry of race wins and podium finishes has primed him for the title victory with the potential opportunity to further his career with Erebus only serving to galvanize his ambitions.
Vodanovich will be in action at the Toyota 86 final which is scheduled to be held at Hampton Downs over September 4-6.