Reigning Rotax Light Superkart champion Zane Hills is eyeing titles at the forthcoming ProKart and North Island KartSport series’ before making the significant transition into race cars.
Hills was one of many young kiwi karters affected by the Covid-19 pandemic which saw the sport’s flagship event – the National KartSport Sprint championships – postponed amid domestic travel uncertainty.
The event is a prime opportunity for budding car racers to entice potential sponsorship deals to ensure the leap from karts to cars is less damanding.
Fortunately, as the virus slowly abates, Hills has been able to make a return to the kart track and has begun preparations for the upcoming North Island and ProKart series which are set to get underway over the coming months.
Having stood on the rostrum last time around in the popular ProKart series, the Auckland-based karter believes he finally now has the experience and confidence to challenge for an overall national title.
“My main goal for this year as Nationals has been cancelled due to Covid-19 would be finishing on the top step on the podium at North Islands and finishing on the podium at ProKart,” said Hills.
“I’m pretty confident on getting podiums at both ProKart and North Islands. I have been testing non-stop since we’ve been able to return to track.
“Last year was a big year for me winning – the Rotax Light Superkart Series title – [and] as big of an achievement it is, it was not easy and I believe that it had helped me a lot with boosting confidence and teaching myself how to cope under pressure.
“My training for big events consists of driving all around New Zealand for testing. My Team Urban Performance have been testing for ProKart including this weekend.
“I finished on the podium in the last round last year so I know that I can get up there this year and I’m confident that I’ll achieve these goals.”
As the associated costs and danger of motor racing increases for aspiring drivers, sim-racing is quickly becoming heralded as the new grassroots pathway towards a fully-fledged racing career.
An avid sim-racer, Hills has had the luxury of continuing his training from home and has spent large portions of the coronavirus-induced season break contesting in local and international iRacing competitions.
Hills has embraced KartSport New Zealand’s latest virtual club day initiative and has enjoyed strong results against vastly more experienced kiwi racers.
“Sim racing helps me out a lot, especially for testing for events.” He added. “I love that I work for a sim racing company (Rush Sim Racing). They helped me out a lot getting into iRacing and I’ve been enjoying racing the iKartsport Races. It was an awesome experience racing against Scott McLaughlin in last week’s event.”
Hills also confirmed he will be making the jump from karts to contest in the BMW Race Driver Series in a homebuilt E46.
“Going from karting I would like race in the Formula Ford series but that is unlikely at the moment due to budget. Instead I can say that I will be competing in the E46 BMW Series as my Dad and I are currently building the car and it will be completed in the coming months. I will also be trying out for the E30 Scholarship this year and possibly the Toyota 86 Scholarship.”
The second round of the NZ ProKart series is slated for August 8 from the Tokoroa Kart Club.
Images: Supplied by Zane Hills Motorsport