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Ayrton Hodson, 19, has topped the points table for the 2023 Elite Motorsport Academy to win the Ian Snellgrove trophy.

The prestigious trophy, awarded in memory of former MotorSport New Zealand General Manager and Academy trustee Ian Snellgrove, was presented to Hodson at the MotorSport New Zealand Awards Evening on Saturday.

Hodson was one of eight graduates of the 2023 Elite Motorsport Academy, a world-renowned for developing elite motorsport competitors.


The academy, administered by the MotorSport New Zealand Scholarship Trust, takes place annually and sees aspiring young motorsport competitors take part in a 12-month development program. 


The academy begins with a week in Dunedin at the Otago Academy of Sport where world-class tutors give participants lessons in the ‘off-track’ elements needed to make a career in motorsport such as nutrition, fitness, media, marketing, sponsorship, data analysis and more. At the end of the camp, a winner is determined based on performance during the week, but this accolade does not necessarily translate to being crowned the overall academy winner for the year.

Following the academy camp, participants complete a 12-month follow-up program tailored to them where they are assessed on their progress and performance to ultimately determine the overall academy winner. The class of 2023 was hotly contested, with just a few points separating the top four graduates.

“It’s really cool to be awarded the Ian Snellgrove Trophy,” said Hodson.

“The academy has been very valuable in the last 12 months for me and no doubt it will continue to pay dividends throughout my career.

“It’s been a blast. I’m really looking forward to seeing how everyone else progresses too.”

Wayne Christie, President of MotorSport New Zealand and trustee of the MotorSport New Zealand Scholarship Trust, says the class of 2023 again showed the immense amount of talent in the country.

“We had an incredibly high level of talent amongst the graduates which made for some extremely close competition,” said Christie.

“I want to congratulate Ayrton on behalf of all the Trustees for all his hard work and success in the academy programme.”

Kiwi legends such as Earl Bamber, Shane Van Gisbergen, Brendon Hartley and many more have attended this academy and have gone on to do great things. From the sheer fact over 90 applicants a year try to make the cut this was a huge achievement!

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