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Black Bullet Profile: Andy Knight
www.latimerhotel.co.nz/andy-knight-toyota-motor-sport.htm

 
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Andy couldn't help getting into motorsport; his father raced some of the world's fastest boats and then launched a successful car racing career plus his grandfather raced hydroplanes at international level for decades.

But Andy isn't following in their wake, or tyre tracks, he's making a name for himself all on his own.

As one of the youngest hard chargers to hit our racetracks, [he was born in April of 1986, he has already succeeded in open wheelers here in New Zealand, in Australia and America, plus he's announced his intentions in the new Zealand V8 long distance series.

Before that Andy dominated Kart racing. His list of achievements is the envy of many long term campaigners.

2004. saw him seated in an outmoded Formula Ford but was just 0.013 sec away from snatching the NZ Grand Prix title off veteran racer Kenny Smith.

A string of other high places opened the door for him to be invited to race at the Melbourne Grand Prix meeting. That produced a 6th and 7th place on a track he'd never seen, let along raced on.

The peak of his success came with another invitation after winning an award to test and drive in the USA. This time the drive was in a Formula Russell. His first exposure to a car with wings and slicks. Andy put the car on pole and was placed second in the race.

2003 had produced an overall win in the formula ford festival in an outdated car, and a class win and second overall in the Southern Endurance series.

Andy's karting successes include such feats as 2002 1st SI Sprint Kart Champs [Senior Yamaha Light.] 1st Christchurch Kart 2 hour enduro 1st Rotax Max [Christchurch Kart Club] 1st 100cc national [Christchurch Kart Club] 1st Rotax Max [Blossom Festival Hawkes Bay]

2000 and 2001 had also seen a variety of National victories including sprints in both Islands and Enduro events.


The Future

Andy has declared he is very serious about his intentions by buying the Powerbuilt Toyota without having even sat in one.

"I drove a Formula Russell in the States last year, and put it on pole so I've had a wee bit of experience with the slicks and wings, but the bottom line is that the class looks as though it will be big, so I have to be there."

It certainly does look that way, the cars are equal to the Formula Renaults used in Europe and they are recognised as the logical step into Formula One.

"Yes, Kimi Raikkonen went from Renault to testing with McLaren, and then into a full drive, so these cars will be quick. Mind you I don't expect Ron Dennis to ring me. However it'll be huge for New Zealanders to be able to watch cars of that calibre racing here"

The series is being billed as a drivers class with the Powerbuilt Toyota engine, transmission, suspension and everything else exactly the same as the other entries.

"Toyota literally seal the engines and all we are allowed to do is check the oil. It'll make things a bit easier for the Powerbuilt team to prepare the car as, apart from tyre pressures and wing settings, it's all standard. There certainly won't be the huge range of performance between the different cars you get in other classes."

Series co-ordinator, Barrie Tomlinson, says the drivers who have signed up for the other 20 or so cars are expected to be very commutative.

"We are very happy with our line up. There's likely to be a fully International field for the coming season with several overseas drivers negotiating drives in local cars plus New Zealanders like Andy in the Powerbuilt car having their first full season in a wings and slicks formula. It's all very exciting stuff"

Andy says he's not leaving things to chance knowing the competition he's up against.

"These guys will be very serious, as we are, so we are leasing a Formula three car in Aussie and getting some competition over there before we start the series here."

In the mean time Andy still has to wait to even see his Powerbuilt Toyota as it hasn't arrived in the country yet.

"We aren't to concerned about that, with the cars being so well set up by Toyota and the limit to how much we can do, it's just going to be a matter of miles rather than setting the car up. But I'm very glad we'll have the experience in Formula three"

There's still other plans afoot, so check this website regularly to ensure you are up to date on Andy's fast moving career.


The Three Generations

While Andy Knight is at the lower rungs of what promises to be a very successful career in motorsport, the name Knight is held in very high regard in racing circles.

Peter Knight Senior raced Hydroplanes for more than 30 years. He held the Griffiths cup in 1995 and the Masport cup a record 14 times.

Perhaps his best known boat "The Boss" set a world record for it's class, and seemed unbeatable until he retired a few years ago.

When it was first built "The Boss" was certainly state of the art with it's enclosed cockpit made from a jet fighter capsule, and a design that had the fans breathless.

Peter Knight [PG] followed in his father's footsteps into boat racing and his habit of winning trophies.

The prestigious Griffiths Cup was his in 1989 and 1990, plus he won the Masport cup 4 times giving the father and son team a total of 18 titles.

PG took on the world's best at the world championships and scored a second place so success if certainly no stranger to the Knight family.

Anybody having witnessed PG hanging out of the "Latimer Lodge" open cockpit as it bounced sideways out of a turn with a huge rooster tail of water streaming out behind will never forget the moment.

PG's next challenge was centred on four wheels and the NZ high powered Transam class. Several years of campaigning as the driver brought a constant flow of successes before he turned team manager and put drivers such as Shane Drake in the seat. That provided the team further successes on both sides of the Tasman.

Andy Knight started his career in motorsport where many of the world's best started... in karts.

After three very successful seasons Formula Ford beckoned and despite being in an outdated car, he ran amongst the leaders for the past two seasons, including missing out on the NZ Grand Prix title by .013 sec from veteran Kenny Smith.

Competing in the Australian Grand Prix meeting boosted his international experience.

Hi performances attracted enough attention for him to win a scholarship to the States to drive a Formula Russell car that he put on pole and finished second in. That being the first time he'd driven a wing and slicks type car.

This coming season Andy launches his Toyota class career, but in the mean time he's racing a formula three car in Australia to get some experience.





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