NZ F1600: Strong field to vie for Wigram Cup
 January 9, 2018| 
  • Feeder Series
#23 Jordan Michels leads #32 Johua Bethune and #86 Bailey Paterson - Timaru Rnd1 NZF1600 2017 (800x323)
CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand – A top field of 22 Formula 1600 drivers face two consecutive weekends of racing in the South Island as both the National and South Island Championships resume their season. This weekend the Mike Pero Motorsport Park in Christchurch hosts the second round of the New Zealand Formula 1600 Championship, also doubling as the fourth round of the South Island Formula 1600 Championship. The category is part of the supporting classes for the Lady Wigram Trophy meeting, the opening round of the 2018 Toyota Racing Series

Up for grabs is the prestigious Wigram Cup awarded by the Canterbury Car Club to a premier single seater class not competing for the Lady Wigram Trophy. The overall round winner from the weekend will add their name alongside the likes of Leroy Stevenson, Jonny Reid, Ken Smith and Damon Leitch.

Jordan Michels currently leads the NZ champs ahead of fellow Southlander Ethan Anderson and Auckland rookie driver Josh Bethune while Christchurch’s Bailey Paterson leads the South Island series from Michels and Anderson.

However, the driver they will all be wary of is young 13-year-old Callum Hedge from Auckland. Hedge dominated the opening national round in Timaru at the beginning of November, qualifying fastest and winning two of the three races, only to be thwarted by clutch problems in the third. Formula 1600 racing is all about the consistency of finishing and gaining points and as Hedge found out, a retirement can be very costly, with him slipping to fourth overall, 20 points behind Michels.

Michels, now in his third year of F1600 racing, knows that consistent finishing will win championships and is confident heading into the next two rounds.

“We have great car pace, great car setup under us now, still a few things to sort out going forward,” commented Michels.

Likewise, Paterson is aware of continuing his early form. “We have to do what we did in the previous round but improve more.  We will see what we can get out of the car.”

New to the grid is 15-year-old Tommy Smith from Melbourne, Australia. Moving up from kartsport, Smith is looking at competing in both Formula Ford and Formula 4 in Australia. With limited testing opportunities in Australia, the family has shipped his car to NZ and spent several days testing at Teretonga Park in Invercargill. He will compete in the next two NZ rounds in a Mygale leased from Evolution Motorsport as his own car is not eligible as it is fitted with the Duratec engine required for Australian Formula Ford racing.

Drivers face qualifying and the first of three races on Saturday with a further two races on Sunday. The following weekend they go head to head once again in support of the Toyota Racing Series weekend at Teretonga Park in Invercargill.

2017/18 New Zealand Formula 1600 Championship
Overall Championship Points after 1/5 rounds (Top 10)

1    Jordan Michels    102
2    Ethan Anderson    91
3    Josh Bethune    83
4    Callum Hedge    82
5    Bailey Paterson    81
6    Robert Toshach    72
7    Steve Edwards    66
8    Matt Butchart    58
9    Kurt Peterson    50
10    Steve Heffernan    50

Words by Benjamin Carrell, photo please credit Media 77.
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