Tony Austin (Ngāi Tahu) will make his debut in the Summerset GT New Zealand Championship this season aboard a Porsche 997 Cup Car when the season gets underway at Taupo on November 17-19.
No stranger to the Porsche, Austin has been running it successfully in the Pirelli Porsche New Zealand Championship, where he finished fourth last year, competing against another GT New Zealand entrant, Regan Scoullar.
“Regan and I had some good battles over the years. I managed to win two of the first five rounds, but I fell back in the final standings after missing the final two rounds due to other commitments.”
“The Summerset GT New Zealand Championship will be a big step up, we are running an older car and lower budget than most, so the goal will be to get up to speed quickly, focus on consistency and look to spring the odd surprise result against the faster, newer cars.”
For this season, the Austin entered Porsche will have a unique livery.
“Living overseas for many years helped deepen my connection to my Māori Whakapapa. Now based back home in NZ, the upcoming GT New Zealand Championship has spurred me to integrate the personal and professional into something really unique with the creation of Kaihau. An art car livery in Taniwha form, I developed and brought Kaihau to life in collaboration with Ariki Creative and Big Brown Industries. A being of the sky realm, Kaihau is my kaitiaki as I take on the competition this season.”
Outside of racing, Austin is co-founder and CSO of Partly, one of APAC’s fastest growing startups, creating next-generation parts e-commerce platforms to support some of the world's largest Auto Parts businesses.
“Partly was born in NZ, but we have employees and customers across the world, so we will also use our sponsorship of Kaihau to engage our partners across Australia, Europe, US as well as NZ.”