A winning mentality is what has got James Penrose to where he is but even he admits his Formula Regional Oceania campaign will be yet another step up.
He’ll be in action for Kiwi Motorsport this weekend as the Super Sprint Motorsport New Zealand Championship gets underway at Highlands Motorsport Park.
Penrose is being supported by Castrol in the series off the back of a competition he won in 2021 to race as their brand ambassador in the 2022 New Zealand Grand Prix.
The cancellation of that event has meant Penrose has had plenty of time to prepare for the series.
“I tested in a Formula Renault to become familiar driving cars with high downforce,” Penrose said to Velocity News when asked how he’s prepared for the season.
“Formula Renault is not identical to the FT-60, but I’ve gained valuable experience at the South Island tracks.”
The 27-year-old remains coy about his chances stepping up to Formula Regional but is prepared to put in the hard yards to quickly get up to speed.
“I would love to be battling up the front, however, I know the series will be incredibly competitive,” he said.
“My main focus will be to learn the car and extract speed out of myself. I hope my pace is strong enough to compete with the front runners.
“I want to test my skill set against the best Kiwi and international upcoming drivers in New Zealand’s premier single-seater championship.”
Not backing the South Island Endurance Series race winner to do well this season would be misguided, the Cantabrian proving time and time again he is a battler with the ability to succeed.
He’s claimed the New Zealand and South Island Formula Ford titles in his short career as well as achieving varying levels of success in karting and the South Island Endurance Series.
His national Formula Ford title won him an overseas trip to compete in two international festivals where he showed grit and determination to make the final in both.
“My UK trip was an incredible experience,” he said.
“The racing was fierce, and I took a lot of race craft away from both events.
“We did a lot of wet weather driving over there, which will hopefully help my campaign this year if we find ourselves in similar conditions.”
He also won Castrol’s Brand Ambassador competition for the seat which he says is whats allowed him to compete, as well as strong support from personal sponsors and his father.
“It’s been a long road to get here, and I will be giving it everything I’ve got,” he said.