Liam Sceats is confident he can challenge for this season’s national Formula Ford title in only his second year racing single-seaters.
Like so many young drivers, Sceats’ first experience on a race track was in a kart.
Karting since he was six years old, Sceats managed to win North Island regional titles and represent New Zealand overseas before graduating to Formula Ford last season.
He competed in the North Island and national Formula Ford championships, eventually finishing eighth in the New Zealand series.
“Last year there was a lot for me to learn,” Sceats told Velocity News.
“Formula Ford was a massive step up from karts, with gear shifting and the way the car handles.
“It was a year of learning, and I wasn’t too fussed with results.
“But I have progressed a lot and I hope this year will be better.”
Sceats was mentored by three-time New Zealand Grand Prix winner Ken Smith for his first Formula Ford season.
This year, he moves into the car of last season’s national runner-up Matthew McCutcheon.
Robert van Gisbergen, or ‘Cheese’ as he is colloquially known, will guide Sceats across the coming season.
That, Sceats says, will be a massive help in pushing him towards achieving his goal this summer.
“The main goal is to win the New Zealand and North Island championships,” Sceats said.
“But if we don’t achieve that, then the minimum is a podium finish in the championship.
“I’m confident we can do that.
“It is going to be about taking the year one weekend at a time.
“The key to doing well is to get closer with the team and build a good relationship with them.”
In June, Sceats was invited to the Elite Motorsport Academy of New Zealand camp held in Dunedin.
The Aucklander joined up with a handful of other young talented racers at the camp. Together, they learnt the ins and outs of successful racing away from the race track.
They were taught about data analysis, nutrition and fitness, and pre-race weekend preparation.
“[The Academy] was a great experience. It was challenging at times but was heaps of fun,” he said.
“It taught me about aspects outside of driving. I never realised how important all the things were in the build-up to race day.
“So, I will be taking the week leading into a race weekend a lot more seriously now.”
This year, Sceats will be competing in the North Island championship and the two-round New Zealand series.
The national Formula Ford champion will be decided over eight races at two ‘super rounds’ – one at Highlands and the other in Taupo.
Sceats’ ultimate aim is to one day race in the Toyota Racing Series. But for now, his focus is on his doing his best in Formula Ford.
“I’d love to do TRS one day. That has always appealed to me.
“Maybe we could do it next year or the year after. But we’ll see.”