James Penrose wins 2021 Elite Motorsport Academy
Christchurch racer James Penrose has topped the points table for the 2021 Elite Motorsport Academy to win the Ian Snellgrove trophy. Penrose, who also won the academy camp last July, continued his form during the follow-up 12-month development program to win the overall Elite Motorsport Academy honours.
The prestigious trophy, awarded in memory of former MotorSport New Zealand General Manager and Academy trustee Ian Snellgrove, will be presented to Penrose at the MotorSport New Zealand Awards Evening in July.
Penrose was one of eight graduates of the 2021 Elite Motorsport Academy, 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 2021 was hotly contested, with just a few points separating the top four graduates.
Penrose, a former NZ Formula Ford Champion, was humbled by the announcement and looks forward to putting what he has learnt into practice.
“It’s a huge achievement for me,” said Penrose.
“The academy is world-renowned, and I know there are a lot of motorsport competitors all over the globe that would love to be able to go through this program. I’m incredibly humbled to be announced as the winner among eight very talented drivers.
“Everything I’ve learnt is incredibly valuable and has helped make me a more well-rounded driver. I’m really looking forward to putting it all into practice and seeing where it helps take my career.”
Wayne Christie, President of MotorSport New Zealand and trustee of the MotorSport New Zealand Scholarship Trust, says the class of 2021 was one of the most competitive and high-calibre the program has seen.
“After not being able to hold the academy in 2020, there was a lot of pent-up excitement for the 2021 edition and it did not disappoint,” commented Christie.
“We had an incredibly high level of talent amongst the graduates which made for some extremely close competition. I want to congratulate James on behalf of all the Trustees for his well-earned success in the academy program, I’m sure he has a bright future ahead of him.”
The 2022 class of the Elite Motorsport Academy will be announced on Thursday.