Kiwi racer Andrew Waite is looking forward to re-living his youth at this weekend's Laser Plumbing & Electrical Hampton Downs 500.
Waite was one of a stunning crop of Kiwi drivers, including Brendon Hartley, Shane van Gisbergen, Earl Bamber and Richie Stanaway, that burst onto the scene at all once as promising go-kart racers in the mid-2000s.
While Waite hasn't quite followed their path into Formula 1, Supercars or the World Endurance Championship he fashioned an impressive career in Australasia before focusing his career in other areas.
"I'd given up on racing at the highest level," Waite said. "It's been cool to watch guys like Brendon, Shane, Earl, and Richie all go well in different series around the world but when I was younger there was a bit of, I don't want to say jealousy, but I wanted to be there as well.
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"To make it in motorsport you not only need a lot of talent, you need to be in the right place at the right time. After karting I raced in a few different series in Australia and New Zealand but just as things were starting to take off for me the recession kicked in. Motorsport teams started cutting back and I had to come up with a backup plan."
He has become a driving instructor at Tony Quinn's Highlands Motorsport Park in Cromwell and has great experience working with GT cars in that role.
"Lamborghini, Porsche, Ferrari, McLaren, Aston Martin - you name it, I've driven it," Waite said. "I get to drive a race car pretty much every day of the week and I absolutely love my job but taking customers for hot laps isn't the same as lining up on the starting grid for a big race."
Quinn asked the 28-year-old to drive alongside him at the Hampton Downs 500 in a McLaren 650S GT3.
"It's my first time racing in the Australian Endurance Championship and my first time racing in New Zealand for over three years," he said. "Our main goal is to be consistent but the ultimate would be to get on the podium. Hopefully I do a good enough job at Hampton Downs to keep my seat for Highlands."