Two racers in the thick of this year's TR 86 sports coupe championship action have been selected by the MotorSport New Zealand Scholarship Trust to attend the 2016 Elite Motorsport Academy.
Seventeen-year-old Aucklander, Jacob Smith, and 19 year old Jaxon Evans, who both raced in the 2015-16 Toyota Finance 86 Championship will join six others at the year-long programme that starts with an intensive week-long block course next month.
The introductory course is based in Dunedin and run in association with the Academy of Sport South Island and the University of Otago's School of Physical Education's Human Performance Centre. The Academy provides a tailored twelve-month programme for graduates to ensure they retain and further develop the training regimes and educational opportunities demonstrated during the camp.
Shayne Harris, outgoing President of MotorSport New Zealand and chair of the MotorSport New Zealand Scholarship Trust, says to even be selected to participate in the Elite Motorsport Academy is an achievement.
"The array and calibre of applicants continues to increase each year, so I congratulate this year's Academy participants for being selected for the Elite Academy.
"It's fantastic to see the tradition of learning, professional development and physical and mental training continuing with each Academy class and I know we'll get to know the names of future race and rally stars as these young competitors continue in their motorsport careers," he said.
Jacob Smith, who contested the rookie category and fought Ryan Yardley all the way to the final round in an epic battle for that title, says the TR 86 Championship exceeded his expectations as a place to learn race-craft, tactics and how to extract the last fraction of a second from the purpose-built TR 86 race cars.
Evans contested three rounds of the 2015-16 New Zealand Toyota 86 Championship, posting one fastest lap and finishing 12th with 340 points.
The eight successful applicants for the 2016 Elite Motorsport Academy are:
• Jaxon Evans, Gold Coast, Australia, 19, race, Porsche 997 and Toyota TR 86
• Connor Adam, Auckland, 15, karting, Maranello racing kart
• Alexandra Whitley, Auckland, 22, race, SsangYong Ute
• Michael McLean, Dannevirke, 21, rally, Subaru Impreza WRX
• Brock Cooley, Wellington, 25, race, NZ Touring Cars Class 2
• Kieran Anstis, Auckland, 19, rally, Mitsubishi Evo
• Jacob Smith, Auckland, 17, race, Toyota TR 86
• Hunter McElrea, Gold Coast, Australia, 16, race, Formula Ford