Kiwi rally driver Hayden Paddon is not taking on the gravel and tarmac roads of this year's World Rally Championship but that doesn't mean he's resting on his laurels.
Next Friday, Paddon will be launching his next big adventure at the Highlands Motorsport Park in Cromwell, Central Otago. Paddon Rallysport has been in operation for the past 12 years but the move to a purpose-built 500sq m workshop signals the next phase of his career.
The main focus for the business will be on new projects and technologies in the motorsport world, along with providing service and repairs for cars used at the track.
"The family moved down to Wanaka five or six years ago and when I came back home for a break I went there and loved the whole area," said Paddon. "When we were setting up the business, we wanted to be near a race track, and Highlands being so great, it was a no-brainer really.
"I still want to drive and race in the WRC, but in the meantime, I want to also establish a Kiwi race team. In 10 years, I want to have built up our team to take on a world championship somewhere in the world.
"Probably not the WRC, as that's just too expensive, but there are other championships we could take a Kiwi team to and win a world title. That's the dream anyway."
Paddon's heart will always be with rallying but he's not ruling out his business getting involved in any form of motorsport. The landscape of global motor racing is constantly changing, and in five to 10 years, who knows what it'll look like? Hence, Paddon's willingness to explore all options.
"Technology is changing rapidly and it's very hard to sit here right now and make a definitive choice on what we might be doing in a few years.
"I also think Kiwi ingenuity will have a role to play, as we're pretty good at coming up with new ideas.
"It's about building a good foundation now for the business. We need to be competitive here in New Zealand first and then to branch out overseas," he said.
Paddon is not abandoning his love of throwing rally cars around at high speed as he still has plans to contest a number of New Zealand Rally Championship events and the odd hill climb.
In fact, he was at pains to mention 2019 will be his busiest competitive year to date.
"The European Global Rally Cross six-round series will help keep my name in Europe. It's very easy to get lost being in New Zealand. It's not the only reason, though. It'll be lots of fun racing a high horsepower car in an arena-type venue.
"It'll also help me develop my driving in a way, as you can never have too many tools in the tool box. The new thing for me will be having to race other drivers. There might be a bit of door handle banging as well.
"Whenever I go karting with my mates it sometimes ends in tears, as if I see a gap half the size of the kart, I still go for it.
"I'll also be keeping my foot in the door in an effort to get back into the WRC," said Paddon.
Although drivers are the poster men and women of the sport, Paddon has come to realise over the years competing internationally that there are a vast number of opportunities for engineers, mechanics, fabricators, managers and all manner of professions attached to racing.
"Potentially in 10 years, we might be a team of 50 to 60 professionals with opportunities across the board. We'd like to keep it 100 per cent Kiwi, but we also have to look at the business model, which might have to involve overseas companies," said Paddon.