Michels’ 20-minute pitch to secure New Zealand Grand Prix spot

Invercargill driver Jordan Michels has been named in Castrol's 'magnificent seven' which is a group of drivers in the running for a fully funded ride in the 2022 New Zealand Grand Prix.

Kavinda Herath/Stuff

Invercargill driver Jordan Michels has been named in Castrol’s ‘magnificent seven’ which is a group of drivers in the running for a fully funded ride in the 2022 New Zealand Grand Prix.

Jordan Michels will have 20 minutes to sell his New Zealand Grand Prix dream next week.

The 24-year-old Invercargill driver has been named as part of Castrol’s ‘magnificent seven’. They are the drivers vying for a fully-funded shot at February’s New Zealand Grand Prix.

A Castrol ambassador opportunity was opened up to any driver with New Zealand residency or citizenship and it attracted 66 entries before this week being narrowed down to seven.

Michels will now take part in a 20-minute interview in front of a judging panel where he will try to convince them that he is the right person for the job.

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Michels estimated drivers would need to pull together about $50,000 to $60,000 to have a realistic shot at the New Zealand Grand Prix.

The prospect of having that covered by one backer would be a major win, Michels said.

“It is a very generous opportunity. I would hate to think how many hours a week I spend working on funding what I do. The idea of having it all run and done in one proposal is very nice, and a rare thing.”

Michels raised tens of thousands of dollars of sponsorship to compete in the 2021 Southland Island Endurance Series. He was thankful for the generosity he had received, in particular from Southlanders.

“We are lucky to be part of this community.”

Having to go about raising a similar amount of sponsorship, so soon after the endurance series, meant a tilt at the New Zealand Grand Prix was unlikely for Michels, despite his eagerness to compete.

Hence why the Southlander was pouring everything into trying to claim Castrol’s ambassador role for the New Zealand’s flagship motorsport race, to be held at Hampton Downs over the weekend of February 11 to 13.

While much of it will come down to Michels interview next week, the public will have the opportunity to vote for their preferred driver online at the Toyota Racing website from 10am Saturday.

Meanwhile, Michels will be back behind the wheel racing at his home track of Invercargill’s Teretonga Park on Saturday and Sunday.

Michels will line up in the Team Williams Racing/Evolution Motorsport Ford Focus Coyote V8 as part of the Noel McIntyre Drainage Club Saloons field.

“I just love motorsport and I love racing so any opportunity to do that we’ll take. Also any opportunity we can support the club down here we’ll take.”

The big banger OSCA Super Saloons are expected to again be a big attraction and Teretonga Park. It will be round 2 of their championship with Dunedin driver Steve Ross leading by the barest of margins in his Jaguar TraNZam XK.

The action will start at 9am on both Saturday and Sunday with testing, qualifying, and 30 races held across the weekend.

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