Hayden Paddon wins Waimate 50 on debut in his electric rally car

Source: 1News

Haydon Paddon’s taken out the Waimate-50 Horsepower Hill Climb on debut in his electric rally car.

It was an outing two years, and 10000-odd hours in the making. And one Paddon admits made him “a little nervous”.

“I don’t usually (get nervous) before an event, but certainly more butterflies before this one and a little more pressure because it’s a team rather than myself,” he said.

Unfortunately, no spectators could attend this year’s event which was moved from the streets, to the gravel as a result of Covid 19.

Organiser Rob Aikman was thrilled to have Paddon involved and advocating for one the country’s longest-standing events.

“it’s absolutely amazing for Kiwi ingenuity to be put on the world stage, and it’s history for us too so we’re over the moon,” he said.

Team Paddon consistently posted the fastest run times on the track, which weaves 4km up hill. The Hyundai Kona EV topped speeds of 180 km/ph.

“it’s promising the car’s so competitive straight out the blocks,” said Paddon.

“We know we’re no-where near the capabilities of the car and the technology yet, and that’s what excites me the most”.

It hasn’t been an easy journey for Paddon Rallysport, who created a world-first out of a ‘blank piece of paper’.

“At the end of the day, we’re putting our eggs in one basket for this and it’s where we believe the future of the industry is going and you’ve got to accept that, so we’re trying to adapt and this is our answer,” said Hayden.

Though it has copped its fair share of criticism, particularly over the difference to the sound of the vehicle.

“it is different, and the sound we have now won’t be the one we end up with because it’s a prototype and a starting point.”

Paddon also noted the sound is not only important from a safety aspect, but for entertainment.

“At the end of the day I’m a petrol head as well; I love motorsport but I also love technology, going fast and innovation,” He said.

Paddon Rallysport are waiting on a brand-new battery that has been delayed due to Covid, but once it arrives (hopefully early next year) Paddon said it’ll “open up a whole new performance”.

In the meantime, the team hope to compete at more domestic events, Covid permitting, before hopefully getting overseas in the not-too-distant future.

“For a small team of seven guys in Cromwell, I feel very proud,” said Paddon.