Rising New Zealand touring car driver Samuel Dunstall has a career in Europe on his mind as he looks to emulate his racing icons Tom Blomqvist and Earl Bamber.
Heading into his third full BMW Race Driver Series campaign, Dunstall has already tasted victory on several occasions.
Now at 19 years of age, the Taupo racer says he is ready to hone his skills in New Zealand for a further two years before hoping to secure drive with a works factory squad in Europe.
“Touring cars is what I grew up around and what I always wanted to do,” said Dunstall. “I like the hard, door-to-door racing that the touring car platform offers.
“And with that, there is the allure of big factory endurance races like Le Mans or the Nürburgring Nordschleife which is my favourite circuit and a place I have always wanted to race at.
“People like [BMW works driver] Tom Blomqvist are like my heroes and who I want to follow in. I also really admire Earl Bamber and his work with Porsche and how he and his brother Will are now supporting Reid Harker and other young Kiwis.
“Asia and Super GT are also growing and I think there is a possible path there too.”
To achieve such a big feat, Dunstall will also be turning to his sim-racing talent to springboard himself onto the European stage.
Having started his motor racing journey entirely through sim-racing, Dunstall has since gone on to contest numerous online competitions. He competed in the inaugural Racing Local Eseries earlier this year where he went head-to-head with the likes of Brendon Hartley and Shane van Gisbergen.
Later this year, Dunstall will be qualifying for the official Porsche eSports SuperCup which boasts offering one of the world’s most elite online competitions.
Just 20 drivers qualify for the series, joining the top-20 from the previous season. The prize pool consists of a USD 200,000 and a trip to the official Porsche factory, something Dunstall has his eyes locked on.
“It will be incredible to win something like that and will help launch a career.
“With sim-racing, even if the physics are different from real-life, it is the seat time that is most valuable. It has taught me how to contest in on-track battles in the BMW series and how to keep my head cool in the longer endurance races.
“It will be interesting to see how it goes.”
Back on the circuit, Dunstall said his next step from the BMW series would be a move up to the Toyota 86 class.
“A move to 86s will be the next target. I think the class offers a lot. There is also Formula Ford which could be exciting but racing the 86s will be the goal.
“But my main focus for the rest of the season will be seeing out the full BMW two-litre series and both endurance races. I am pretty confident I can score a top-5 championship result.”
The BMW Race Driver Series completed its first round of the 2020/21 championship last month at Hampton Downs. The next meeting will be the OctoberFAST event in Manfeild over October 24-25.