Eighteen-year-old Ayrton Hodson will campaign a Porsche 991.1 in the upcoming season of the GT New Zealand Championship, which gets underway at Taupo in November.
The Project Manager from Katikati in the Bay of Plenty is stepping up from a season in the Toyota 86 Championship and transitioning into GT racing, having already completed some running in the Golden Homes North Island Endurance Series and South Island Endurance Series this year. With some testing under his belt, he is happy with his progress so far.
“The transition has been really good. We did a lot more testing before racing came around compared to the Toyota 86, so come Round One of SIERDC we already knew what to do with the car setup, and I was a lot more in tune with the car for the first race in Ruapuna which was my first visit to the Christchurch track,” said Hodson.
Double duty in SIERDC hasn’t hurt him, with Ayrton and Brett Sullivan provisionally securing the NZ Endurance Class 4 Title in a BMW Z4, having also won the overall Class 4 & 5 1-hour North Island Endurance Series title.
With a season of Toyota 86 under his belt, Hodson’s main racing experience has come from the speedway circuit.
“I raced Mini Stocks for about 4 seasons, Wingless Sprint Cars for a season, and I’m heading into my 2nd season in the Winged Sprint Cars.”
With the aim of entering the Earl Bamber Motorsport / Team NZ Porsche Scholarship, Hodson is hoping that extra miles aboard his Porsche in the GT New Zealand Championship will put him in good stead for the scholarship.
“If I’m the successful applicant of the EBM/ Team NZ Porsche Scholarship, we will use the GT New Zealand Championship as a development programme for Australia, going by their instructions.”
“I’ll definitely try to win some races and possibly the championship, the handicap will help us, but with a Gen 1 991 against all the 992s, it’ll be pretty tough. We’ve managed pretty well in the first two rounds of SIERDC against a number of 992s, so it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out.”
The 2023/24 GT New Zealand Championship will consist of a five-round series over five months commencing November 17-19 at Taupo Motorsport Park in Taupo.
This will be followed by the second round at Manfeild on 26-28 January 2024 before heading to Ruapuna on 9-11 February. This is followed a week later with the New Zealand Grand Prix at Highlands on February 16-18.
The final round will be at Hampton Downs on March 15-17.
Each round of the Summerset GT New Zealand Championship will feature two 30-minute races along with one 60-minute race with a compulsory pit stop. There will be the option of one or two drivers per car, with the 60-minute race also worth extra points.