Lochiel McGregor has been selected to join a global FIA karting series. McGregor is one of 51 drivers from around the world to be selected for the FIA Karting Academy Trophy a three-round series that has seen Charles LeClerc, Esteban Ocon and George Russell competing in the past.
The teenager is the third New Zealander to be selected for the series after Jacob Douglas raced in 2019 and Louis Sharp in 2020.
The three-rounds will be held in May, June, and September, in Europe.
The series sees competitors 12-14 years old racing one-design karts, which are drawn at random, with engines also swapped at random between races, to ensure the focus is driver talent.
“It’s an incredible opportunity and we had some nervous nights waiting for the selection,” said McGregor’s father Denver McGregor.
“Once the selection was confirmed, it was a mad dash to complete the paperwork and start the preparation to get to Europe.
“New Zealand haven’t been able to enter for the past two years due to Covid and this is Lochy’s last year of eligibility. We are so excited to get this opportunity to put Lochy on an even playing field. We know he has the skills, focus and drive to be successful, he just needs opportunities like this to show that. Fortunately, he is familiar with the Academy engine as it is identical to the Vortex ROK DVSJ engine we race in New Zealand.”
The family has little time to put together the $80,000 budget for travel, costs for a mechanic and management support.
“That’s the huge job ahead. We will be actively searching for sponsorship to bring this dream to life. Our heads are spinning a bit now to get things in place in a short time.”
Since starting in karts five years ago McGregor has quickly moved through the ranks, winning multiple events including taking part in this year’s WPKA Goldstar series in the North Island, where he won the Grand Prix in Wellington, currently sitting first equal in the overall points standings with one round remaining.
The family are hoping to compete in the remaining round of the development series in Hawkes Bay and the WPKA Championships in Manawatu which fall between the European racing dates.
“The plan is to go over each time. We can’t commit to stay in Europe for the whole time, so will come back home for school and compete here if we can to keep him race-tuned.
“We know this is an amazing honour and an incredible life experience and opportunity for Lochy to enjoy – and our only opportunity to potentially put him in front of the right people for him to get to the places he wants to be. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and now we need to make it happen.”
Main image: Vicky Jack