Chris Van Der Drift has launched a new driving programme aimed at taking Kiwi karting drivers to Europe to race.
Van Der Drift has expanded his Veloce Karting operation to include the new Veloce Karting Academy, which will head to Europe in July.
Carson Daly (12), Braxton Kraayvanger (10), Ayrton Williams (16) and Vin Schelp (14) will make up the Veloce Karting Acadamy team.
“It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time and with the borders now open to Kiwi racers going to and from other racing countries it was time to make the dream a reality,” said Van Der Drift.
“The karting scene in Europe was so influential in my own motorsport career and it will be great to be able to take some of the best young talent in the country away to compete and make their own mark as I was lucky enough to be able to do. This is the first trip to Europe for the Academy drivers but we are planning more now international travel is viable again.”
The group will start their European trip by competing in the GK4 Kart Series as part of the Belgian/Dutch Kart Championship before competing in the IAME Euro Series at the Castelletto Circuit in Italy.
Each class could have several hundred drivers at each event, putting the Kiwi drivers to the test, while helping to develop their skills.
“That’s the point really,” added Van Der Drift.
“Karting is super competitive in NZ but this is next level in terms of the overall quantity and quality of the opposition. I certainly believe each karter we take will make great strides forward on their journey as a racing driver, plus it will be a lot of fun.”
Each driver heading to Europe will use a factory racing kart from Falcon, with two Parilla engines, racing under the PDB Racing Team banner.
All four academy drivers will get a mechanic, while Van Der Drift will spend time mentoring each driver.
When not behind the wheel, they will have the opportunity to look at data acquisition and interpretation, while there will also be opportunities for testing.
“These young drivers and those that follow in their footsteps on later trips will get to experience the next level of competition by travelling to Europe and competing on the world stage,” added Van Der Drift.
“The whole experience is designed in conjunction with my European partners to give our drivers the best possible opportunity to learn and flourish as young racing drivers. I believe it’s entirely possible that with the right connections, equipment and competition they can make a big step in their racing careers. That’s what we are all aiming for.”