Team Kiwi Racing celebrated 15 years of racing in 2015, and have competed in many different series but more importantly they brought up many young talented drivers over those years.
After speaking with team owner David John he said Team Kiwi Racing was established with the aim to support young motorsport talent in New Zealand and give them a platform to reach their dreams and aspirations at the highest level without having to leave the country.
“It was used to provide the financial backing for kiwi drivers to run in international events basically,” John told apexnews.co.nz.
“To provide the opportunity to have a national team and provided we get public to support it to help provide some of the funding through merchandise sales.”
“In end terms it helps provide kiwi drivers in the same way as the Silver Ferns and the All Blacks.”
However, David John insists that Team Kiwi Racing is a development program to help kiwi drivers to get noticed on the international stage.
“It’s a Development program, all the drivers who came through TKR either its domestically or internationally, we’ve won alot of championships,” John said.
In the 15 years, 2000-2015, with TKR, team owner David John finds it difficult to pick one favourite Team Kiwi Racing memory.
“Oh thats a hard one,” he said.
“Probably the first Bathurst [2000 Bathurst 1000] gotta be a big highlight. To have a New Zealand team with kiwi drivers and we finished 16th in our first [V8SC] race, but thats when there were 40 or 50 cars on the grid.”
“Another highlight would be getting a car on pole in 2004 at Winton, not many teams have achieved that. We finished on the podium at China 2005”.
“We finished 6th at Perth 2006, where Radisich led the whole race until the final corner where we were hit from behind in from the GRM Holden. We’ve should’ve won that race.”
“All the championships had their highlights, we won the BMW Mini championship 1-2 in their first year and 1-2-3 in the second, we finished 1-2 in the 2 Litre NZ Touring Car championship in the Nissan.”
“We won the L/K 500 endurance race at Ruapuna and were the first 2-Litre Touring Car to do so. We won the NZV8’s championship with Andy Booth.”
When Team Kiwi Racing first competed in the V8 Supercars in 2001 they had to compete in the pre-qualifying session, which is where drivers outside the top 20 in the points had to fight to make the weekend in a pre-qualifying session on Friday to fill the last few spots on the grid.
“People are forgetting, we were competing in the V8 Supercars Championship when you had to earn your spot on the grid on the Friday,” he said.
“We had to fight to get a position to qualify for the weekend. Like we had to travel all the way over to Perth not knowing if we will be starting a race or not.”
“We made the race every single time, apart for two [Phillip Island & Eastern Creek 2001].”
When asked to look back on all the young talented kiwis that Team Kiwi Racing brought onto the international stage, David John easily point Jason Richards as the driver that he is most proud of.
“Jase has set the bar extremmely high, while being our first ever driver will always be very hard to replace the total package that Jason Richards was,” David John said about the late Jason Richards.
“He was something special, he did whatever was asked from him, never asked questions, helped out whenever needed and was very thankful of the opportunity given to him.”
However David John didn’t want to discount all the other drivers who have been involved with TKR in various levels.
“Look at Alyssa [Clapperton], she is doing a great job. In her first year in V8 Touring Cars, it was a massive step up what she was doing previously,” said David John who speaks highly on his NZ Touring Cars driver in 2015.
When asked about TKR’s future, David John quickly responded “There is massive changes going on in motorsport at the moment.”
“In terms of TKR, we will continue to support our sponsors, drivers like we’ve been doing in the past.”
Team Kiwi Racing is currently competing in the BMW Drivers Club Championship Series with their new Development driver Thomas Boniface in the #321 TKR BMW Mini.
Photo: Matt Smith