June 5, 2020
Kiwi rally star Hayden Paddon has teamed up with gamer Kyle Robertson and designer Jack Hintz to create the Hyundai NZ global online rally series for challengers all over the world.
A drive in Paddon’s actual rally car, the Hyundai i20 AP4, plus a cash prize of $NZ 500 are up for grabs for the overall champion (with the test drive limited to a New Zealand or Australian participant.) A swag of other prizes like Paddon Rallysport merchandise and WinmaX brakes are ready for the teams’ champions, spot prizes and the WinmaX ‘best moment’ winner.
The four round series utilises the DiRT Rally 2.0 game which can be played on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and personal computers. Starting at a virtual running of Rally USA on 12 June, the series heads to Europe for round two in late June with a two-leg virtual rally using rally stages in Finland and Poland. In July, the third event will be played in Spain and the series wraps up with a simulated running of Rally New Zealand in August. The series utilises R5 4WD cars and includes both an individual competition and a teams’ competition, with teams required to register by 10 June to be eligible.
Paddon joins Robertson and Hintz as competitors in the online rally series.
“It’s been great to see online simulation racing grow in popularity in recent months,” says Paddon from Paddon Rallysport’s base at Highlands in Cromwell. “It’s a great way to interact with new and existing motorsport fans, and a particularly good way to get some new young people involved.
“Together with Hyundai New Zealand, we thought there was a great opportunity to put together a small series where you can win a drive in our actual rally car – a world first for a rally game. Teaming up with Kyle and Jack, we have set up the Hyundai NZ global online rally series to make sure it’s enjoyable and rewarding for all players, no matter their level or part of the world.”
Of his own chances in the virtual rally competition, Paddon says: “Let’s just say I find driving a simulator harder than the real car, so plenty of people will be able to beat me! But it’s hugely enjoyable and I’m looking forward to it.”
Ashburton-based Kyle Robertson will compete in the teams’ competition with Jack Hintz and three other friends.
“As an organiser and competitor, I’m excited about the series getting underway. Hayden, Jack and I have had a lot to work through in a short space of time, and I think adding teams’ championship brings an exciting new dimension to this kind of eSport. Jack and I have recruited a great team and we’ll be taking the fight to the Paddon Rallysport team! In earlier events, we’ve seen incredibly close stage times between our teams’ drivers and especially between me, Hayden and Jack. There’s definitely a battle for bragging rights ahead!”
Jack Hintz, of Inglewood, adds: “It has been amazing to see how sim racing has flourished during these tough times we have been facing. This has been an exciting project to work on with an incredible opportunity up for grabs thanks to Hayden, Hyundai New Zealand and his sponsors. I’m looking forward to seeing the Hyundai NZ global online rally series take off and us all enjoying some good fun racing in these coming months.”
The New Zealand companies who back Paddon Rallysport will gain considerable brand awareness through the ongoing social media coverage of the virtual rally series. Hyundai New Zealand feature as the ‘naming rights sponsor’ and Z Energy, Gravity Internet, YES Power and Bailey Caravans and Motorhomes feature as ‘event sponsors’. WinmaX has put up sets of brake pads as prizes and bonus points are to be awarded to the fastest three drivers on each event’s specified ‘Ben Nevis Station power stage’.
Gamers are invited to share their stories from each rally on the Hyundai NZ Global Rally Series Facebook page, and encouraged to use #PaddonRallyOnline when posting on social media.
Full details and points-tables for the Hyundai NZ Global Rally Series can be found on the Paddon Rallysport website: https://paddonrallysport.co.nz/dirt/