Hayden Paddon’s European dream remains on track after the announcement of a new company to help get him to next season’s Production World Rally Championship.
About two dozen people attended an informal meeting at Timaru’s Grosvenor Hotel conference room yesterday evening, where Paddon, along with co-directors Peter Swaney, Peter Anderson and Paddon’s father, Chris, announced the proposed share package for Hayden Paddon Rallysport Global Ltd.
The company is looking to sell 30 shares at €10,000(NZ$17,963), which can be paid in four instalments over the next 18 months, but Anderson explained the company was a “five-year plan”.
“Hayden is the best chance New Zealand has had in the sport for a long time.
“We are looking at possibly the future World Rally Championship winner here,” he said.
“But Hayden needs some serious horsepower to get him there, this is not going to happen overnight.”
Paddon has been offered a drive in the PWRC by RalliArt Italy but needs the cash to compete.Should he get the funds, the 23-year-old driver from Geraldine will race in the Sweden, Portugal, Finland, Australia Spain and Great Britain rallies.
He finished third overall in this year’s PWRC, but he said, considering the car he had, and what he had learnt, he had every chance of winning it next year.
“They knew that car wasn’t made to win it this year. I’m the harshest critic of myself, I know I can do even better.We will have a real good shot next year,” he said.
The company structure is very similar to what helped racing driver Scott Dixon start his international career, where shareholders were paid a percentage of Dixon’s winnings, until he bought the shares back, and Paddon said they would operate in a similar way.
Anderson explained that the company was looking for serious, big-time national sponsors with an eye to the European market, as well as similarly inclined people who wanted to buy the shares.
Paddon said the biggest battle would be getting enough people to pledge before the January 4 entry deadline for the PWRC.
Most of the people at yesterday’s meeting suggested various sponsors and contacts they could “connect with” to help Paddon realise his goal.
“That’s where we bite the bullet,” Paddon said. “By then we will know whether we have the traction to get this.We won’t need to have all of it, but we will need to have enough.”
But Paddon did not seem too fazed, although he admitted it was a “daunting” task. “As soon as you put on that racing helmet, nothing else matters. You’re completely focused.”
The team also have a fundrasier running through there website www.haydenpaddon.com where any donations, small or large will further help their 2011 campaign.