Tuesday, Jun 11 03:06pm
AUTHOR: Simon Chapman

Peter Vodanovich joins Paul Morris Motorsports

Elite MotorSport Academy graduate Peter Vodanovich is set to see out the remainder of the Toyota 86 Racing Series with Paul Morris Motorsports.


The 18-year-old contested his maiden season in the Toyota 86 Championship in New Zealand and went to Australia for the opening round of their series at Phillip Island where he finished fifth overall.


Vodanovich will move from the Sieders Racing Team stable to the Paul Morris Motorsports group as he looks to further his future racing ambitions.


The move comes after Vodanovich visited Norwell Motorplex near the Gold Coast. Since then Morris has awarded Vodanovich with a scholarship for his academy program.


Vodanovich is one of several young New Zealanders who have recently been to the training facility, including Chelsea Herbert and Campbell Stewart.


Virgin Australia Supercars Championship winner Shane van Gisbergen has also been lending a hand recently, training some of the young New Zealanders who have made the trip overseas to the facility.


“It is an absolute honour to be joining the Paul Morris Racing Academy and to be invited to be one of the scholarship drivers,” Vodanovich said.


“I certainly wasn’t expecting that when I went there to get some training with Paul, but to be alongside guys like Shane van Gisbergen and Anton de Pasquale that go to the Academy regularly is something pretty neat.


“I really can’t wait until Townsville now to be part of Paul’s team and share data with the other three drivers. That is a huge part of it and Paul’s experience will be beneficial. Already training with Steve Robinson and the team at Norwell Motorplex, I feel as though my skills have sharpened.”


The Aucklander will join Declan Fraser and Luke Vanna at the team in the remaining rounds of the Toyota 86 Racing Series.


Vodanovich took an unconventional route to circuit racing through sim racing and then into 2KCUP and the SsangYong Racing Series. The Aucklander was recently presented with the Ian Snellgrove Award for winning the Elite Motorsport Academy by Motorsport New Zealand after his fourth placing in the Toyota 86 Championship this year.


Vodanovich will continue to be mentored by Todd Pelham who has been a part of his career since the beginning.


“I’m also pleased to have Todd Pelham along for the ride as well,” he said.


“He along with my family has been instrumental in my career to date and will continue to be part of our team, along with all our supporters that make the wheels turn.


“It’s been a great year so far winning the Elite Motorsport Academy in New Zealand and coming to Australia to race, this really adds to it.


“Fifth placed overall at Phillip Island and three top 10 finishes was an awesome way to kick the season off. We didn’t know what to expect coming to Australia other than a big field and some tough racing! It was certainly that and a lot more and from here we’ll aim to continue building on it.


“It’s only a month to Townsville, I’m certainly on the countdown and can’t wait to get there and keep this adventure rolling.”


Morris said he’s excited to bring Vodanovich on board and signalled his interest to get more young New Zealanders over at the facility to train.


“Peter represents the next generation of New Zealand racing talent coming through and I’m happy we can provide him this opportunity,” explained Morris.


“When he came to  see us, he impressed me with the way he presents himself and with such little time racing, he’s clearly got a good natural racing instinct.


“He was fifth overall at Phillip Island having not raced there before, which is pretty decent in a field of nearly 40 cars!


“We can see that Peter will improve with a bit more training and he’ll benefit from the Paul Morris Racing Academy.


“There’s a lot of great young kids racing other forms of production cars and the Toyota 86 Racing Series in NZ - and we’d love for them to come to the Paul Morris Racing Academy at Norwell Motorplex and train with us as well.”