Top New Zealand karters Daniel Connor and Arie Hutton have returned from Dunedin keen to put skills learned at this year's Elite MotorSport Academy into use.

Connor, 18, and Hutton, 17, were two of nine promising young motorsport competitors from around 2012MSNZAcademyGroup.gifthe country to complete this year's course run last week by the Motorsport NZ Scholarship Trust in conjunction with Excellence in

Sport South Island and the School of Physical Education at Otago University.

Top student this year was Taupo Suzuki Swift racer Mark Gibson with Connor, from Helensville north-west of Auckland, named runner-up and Team PTG (which consisted of Gibson and single-seater drivers Tom Alexander from Christchurch and Matt Higham from Auckland) claiming the teams' award.

Over the week-long course the attendees were put through a number of different programmes aimed at getting the very best out of them mentally as well as physically and the two karters say the experience will definitely benefit their on-going careers behind the wheel.

"I definitely picked up a number of skills, from a range of fitness techniques to mental strategies. The media and sponsorship sessions were also very beneficial," said Hutton.

"They weren't just skills you could apply on the track either," added Connor. "They were skills you can apply to your life."

Since it was established in 2004, 82 promising young motorsport competitors have completed the Elite Academy programme. Successful graduates who have gone on to greater things include 2011 Production World Rally champion Hayden Paddon, V8 Supercar series race winner Shane van Gisbergen and 2012 GP3 series points leader Mitch Evans.

And though karters have only been eligible for selection for the past two years Hutton says he and Connor fitted in just fine.

"The people running the programme were really welcoming and we already knew most of the other drivers from when they raced karts!"

CAPTION: The Elite Motorsport Academy class of 2012 (from left to right), Chris Hanley, A.J. Lauder, Daniel Connor, Michael Scott, Tom Alexander, Tom Barker, Arie Hutton, Matt Higham and Mark Gibson.

Distributed by FAST COMPANY on behalf of KartSport NZ. To find out more about KartSport in New Zealand contact Fast Company's Ross MacKay on 021 677 919 or e-mail on ross@fastcompany.co.nz





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