Press Release – Manukau Institute of Technology
A Honda Civic assembled from scratch by rookies has won the Honda Cup 1600 class.
Manukau Institute of Technology runs a year long Certificate in Motorsport for absolute beginners. Students are given the shell of a Honda wreck and over the course of the year learn all the necessary skills to transform it into a fully kitted out, race ready Honda Civic.
And this year, for the first time, some of the completed cars were entered in the Honda Cup.
To the thrill of all the students who worked on it, their lecturers and new owner Kevin Varney, one of the MIT-made cars won first place.
Mr Varney, who has bought three student-made Hondas so far, says it is testimony to the skills being taught that not only did the vehicle win, there was not a single break down or issue over the entire winter race series.
“It shows the quality of cars that are being produced. To win was just fantastic,” Mr Varney says.
MIT Motorsport lecturer Andrew Kiddie says many of the students come direct from school with an interest in motorsport but little practical knowledge.
By the end of the 36 week course they have acquired a broad range of skills needed to begin careers in the automotive trade including automotive mechanical and electrical engineering, fabrication, panel beating and painting.
The only thing the students don’t do is weld the roll cage (which they construct) into the vehicle.
Since the course began seven years ago, over 30 race cars have been constructed from wrecks supplied by Strongs Honda. They are so professionally finished that every single vehicle has been sold on completion,
First though, the students are given the opportunity to test their cars on a racetrack – an end of year highlight, Mr Kiddie says.
Kate Hyde-Richards, 19, is a current student and one of two women on the course. She became interested in cars after helping her father fix a blown gearbox.
“I thought ‘hey I’m really enjoying this’ and my old school, Tuakau College, suggested this course to me. I love it,” Kate says.
Kate will continue her studies after completing the Certificate in Motorsport Level 2 and plans to specialise in refinishing vehicles as it allows her to utilise her artistic skills.
Mr Kiddie says many graduating students continue in specialised study, others choose to go directly into apprenticeships or full time work within the industry.
Past students have gone on to work at Possum Bourne Motorsport, Repco and South Auckland Ford, to name a few.
Meanwhile this year’s students are in the final stages of assembling their Honda Civics. Five are being made, all have been presold and all have the potential to be champions.
MIT Motorsport is run from Pukekohe and is delivered by Alan Clarke, Andrew Kiddie and directed by Trevor Hennessy.