A Taupo teen with aspirations to make it to the top in international motorsport is borrowing a financial model from New Zealand motorsport great Scott Dixon.
Conrad Clark, 15, a student at Taupo-nui-a-Tia College, left New Zealand two weeks ago for the first two rounds of the six-round Formula 4 United States Championship after being offered a contract with Kiwi Motorsport.
The Year 11 student hopes it's the next step in a motorsport career that will see him become a professional driver and represent New Zealand internationally.
With the support of his parents, Conrad Clark Motorsport has been established, allowing people to either donate, sponsor or invest in Conrad.
The investment model is similar to that set up for Kiwi driver Scott Dixon in 1998, which allowed shareholders to invest in Scott Dixon Motorsport and funded his early career.
The company went into voluntary liquidation in 2005 after Dixon's American racing team wanted to be Dixon's sole management.
A shareholder told the New Zealand Herald at the time that the investors in Scott Dixon Motorsport had achieved its aims of getting Dixon to Australia and America to race.
They were being paid out by Dixon and had all at least doubled their money.
Conrad's mother Cheryl Ingram-Clark says Conrad is in the US for a month for the first two rounds of the Formula 4 US Championship and will race in Virginia and Atlanta before coming home.
He will return for each of the four other rounds, which are all a month apart.
During his visits Conrad will be staying with Kiwi Motorsport which this year has joined with Crosslink Racing and has five drivers with the combined team, consisting of Conrad, an Australian driver and three Americans, with Conrad the youngest.
Conrad's contract to race for Kiwi Motorsport includes the car and everything he needs but he has to pay to be in the team, and the amount is confidential, Cheryl says.
She says generally, if a driver shows enough promise, they will be picked up by a professional racing team after a few years, and that team will then pay the person to drive for them.
Conrad has just finished a one-year Speedsport scholarship with Sabre Motorsport, where he won Rookie of the Year and ended the season at New Zealand number four in the Formula First competition.
Cheryl says people who want to support Conrad in his quest can either donate directly or via Givealittle, become a sponsor by joining the Club500 or Club1000 options, or invest directly in Conrad Clark Motorsport Ltd.
She says the idea behind setting up the company is that it provides a management structure for Conrad so that over the next few years he can continue racing and have the funding to make most of the opportunities that arise.
Conrad's contract with Kiwi Motorsport will finish at the end of the F4 season at the end of October and hopes to head back to the United States to race the following year.
If drivers prove themselves in Formula 4, they have the opportunity to move up to Formula 3.
Cheryl says while that's a lot of pressure for a 15-year-old, Conrad is coping well.
"He's fine, he's focused, he's pretty determined and this is all his doing."
She is working with Conrad's school to send schoolwork overseas for Conrad to do in his downtime and says he will be working as hard as he can to accumulate NCEA credits during his times at home.
For information, visit www.conradclarkmotorsport.com.