TALENTED Southland racing driver Jordan Michels has raced at the highest levels on both sides of the Tasman, but until last month he had never had a crack at ClubSport.
Considering his family operated Evolution Motorsport in Invercargill, the major sponsor of entry-level Southland Sports Car Club ClubSport events, that was surprising.
Michels had been busy the past few years and in 2019 won the NZ Formula 1600 Championship, Class B of the South Island One Hour Endurance Championship and Class 2 of the New Zealand One Hour Endurance Championship, while also competing in Australia, both in a TCR Saloon car and earlier this year in a star-studded international S5000 field at the Australian Grand Prix, an outing curtailed by Covid-19.
While Michels’ career was on an international trajectory, he had not raced a car since November so jumped at the chance to compete at round one of the Evolution Motorsport ClubSport Championship at Teretonga Park in Invercargill last month.
“I have never laughed so much at a motor race circuit, it was fantastic,” Michels said.
“I brought three of my mates with me. I have a lot of friends within motorsport and some from outside that world and I dragged one of my friends from outside that motorsport circle along.
“It was quite cool. We had fun and it was really laid-back.
“I was not setting timesheets on fire… it is definitely a different discipline to what I am used to,” Michels said.
Driving a front-wheel drive car was a fantastic opportunity as he hoped to do more TCR touring car racing, he said.
“I have a handful of kids from karting that I coach and I’ll be encouraging some of them to do ClubSport going forward.
“It was great for driving skills and I am sure I will be more effective parking at Kmart from now on,” he joked.
On a more serious note he said, “it is good for any kid and their driving skills. To do both a motorkhana and a sprint for $65 is about the same as a meal or a night out and more fun.
“It can be as competitive, stressed or as relaxed as you want to make it. I may have been too relaxed during the afternoon I took 10 seconds off my time in the autocross. You have to appreciate all those who help make it happen and give their time to let people have so much fun.”
Michels would be competing at the Timaru round of the South Island Endurance Series on the day prior to round three in October, want to come home on Sunday for ClubSport now
Drivers as young as 12 years could compete in ClubSport with parental or guardian consent and not only was it fun, it was also a great way to enhance driving skills.
The next round of the championship would be on Sunday, September 20, and the Southland Sports Car Club welcomed inquiries from prospective competitors and also regarding the use of the Evolution Motorsport Nissan Sentra via the SSCC Clubsport co-ordinator Malcolm Mitchell at 21 666 956 or email email@example.com
- Lindsay Beer is the Southland Sports Car Club publicity officer