Cormac Buchanan is living out a ‘surreal’ dream racing in the Red Bull Rookies Cup, and he is ready to continue developing into a future world champion.
At 14-years-old, Buchanan isn’t even old enough to have a New Zealand motorbike license.
Yet, this year, the multiple national title holder is racing against the world’s top junior talents in the coveted Red Bull Rookies Cup.
The one-make series is the first real step towards a ride in MotoGP, and riders must be selected from a trial process to be eligible to compete.
Buchanan is the first New Zealander to race in the Rookies Cup and has already completed his first two rounds at Portimao and Jerez.
His best finish to date is 18th at Jerez, a circuit he had never visited before.
Catching up with Velocity News, Buchanan says he is consistently in awe with how ‘crazy’ his new career looks.
“When I first arrived in Europe for the start of the Rookies Cup I wasn’t too nervous,” he said.
“But when I hit the track for the first time in Portugal, that was when the butterflies kicked in.
“Everything is so different over here than what I was used to back in New Zealand.
“It is a crazy experience having guys like [Marc] Marquez and [Valentino] Rossi riding down the pitlane right in front of you.
“Rossi will also always give you a wave when he comes down pitlane, which is really cool.
“To be here, in the Rookies Cup, racing against the best in the world is so surreal.”
Buchanan’s dream is to become New Zealand’s first MotoGP world champion.
He says to accomplish that ambition, he must absorb everything taught to him this first season.
“The main thing I want to come away with this year is to get better and faster as a rider.
“I want to be able to come back to New Zealand and be ten times the rider I was when I left.
“The level of competition here is so high that even after just two rounds, I am already getting better with my riding.
“Those Spanish guys are just so fast. I have no idea how they do it. But I am learning a lot from racing against them.
“By the end of the Rookies Cup season, I would like to be in the midfield and challenging for points.
“And, ultimately, I want to be called back for a second season and do it all again.”
Alongside his Rookies Cup schedule, Buchanan will be competing in the British Talent Cup.
He recently partook in a pre-season test at Snetterton, posting the third quickest lap time on his debut outing.
He admits the level of competition between the Rookies Cup and the Talent Cup are significantly different but says the increased seat time will further improve him as a rider.
“You are not allowed to just do the Rookies Cup. You also have to do something else,” he said.
“So, we chose to do the British Talent Cup, which will keep me busy between the Red Bull rounds and give me more track time.
“Testing went well. I was not expecting much coming into it, and we end up third overall.
“The bikes in the Talent Cup are slightly different to the Rookies Cup bikes, so that was also something to get used to.
“Talent Cup bikes are not as fast, and they are Honda bikes, whereas we ride KTMs in the Rookies Cup.
“But judging by testing – and it is only testing – I would like to be up the front this season in the Talent Cup and hopefully winning some races.”
Buchanan is still currently in the UK but will head to Italy later this month for the third round of the Rookies Cup at Mugello on May 29.