On the back of the debut of 14-year old Finley Hills at Sydney Motorsport Park, another young driver will join the ever growing V8 Superlaps NSW Production Touring Car Championship field when we get to Goulburn on the opening weekend of July.
Zac Raddatz, the son of Wakefield and Winton 300 winner David, will make his tin-top racing debut in a Mazda 3 SP23, in the opening MoComm Cup race of 2016.
Raddatz is a karting graduate, who recently won the second round of the NSW Championships in the KA3 Junior division at Newcastle in wet and wild conditions.
The step up to tin-top racing was inevitable, but Raddatz will face a tough initiation at Wakefield Park next weekend, with a circuit record field entered.
37 cars will contest the opening endurance championship race of the season, as records continue to be re-written in the NSWPTC Championship. Make no mistake, with that many cars racing around on the tight and tricky 2.2km Wakefield Park Circuit, Raddatz is likely to have his work cut out for him, in a race that will be heavily influenced by pit strategy and traffic navigation, but it’s a challenge he is very much looking forward to.
When asked why the NSWPTC was his first step out of karting, Raddatz said, “I chose NSWPTC because there is a good mix of cars and the series has endurance races though the year.”
Endurance races mean extra time behind the seat for all our drivers, no matter if they’re pairing up with a co-driver, or going solo, and Raddatz knows the more time he can get behind the wheel, the better it is for his development.
Raddatz has had great success in karting, with two Closed NSW Championships and a South Australian Open Championship to his name.
The other teenager in the ranks, Finley Hills, won’t be on the grid at Wakefield Park. Finley has been behind the wheel since his debut at Sydney Motorsport Park, getting some practice and driver training to assist his development.
Hills had a successful debut at Sydney Motorsport Park in May – winning Class E, and not getting caught up in any incidents. He may have been a back marker, but to his credit, he didn’t impede any of the faster cars as they were lapping him – the young man showed experience beyond his age, as he moved to one side, held his line and gave the leaders right of way.
Across the course of the weekend, Hills gradually improved his lap times, as he slowly became more comfortable with the car and the circuit, and was ably assisted by his father Aaron, who played the role of spotter for his son – informing him of the whereabouts of his fellow competitors, which proved hugely beneficial as they came up to overtake him.
It was one of his first competitive outings since that frightening crash at Picton Karting Raceway in the 2015 Metro Invitational, where he broke his collarbone.
The incident triggered the change to tin-top racing, with Hills sighting driver protection and Mother’s orders as the primary reasons for the switch.
Finley Hills and Zac Raddatz – stars of the future whose progress we look forward to monitoring right throughout their maiden year in the V8 Superlaps NSW Production Touring Car Championship.
Zac Raddatz – Karting Achievements
|2016 NSW Karting Championship – Round 2||1st|
|2015 Combined Districts Kart Club Championship||1st|
|2013 South Australian Karting Championship||1st|
|2013 Queensland Karting Championship||2nd|
|2013 NSW Closed State Karting Championship||1st|
|2012 NSW Closed State Karting Championship||1st|