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Neuroscientist to work with three leading racers


Media Release

Friday 22 February 2008
 

Neuroscientist to work with three leading Kiwi race drivers

Three leading New Zealand race drivers have won MotorSport New Zealand President’s Scholarships to work with New Zealander, Dr Kerry Spackman, one of the world’s leading neuroscientists.

Taupo’s Jono Lester, Melbourne-based Jason Richards and Aucklander Jonny Reid have been awarded the prestigious scholarships which provide free one-on-one consultation and mentoring services with Dr Spackman.

“This is the third year The MotorSport New Zealand Scholarship Trust have sought Dr Spackman’s services with the aim of providing the very best support for the country’s leading or up-and-coming drivers,” President Steven Kennedy said. “Everyone who has worked with him has reported significant benefits from his advice and guidance.

“Initially trained at Waikato University, he has become a world leader in his field, working with Formula One drivers and other elite athletes in sports where often the difference between winning and losing is attitude and mental skills. He is now returning to reside in New Zealand and this offers a wonderful opportunity for more sports people here to benefit from his considerable knowledge.”


A1GP driver Jonny Reid, currently leading that championship for New Zealand, is the first driver to have been selected for a scholarship two years in a row. “I am excited by the opportunity this offers me,” he said.

“The time I had with Kerry last year was really valuable in helping my mental preparation. Motorsport is a mental sport and your frame of mind is most important. He taught me some useful techniques and I can feel the benefits this season.

“The opportunity to have another year with an extended series of consultations will be tremendous. Any advantage I can get is critical.”

V8 Supercar driver Jason Richards is looking forward to linking up with Dr Spackman again. As a 16 year old Formula Ford driver he benefited from early research work Dr Spackman was doing on the driving styles of race drivers.

“I was in my first year of Formula Fords and Kerry did a lot of analysis with Peter Brock, Steve Millen and others. From analysing their styles in a specially set up road car he developed ideas on a composite style and then gave me some useful advice.

“He taught me some fundamentals. I had always wanted to do more serious work with him. He is one of only two people I am aware of around the world who can actually coach racing drivers. We are all looking for an edge and this scholarship is a really exciting opportunity. “

For 18 year old Jono Lester working with Dr Spackman will be a new experience but one the young Porsche GT3 racer is eagerly anticipating.

 

“I am excited and honoured to be accepted into the programme and look forward to learning everything I can from him,” he said.

 

Kerry Spackman said he was very impressed with the programme instituted by MotorSport New Zealand. “All the candidates I have worked with to date have been excellent and they have gone on to do very well,” he said. Now domiciled in New Zealand he is looking to work with other sports people too, although motor sport will remain his key interest.

MotorSport New Zealand is delighted with the contribution he has already made to some of the country’s leading drivers, according to Steven Kennedy.

“He has built a tremendous reputation overseas, and we appreciate the assistance he is providing to our sport. He sees how well our drivers are performing on the world stage and is keen to make the time available to do what he can to further the careers of New Zealand race drivers,” he said. “It’s a wonderful contribution.”
 
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