Taupo lad a nat­u­ral be­hind the wheel

Taupo Times - - MOTORING - STEPH RANGI

Con­rad Clark has driven his way to a mo­tor rac­ing schol­ar­ship af­ter set­ting the fastest lap times and im­press­ing the judges.

The 14-year-old Taupo-nuia-Tia Col­lege stu­dent didn’t hold back as he took part in the 2017 SpeedS­port ‘Star of To­mor­row’ mo­tor rac­ing schol­ar­ship last week­end.

The $50,000 schol­ar­ship means Clark will get a fully funded sea­son in the Hi-Q Com­po­nents NZ For­mula First Cham­pi­onship run­ning with Sabre Motorsport as well as men­tor­ing from team owner Den­nis Martin.

Also in­cluded in the schol­ar­ship is a cus­tom de­signed race suit from Chi­cane racewear as well as gloves, boots and an Arai hel­met.

Trav­el­ling to Man­feild, Clark had to take part in an eval­u­a­tion day over the week­end. Satur­day con­sisted of him hav­ing two prac­tice runs and two judg­ing ses­sions. There were also off-track interviews he had to take part in.

Once that was all done, six driv­ers were placed in the fi­nals on Sun­day which con­sisted of the same for­mat as Satur­day.

Rac­ing for Clark only started a few years ago but he started off kart rac­ing.

Jump­ing from kart to a For­mula First car was a bit dif­fer­ent for Clark but it was some­thing he did flaw­lessly.

‘‘For­mula First cars don’t have a lot of grip,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s also got gears. I had to get used to us­ing a clutch.’’

Clark man­aged to set the fastest time at every ses­sion on Satur­day’s eval­u­a­tion day be­fore con­tin­u­ing his speed over to Sun­day’s fi­nals, set­ting the fastest lap time then too.

Clark’s times were the best seen at Man­feild’s back-track for some time, set­ting a 53.94s lap. Clark was the only driver to en­ter the 53s all week­end.

Win­ning the schol­ar­ship was a huge achieve­ment for Clark.

‘‘I was re­ally happy. Hope­fully it’s a re­ally good op­por­tu­nity,’’ he said.

‘‘I’ve seen the peo­ple who go through this schol­ar­ship like Shane Van Gis­ber­gen and he’s the reign­ing champ in Su­per­cars. Hope­fully it’s my first step to be­ing the next Van Gis­ber­gen.’’

With this schol­ar­ship, Clark hopes to slowly progress up to the V8 Su­per­cars him­self.

Clark’s first ven­ture in car rac­ing kicks off in a fort­night with the open­ing round of the Man­feild Win­ter Se­ries on June 3-4.

SUP­PLIED

Con­rad Clark is all set for his first ever race in a For­mula First.

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