Kiwi rally ace Hayden Paddon admits he has not ruled out a part-time return to circuit racing with plans afoot to have the 33-year-old co-drive the Paddon Rallysport-prepared Hyundai i30 N TCR in the upcoming South Island Endurance Series.
The Highlands-based outfit secured a second-hand Hyundai TCR challenger late last year with intentions to contest the delayed NZ TCR championship.
However, with fresh rally plans, including the possibility of a much welcomed return to the World Rally Championship, the car has found its way onto the racing market.
But with the country beginning its process of riding out the financial aftershocks of the Covid-19 pandemic, Paddon has turned to alternative options to ensure the Hyundai TCR does hit the circuit for this year’s South Island Endurance Series.
“The car has been freshened and ready to race again,” Paddon told Velocity News.
“Its still on the market but we acknowledge its not a great time to be selling cars. So rather than it sitting here doing nothing, we are considering lease deals for endurance rounds or other race meetings around the country.
“[We are] very much open minded to how it could be utilised. Also will look at maybe co-driving someone myself if anyone did want to lease the car, so there are several options.”
Paddon recently fronted global rallying headlines with the unveiling of a purposal that would have the kiwi make a return to the WRC with a second Hyundai outfit.
Ultimately, the team’s rallying intentions has seen the TCR project shelved for now, but Paddon acknowledges the benefits of the platform and says he could never rule out a return to the circuit racing scene.
“No we haven’t had it out as have been too busy on our other projects,” Paddon said when asked about any testing done over the off-season.
“[But I] still think the TCR is a great concept and championship for young drivers who want a pathway forward internationally.
“It is too early to say what we will do going forward as obviously many things have changed in the last months. Our team will be able to support any Hyundai along with other car makes in any championship.”
Paddon had a short stint in the car at Highlands Park earlier in the year during the Rush Hour endurance event.
The opening round of the South Island Endurance Series is slated for September 12 from Teretonga Park.
2020 SIERDC calendar:
|1||Teretonga Park||Sept 12|
|2||Mike Pero Motorsport Park||Oct 3|
|3||Levels Raceway||Oct 17|