Auckland Kart Driver Scoops Scholarship
Auckland Kart Driver Scoops Scholarship For One-Make Suzuki Sport Racing Series
Aucklander Ben Dallas has been named winner of the second Castrol Suzuki Swift Sport Cup Scholarship.
The promising 17-year-old from Meadowbank earned the praises from judges after a workout at the motor racing circuit at Manfeild near Palmerston North recently.
The scholarship gives Dallas an assisted drive in the one-make championship for the 2008/2009 season.
Ben was voted best of the 15 finalists who took part in the one-day programme at Manfeild on August 22. Judging included a fitness test, interview, and driver training and timed laps of the circuit.
Cody McMaster, the 21-year-old Christchurch driver who won the inaugural Swift Sport Cup championship last season, was one of four driver instructors guiding scholarship finalists for the upcoming summer season.
The other three instructors – Marc Whyte and Dane Fisher who raced in the Swift championship last season and Ben Harford who competed in the Toyota Racing Series.
Dallas will be endeavouring to emulate the achievements of McMaster who won the first Swift Sport Cup Scholarship last year before going on to take out the title.
Like McMaster, Dallas gained his early motor sport experience in karts, and will use the Suzuki as a natural progression in his racing career.
“I have been racing karts for ten years and I really wanted the opportunity to start racing cars,” said Dallas.
“I had Cody as my driver trainer and as I had never even sat in a Suzuki before he did a fantastic job. The car took me by surprise and was awesome to drive,” said the budding teenager.
“I have learnt with motor sport that you never know what’s around the corner,” said Dallas. “Winning this sponsorship gives me the break I need to step up.”
Ben is a multiple national and regional KartSport Champion, and in 2007 won the New Zealand BMW Driver Experience.
He also won the 2007 BMW Asia Scholarship in Bahrain and the Bruce McLaren Kartsport Award for 2007.
The panel of eight judges came from Castrol New Zealand, Volt TV, The Motor Race Company, Suzuki New Zealand and Winger Suzuki.
Youngest of the scholarship finalists was 13-year-old Kurt Mildenhall from Lower Hutt. Kurt is a kart racer currently competing in the winter semi-finals of Formula Ford.
Twenty-year-old Clara Bond, from Christchurch, the only female finalist, also took part in kart racing from the tender age of 15.
The winner of the Castrol Suzuki Swift Sport Cup Scholarship has the use of a fully prepared Swift Sport Cup car for the season, an in-car television camera for every round, vehicle transport to each meeting and technical support.
Identical specification Swift hatchbacks are prepared by the Waikato Institute of Technology (WINTEC) in Hamilton and have strictly controlled preparation to ensure close racing.
Based on New Zealand’s best-selling small car, the Swifts are fitted with larger diameter 17-inch aluminium alloy wheels and low profile tyres.
Careful fine tuning of the 1.6-litre double overhead camshaft engine results in 92 kW (125 brake horsepower) and a top speed of more than 200 km/h.
The Swift Cup is part of the New Zealand production car racing series with class rules set by the Motor Sport Association of New Zealand.