Invercargill-based S5000 racer Jordan Michels has been forced out of this year’s championship due to travel restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The lack of any ‘travel bubble’ between New Zealand and Australia means Michels would have to temporarily move across the ditch for the entirety of the season and serve 14-days of managed-isolation upon his arrival.
The 2019 New Zealand National Formula Ford Champion was set to make his debut in the series with 88Racing at Albert Park back in March as a support category for the Australian Grand Prix.
But after a sole day of practice and qualifying, where the Kiwi claimed 12th alongside 11-time Grand Prix winner Rubens Barrichello, the event was cancelled, sending Michels home yet having made his race debut.
Consequently, as the global pandemic sentenced New Zealand and Australia into lockdown, and with neither nation yet to firm up its border restrictions, Michels has decided to forfeit his 2020 seat.
“It’s a real shame but it’s a difficult time for everyone at the moment and, while the border situation exists, it’s sort-of doable, but the logistics and cost really do work against it,” said Michels.
“I’m still very much committed to racing S5000 and will be working to get back when the circumstances allow.”
It is not entirely sour news for the Kiwi, however, with Team 88Racing owner Albert Callegher saying the youngster still has a role within the team and is expected to ink a deal confirming a drive in 2021.
“The required isolation periods and inability to commute has made the whole thing impractical for now,” said Callegher.
“Jordan has been doing a great job for us, so we’re hopeful of having an entry for him early in 2021, at something like the AGP (if S5000 races there), where the team is expected to run two cars.
“The AGP cancellation was a blow but since then we’ve been able to run at Winton, and the car has evolved well in performance terms.”
A six-round S5000 calendar was unveiled earlier in the year with the season set to kick off from Sydney Motorsport Park on August 15-16 and will run into late January of 2021.