Inaugural Scott McLaughlin Grand Prix brings sporting celebs to the grid

Champion racer Scott McLaughlin was joined by a host of sports identities at Hampton Downs recently in order to raise funds for KartSport NZ’s Driver Development Academy, which provides programs and coaching clinics to aspiring performance drivers.

Three weeks before he’d earned a place in Supercars history by claiming the 2018 Championship at Newcastle in November, Scott Mclaughlin was involved in a slightly different kind of history at Hampton Downs, as the guest of honour for the first ever Scott McLaughlin Grand Prix.

As proud sponsors of KartSport NZ, the Giltrap Group was delighted to be involved in the event, which pitted nine teams lead by sporting celebrities including America’s Cup winner Peter Burling, motocross champion Ben Townley and Black Stick Rose Keddell, in a variety of motorsport challenges. 

On-track tasks ranged from Jaguar’s Smart Cone Challenge, to slalom, drag racing and of course karting.  

Each team also got the chance to drive a lap of Hampton Downs in a selection of exotic machinery supplied by Aston Martin, Lamborghini, Porsche, McLaren and Audi. 

McLaughlin, the patron of KartSport NZ, described the event as “my way of saying thanks” to the sport that started him on the road to becoming a champion racing driver.  

The event was raising funds to run the Driver Development Academy which provides a set of programs and coaching clinics to assist members, from new entrants through club day racers to aspiring and existing elite international level competitors.  

Despite the likes of speedway star Michael Pickens and stockcar champ (and super caddy) Steve Williams bringing serious driving skills to the event, there was an unexpected victor in All Black great Olo Brown, whose Team BMC claimed overall honours in the inaugural Pro-Am event.  

McLaughlin, who limited his competitive participation to entering the deciding race as a wildcard from the back of the grid, was full of praise for what is expected to become a biennial event. 

“It was awesome. Everyone was just so into it and loving it. It was all for a very good cause too, obviously. I think it was very successful,” he said. 

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