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Michels made a quick trip for a test with the Erebus Academy at Winton Motor Raceway in Victoria.
“Getting to drive a main game Supercar was really, really special and the feedback from the team was good,’’ Michels said.
‘‘They were pretty happy and I got a brilliant reference from Barry Ryan, the CEO of Erebus Motorsport.’’
The test has opened up an opportunity for Michels to compete in Super 3 in Australia, ideally taking part in a couple of rounds later this year.
“We are beginning to look for the support to do it. However, the last few years have been tough for everyone and finding the funding and support is tougher than ever.”
Michels had a breakthrough year in 2019, winning the New Zealand Formula 1600 Championship, after which benefactor Peter Williams purchased a Honda TCR FK7 car for the Southlander.
Michels used the car to win class B in the national endurance championship, and he also contested a round of the Australian TCR Championship.
He had a chance to drive in a support race at the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park in 2020 when Covid changed everything.
Michels returned home, and his racing activities have been confined to New Zealand ever since.
At the end of 2020, he defended his one-hour endurance title, and also shared a drive with Hayden Paddon in a Hyundai TCR car in the three-hour series.
“That was good, driving with a top driver like Hayden, and of course it helped my profile as well.”
Early last year, he was runner-up in the inaugural TCR NZ Championship, held over a single round at Highlands Motorsport Park.
With a lack of TCR racing in New Zealand on the horizon, Williams bought a MARC-built Ford Focus V8, which Michels raced to fourth place in the South Island endurance series.
Then, Terry Wyhoon of Image Racing — it competes in Super 2 and Super 3 in Australia — helped the Southland driver land the test with Erebus.
A successful outing at the test has allowed Michels the opportunity to again race across the Tasman, and he and his team are now pursuing the support to turn opportunity into reality.
- Staff reporter