A new supporters’ club has been launched to ensure young kiwi racing driver Brendon Leitch can race in the United States this year.
Leitch, originally from Invercargill and now based in Cromwell, has for the last four years taken the challenge to the many international drivers who visit New Zealand to contest the Toyota Racing Series. With a best finish of third overall in 2016, Leitch’s performance against other young drivers – many signed to Formula 1 team development squads – is remarkable considering virtually all his racing is concentrated in those five TRS weekends each year.
Leitch had the opportunity to experience the wheel-to-wheel racing style of North American single seater racing when he made an impressive test in a Newman Wachs Racing Team F2000 car at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year. Now the decision has been made for the 21-year-old racer to try and mount a campaign to tackle the six-round Formula 4 United States Championship which begins at Miami on 8 April. The series is a single make, equal formula category which offers the first step on a pathway to the top of American racing. The championship winner receives the opportunity to go into a Champion of Champions run-off at the end of the year against the FIA Formula 4 Champions from around the globe, an added attraction for Leitch.
However such a campaign requires support, hence the launch of the Brendon Leitch Supporters’ Club by Leitch and his backers. A contribution of $3500 plus GST gains members exclusive access to merchandise, vlogs, club access at events and much more, while also giving a talented young driver an opportunity to showcase his skills internationally. Deb Day of Auckland, a long- time supporter of Leitch, is the supporters’ club membership manager.
Opportunities also exist for New Zealand businesses expanding into the US market or American businesses looking to lift their profile to enter into a business partnership with Leitch, who will be supported by marketing and publicity professionals.
Leitch says, “I have a goal to become a professional racing driver and my dream is Indycar. This step to Formula 4 is ideal to introduce me to a full North American open-wheeler series, and I really want to make the most of the opportunity, even though it’s at very short notice.”
“It is amazing what Deb Day is doing as the club’s membership manager. The amount of work she has done behind the scenes is fantastic. The club offers cool, wee packages and the aim of the funding is to make the trip to America for the championship. It is a great way to get behind a young kiwi. I am just so grateful that the club has been set up and for the opportunity this affords my career.”
New Zealand motorsport legend Ken Smith has mentored many young drivers and he endorses Leitch’s talent, “one hundred percent.”
“What Brendon achieves each year in TRS against those hotshot overseas drivers is outstanding,” says Smith. “If he had the mileage they had going into the series each year he would kick most of their butts! It is a waste of his talent to only have the opportunity to race five weekends a year as he does at the moment. Kids in New Zealand motorsport have to struggle to make it but I know if he goes to Formula 4 in the States he will be very hard to beat.”
Time is of the essence, with the F4 Championship start looming in little over a month. An opportunity to race has been sourced only recently and it is a race against time to raise the funding to compete. The aim is to have a minimum number of memberships signed up prior to the first round to enable the talented young kiwi to showcase his skills on one of the biggest motorsport stages in the world. All funding raised by the club will go directly towards Brendon’s racing effort.
Martin Day, Director of Dayle ITM says, “We have been part of Brendon’s sponsorship family for four years, increasing our spend each year. His skill, coupled with his drive to achieve the best possible exposure for his sponsors, makes him the perfect brand ambassador which is why we have signed up to the membership scheme to assist him into F4.”
Anyone wishing to learn more of this opportunity is invited to contact Deb Day, Membership Manager, Brendon Leitch Supporters Club at 0274 875 079 or firstname.lastname@example.org