Earlier this year Blake Evans became one of the youngest drivers to win the Formula First Winter Series. Now he is ready for the next challenge.
This season the Rotorua 14-year-old is taking his racing to the next level with a move up to the Formula Ford class in which he will race in a 2011 Mygale.
The Mygale has a 1600 Ford Kent engine which produces about 118 horsepower, a big step up from the Formula First which was a 1200VW with between 65-70 horsepower.
Evans had his first run in the new car at the first round of the North Island Championships at Pukekohe Park last month and did not miss a beat.
He qualified in second and also finished his first race in second place. In race two he started from pole, having set the fastest lap in race one. He won the second race, but a technical timing glitch resulted in the race running for nine laps instead of eight. In that situation the win is given to the driver who crossed the line first at the end of lap eight, which pushed Evans back to second.
He started race three in pole position again, as his lap time in race one was not beaten in race two, and this time everything came together for his first official Formula Ford race win. He now sits second overall in the series.
Evans said the move to Formula Ford was a big step up.
"Not just in power, although that is a massive part of it, but you've got a completely different chassis under you, a completely different gear box - everything has changed.
"[The first round of the North Island Championships] was my first time racing at Pukekohe and my first time in the car. I still have lots to win, but to get two second places and a win was pretty cool."
He said it was important to get practice in and get a feel for the car, but the best way to acclimatise was always to be racing as often as possible.
"To race alongside good competition and get confidence from being able to race side-by-side at 200km/h, I find that's the best way for me to gain confidence."
This weekend Evans is off to Levels Raceway in Timaru for the first round of the New Zealand Formula Ford Championship series and he said his time behind the wheel at Pukekohe would be valuable.
"Without that I'd be doing a standing start for the first time, stuff like that, passing and overtaking, which I've had a couple of goes at now at an actual race meeting.
"The competition is a step up from Formula First as well. Formula First is an introduction to open-wheel racing, the competition is going to be pretty big this year. It's a great gauge, we're going into this first round knowing some of the other drivers have raced this championship multiple times.
"At the end of the day it's just another car on the track, another person you have to chase. It doesn't change the attitude at all."
While winning is always the ultimate goal, Evans' focus is on learning as much as possible this season.
"You have to look at it with perspective, I'm really up against it in terms of top-level competition. I think this year I just need to learn as much as I can, it would be really cool to get some good results, but with the level of competition and my lack of experience in the new car you have to be realistic.
"The goal is just to maximise the learning and get used to the car. I can't wait."