Motorsport: Kiwi racers conquering the world's podiums

By Eric Thompson

Hayden Paddon’s emergence on the world rally scene highlights Kiwi talent on the international stage. Eric Thompson looks at New Zealanders carrying the flag overseas.
Four-times IndyCar champ Scott Dixon is the only New Zealander to win the Indianapolis 500. 
Photo / AP
Four-times IndyCar champ Scott Dixon is the only New Zealander to win the Indianapolis 500. Photo / AP

Established racers

Scott Dixon Recognised as the best open wheel racer of his generation in the US, he's an Indianapolis 500 winner (only New Zealander) and four-time IndyCar champion. The Chip Ganassi Racing driver sits fourth equal on the all-time winner's list and has won two Daytona 24 Hour races.

Brendon Hartley A fully-fledged Porsche LMP1 factory driver and the reigning world endurance racing (WEC) champion along with co-drivers Mark Webber and Timo Bernhard, Hartley was also the reserve driver for Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso Formula One teams.

Hayden Paddon One of Hyundai Motorsport's factory World Rally Championship drivers, last weekend Paddon became the first New Zealander (with co-driver John Kennard) to win a round of the WRC. In 2011 be became the Production World Rally Championship title-holder.

Earl Bamber A factory driver for Porsche GT programme, Bamber is the first New Zealander to win at the Le Mans 24 Hour since Chris Amon and Bruce McLaren back in 1966. In the past, Bamber has won the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia series and the Porsche Supercup.

Richie Stanaway The factory driver for Aston Martin Racing GT Racing programme, Stanaway has won races in GP3 and GP2 and is a former German F3 championship.

Mitch Evans He won a GP3 championship before stepping up to GP2, where he is a consistent race winner. Evans finished second at the Le Mans 24 Hour on debut in LMP2 with Jota Sport. He has also won two Toyota Racing Series titles and a New Zealand Grand Prix.

Shane Van Gisbergen A V8 Supercars race winner and factory McLaren GT driver and race winner, van Gisbergen also competed in the US at the Daytona 24 Hour and is a Bathurst 12 Hour winner.

Scott McLaughlin V8 Supercars driver and Scandinavian Touring Car Championship driver.

Chris van der Drift A former single seater champion van der Drift has won at least one race in every international category he's contested and is the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia champion.

Nick Cassidy The Japanese F3 champion, Cassidy is also a factory driver for Lexus in the Japanese SuperGT championship and a FIA European F3 racer. He won the Toyota Racing Series twice and the NZ Grand Prix three times.

Ben Townley A former world MX2 (motocross) world champion and current world MXGP rider, Townley has also won the US Supercross title.

Levi Sherwood A former world X Fighter (freestyle motocross) world champion, X Games medal winner and one of only three New Zealanders to win a Laureus sport's award.

Emma Gilmour A former world number one woman rally driver, Gilmour was also runner up in the Asia Pacific Rally Championship.

Craig Baird An Australian and New Zealand Carrera Cup championship winner and NZ V8 title winner, Baird is one of the most successful Porsche race winners in the world.

Kenny Smith The 73-year-old has won the Penang and Malaysian Grand Prix, New Zealand Grand Prix and the F5000 championship three times.

Daniel Bray A multiple national and international karting champion.


On the cusp

Courtney Duncan Leads the FIM women's world MX championship and finished sixth at the Junior World Motocross Championship at Taupo.

Avalon Biddle The defending FIM Women's European Cup champion Biddle leads the 2016 championship. Has been a NZ TT winner and is the NZ Superlite national champion.

Andre Heimgartner V8 Supercars driver and former New Zealand Formula Ford champion.

James Munro Was a Formula Masters China series winner and now in America contesting the USF2000 championship.

Ben Hunt New Zealand rally champion.

Michael Young Asia Pacific Rally Championship, Asia Pacific Cup, Junior Cup, 2WD championship.

Marcus Armstrong FIA European KZ and KZ2 championship contestant.

Chelsea Herbert Ute racer and former kart champion.

Taylor Cockerton Formula First champion.

- NZ Herald

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