Paddon’s Pack



Hayden Paddon

Hayden is New Zealand’s most successful rally driver, winning 1 WRC rally, 8 WRC podiums, over 40 WRC stage victories, PWRC World Champion, 5 time New Zealand Rally Champion along with many other national accolades. Together with Hyundai New Zealand, Hayden has developed a support network that allows fans to be involved and get behind the scenes updates as they happen. Check out Hayden’s personal website and join his Paddon’s Pack at – 

Paddon Rallysport

Started in 2006 by Hayden and Chris Paddon, Paddon Rallysport has now grown to be one of New Zealand’s most successful rally teams. Since 2014 a close association with Hyundai NZ was built to now lay the foundations for the Hyundai New Zealand Rally Team, run and managed by Paddon Rallysport.

Long term the vision is for Paddon Rallysport to develop new technology in the world of Motorsport and take a 100% Kiwi team around the world to win!

Paddon Rallysport also specialise in brake pads, thanks to a close working relationship with Winmax Brakes in Japan. Dating back to 2013, Hayden has been working closely in the testing and development of brake pads and the team at Paddon Rallysport have a thorough knowledge of brake pads for anything from club racing/rallying right up to WRC and endurance race level. Competitive pricing means customers get a premium product at a fraction of the cost.

Paddon Rallysport’s new 500sqm workshop and HQ based at Highlands Motorsport Park, Cromwell, New Zealand, is a spectacular backdrop for a motorsport team, with the international spec 4.3km race track on the back door step.

Paddon's Pack - the official supporters club

Some of Paddon Rallysport
key achievements:

  • 5x New Zealand Rally Champions
  • Helped Hyundai New Zealand to achieve first-ever manufacturers title for Hyundai anywhere in the world
  • Propelled Hayden Paddon on to WRC level through national championship rallying and Pirelli star driver scholarship.
  • 95% finishing rate over 12 years in NZ events
  • New Zealand’s most successful Rally team


Being a rally or race driver does not necessary mean big budgets and the fastest cars. It means having fun, enjoying the driving from club level all the way to national, and there be a measurable progression forward through different classes and levels. Find out all you need to know below.


Being a rally or race driver does not necessary mean big budgets and the fastest cars. It means having fun, enjoying the driving from club level all the way to national, and there be a measurable progression forward through different classes and levels. First of all there are two key components before you can drive in your first event

Driver requirements

In New Zealand you have to be over the age of 12 to obtain a motorsport license. At this stage you are restricted on what events you can do as you will be unable to do any public road events – more circuit or paddock type events (autocross, Motorkhana, sprints etc).

  • First you need to buy a car club membership. There are many different clubs all around New Zealand, and all you have to do is contact the club closest to you and ask to join. They will be more than helpful. You can see the full list of car clubs here:
  • Once you have your car club membership you will need a motorsport license. To obtain this you will need to call Motorsport NZ (Wellington phone number (04) 815 8015) and ask them to send you a motorsport manual book. You will then need to study some aspects of this, particularly the safety aspects of the events, responses to emergencies and the running of events (which ever form of motorsport you wish to participate in).
  • Once you have studied, contact your car club to ask to sit your license test. They will help you arrange the details of where/when to sit your test. You will also need to take along a completed motorsport license application form which you can find at this link:
  • Once you have passed your test and sent your application form (postal details on the application form) along with the applicable fee, you are ready to go.
  • If you are wanting to compete in a 1 off event to see if it is for you, you can purchase a 1 day/event motorsport license if you carry a civil drivers license. To do this, contact your local car club using the above information/link.

Driver equipment

To start with club events you will need some basic driver equipment. You will need a helmet, driver overalls and I would recommend driving boots and gloves. I would also recommend a full set of nomex race underwear, which, while is not compulsory for most forms of club/regional motorsport, is an extra layer of safety in case of fire. There are several suppliers around New Zealand although I recommend (Auckland), (Wellington) or (Christchurch) who have equipment for club competitors all the way through to the gear we use at International level. They, or anyone else will be more than helpful with what you need.


This is obviously one of the key components and you don’t need a fast 4WD/turbo car to start with like some people think. My first car was a Mini that I brought for $500. It was our intention to have a slower car that I could learn to ‘out drive’ rather than having a faster car that drove me. And no matter what car, you will always have fun.

For club level events, such as: Motorkhana’s/Autocross and some sprints, a general purpose road car can be used without the need for a rollcage (ask Mum nicely for her car maybe). Obviously we would recommend all safety equipment such as roll cages, seats and harnesses, but to start with you can use your daily car. To do this you will need a fire extinguisher mounted to the passenger floor at minimum and a car in WOF condition.
If you are looking to buy a club/starter car, I would recommend a 2WD car (RWD for fun, FWD for speed/future driver development). General websites such as Trademe are a good starting point, but also speaking to your local car club, as they will know what different competitors are doing within their club.
To start in full rallies, I would recommend starting with regional rallies/championships. If you have a club car that has a log book and authority card (all obtainable through, current WOF and reg, then you can use this same car for rallies.

If you are building a rally car, some key areas that must be correct in order to get the car certified from Motorsport NZ:

  • A car that can be registered for road use, correct chassis numbers, etc.
  • Fitment of approved design rollcage (can be found in Motorsport manual or online) and fitted correctly. Once fitted, photos and roll cage papers must be submitted to Motorsport NZ for approval. Once approved, you can apply for your logbook, which you need to be able to obtain an authority card.
  • Correct spec seats and harnesses(if building club car, SFI or FIA spec is suitable, if building a national class car stricter rules apply, which can be found in the motorsport manual).
  • All the above then needs to be listed and approved to apply for your authority card.

To have your car eligible for rallies, you must have current:

  • Registration
  • Warrant of fitness
  • Logbook
  • Authority card
  • Compliance (if classic car or modifications have been made as per LTSA law)

If you are building a rally car on a budget and plan to make modifications 1 step at a time, my opinion on the order of importance would be:

  • Mudflaps and underbody protection
  • Racing/performance brake pads and fluid (high temp fluid)
  • Good used or new rally tyres
  • Suspension, or at very least better springs
  • Limited slip diff
  • Close ratio gearbox
  • Engine (important but for me last on the list, first and foremost the car must handle well)

Safety is paramount and I would strongly recommend good seats, belts and helmet. I also use a HANS device, which while a little more expensive, is a very good investment for the well being of the driver and co-driver in case of an accident. There are also other neck restraint systems on the market which could be explored.

Types of events

These events you can use a normal road car or a competition car for:

Motorkhana is a cheap and enjoyable form of motorsport where you can use any vehicle and it is primarily a test of driver skill. Events are normally held on smooth grass or tarseal with the driver having to negotiate a set course at low speed. Penalties apply for going the wrong way, hitting markers, etc.

Autocross is the ideal environment in which to learn or improve car control skills. A circuit is usually laid out (using hay bales or plastic cones) on a large grass, tarseal or gravel area and competitors compete individually at speed against the clock.

Sprints (Basic)
Sprints are a relatively inexpensive form of motorsport and yet very competitive. Sprints are a test of the vehicle’s performance and the driver’s ability to control the vehicle. Competitors must be a member of a Member Club or Associate Member Club.
Standing Sprint (Single Car) – held on either country roads or on a permanent drag strip.
Circuit Sprint (Single Car) – this is a good event if you would like an introduction to what racing can be like.

For the below events you would need a club level or full competition car:

Hillclimbs are generally the highest form of motorsport that can be competed in using a normal road car. The finish line must be at a higher altitude than the start line, and the course must be mostly uphill, on a private or public road, with either a gravel or tarseal surface. Hillclimbs are generally classed as high speed events, where competitors compete individually against the clock.

Rally Sprint
Rally sprints are for vehicles prepared for rallies. They are held on closed road venues with the course being limited to a maximum of 10km. The course, and the way it is organised, is the same as for a rally special stage and gives the competitors the opportunity to both practice the skills and acquire the knowledge required for rallying. The winner of a rally sprint is the competitor who takes the least amount of time to complete the course. Your vehicle must comply with Motorsport Schedule R, and a co-driver is required, who must also adhere to the Club Sport requirements.

Sprints are a relatively inexpensive form of motorsport and yet very competitive. All sprints are a test of the vehicle’s performance and the driver’s ability to control the vehicle. The winner is the competitor with the fastest time and speed over a measured distance.
Bent Sprint (Single Car) – Run on a road course (gravel or sealed) which has at least one bend or curve.
Circuit Sprint (Dual Car) – Run on a sealed circuit. Paired cars may be started at intervals of 5 seconds or more and this is a good introduction to racing, but with less risk then a race meeting.
Circuit Sprint (Multi Car) – Run on a sealed circuit. This is your best introduction to a “real” race situation. You and five other cars compete in a short race with a grid start.

All this leads to the 2 ultimate types events for motorsport in New Zealand, rallying and/or circuit racing. You would need to do some of the above events first to learn the basics of how events run and driving your car, before starting your first rally or race meeting.

Funding your passion


This is a key element, however motorsport does not need to be expensive, particularly at club level. Your biggest expenses will be starting up and this will depend on how much you want to initially invest. As a rough estimation, if you are starting with nothing (not including the car) approx. costs could be:

Car club membership and motorsport licenses, $120-$250 (depending on age)
Safety equipment (minimum helmet and overalls), $300-$1,000 (depending on what level of equipment you want)

If you are using your road car, or a starter club car, that you already have, then you may use 1 set of tyres every 3-4 events, and maybe use 10-20 liters of fuel per event. Entry fees can be as little as $20 for paddock type events. Within car clubs they will have championships that you can compete in, which would include a series of smaller club events. You could do a full 6-8 event club championship for as little as $500, if you don’t break your car. If you break your car, you may be walking to work on Monday 

Of course sponsorship is one way to fund your hobby and the best place to start with all this is to set yourself up and be ready to compete. This way people will see you are serious and have dedicated time to your hobby. Secondly, I would start by talking with people you know who may know someone else (2 degrees of separation in NZ). To get a company to invest in you, you need to show them value for money. When I started racing, I approached local businesses in my home town of Geraldine and sold my story and dream. We got 13 businesses on board at $100 each (which to them was not a lot) which funded a whole season for me in the Mini. While at club level it is debatable how much value you can offer companies, it is also about creating the feel good factor and making the given company proud of being involved with you. This can be generated by ride days, invitations to join you at events and really let them share the experience with you.

I would, at minimum, put together a 1 page proposal, outlining who you are, your season’s goals, what you will do for them (name on car, displays, hand out promotional items) and costs. But with costs, make sure you give them options. Sponsorship is about providing something that suits that particular person, or company and this is different for everyone, which is why you need options. This is very basic, but if you can get a foot in the door and build a relationship, then it could lead to bigger things as you progress forward in the sport.

Now you are ready to go have fun and go sideways. Remember to always stay safe, and there will always be plenty of people within your car club that will help. There will also be a social side to the club, where you will be able to socialize and create lifetime friends. Enjoy!


So you want to be involved in the car, but don’t think you have the knack of driving. Well then co-driving could be for you. In fact, before I drove I co-drove my father for several years and the adrenalin rush and pure excitement was second to none. Like drivers, you can co-drive from the age of 12.

Starting out co-driving

  • Like a driver, you will need to obtain a car club license and motorsport license first (see 1. Driver tab above)
  • Study the motorsport manual on how rallies work and run. As a co-driver it is important you understand how events run and what does/could happen on event.
  • Within the motorsport manual you will also see examples on how timecards look and work (the single biggest controlling factor to a rally). It is important that you fully understand how timecards work.
  • I would suggest starting on ‘blind’ rallies, and by this I mean events where there are no pace notes. This will then help you to learn how rallies run and you get time to focus on the time-keeping side of things. On ‘blind rallies’ you are given a route book with diagrams that you follow at major junctions (with the aid of a tripmeter) to get to/from stages, while in the stages junctions and cautioned sections are also included, so you can warn your driver of them. Then, after a while, you may want to progress to national type rallies where there are pace notes supplied. There is no trick on how you read pace notes, it is a timing thing that you need to keep doing and work on with your driver to get it right. There is no right or wrong way (as long as you call the correct corners).
  • Later, when your driver is ready, you can progress to writing your own pace notes during a limited reconnaissance of the competitive stages on full National or International events. This is where you drive over the open stages in a road car at normal road speed or below, usually in a convoy the day before the rally, and the driver describes what he sees. The co-driver writes this down in their own shorthand as the pace notes and this information is then read back on the rally as the drivers own pace notes.

Co-driver equipment

  1. Current motorsport license and car club membership (as per driver)
  2. Approved helmet and overalls (for the level of rallying you are doing ie, club vs national). Race boots are not nessecary, but are reccomended as they are fire proof.
  3. The same goes for race underwear.
  4. Stop watch or wrist watch.
  5. Pens and pencils (plenty, you will loose them).
  6. Co-driver bag or duffle bag to put books, rally organisational things in.

How to find a driver to co-drive for?

After joining your local car club, I would then ask the representatives of the car club who may know people looking for a co-driver, or go along to a hill climb or small event and start meeting some of the drivers. At some stage they will be doing rallies, and sometimes there is a shortage of co-drivers. Once you start co-driving and gaining experience, you could then promote your availaibity on social media and you never know who might just read your post.

Team personnel/Mechanic

Motorsport is a team sport, and the team personnel and mechanics for each team play a pivotal role. Being involved with a team is a great way to be involved in motorsport and to feel a part of the action. This would be one of the easiest ways to get involved in motorsport. Although you do not have to be a member of a car club, or have a motorsport license, I would still recommend joining a car club, so that you can stay up to date with events and meet people in the right circles.


How to get involved with a team?

  • I would attend local car club events. Most local club drivers/teams will have little or no crew, and every little bit of help will be appreciated by most competitors. It would be a matter of making yourself known and offering help where you think it looks like it’s needed. From there, you could build relationships and start building yourself a reputation within the club.
  • Being involved with a team does not necessarily mean just helping during events, it could also mean helping prepare car/service vehicles prior to and after events. It’s also a great social circle to be involved in.
  • In New Zealand most team personnel/mechanics will donate their time with their expenses being paid. But what better way to travel, watch motorsport and be part of a team! Of course there are opportunities both within New Zealand and around the world to be involved in professional teams, so if this is something you would like to pursue, you will need some sort of motor trade qualifications and experience behind you. Hyundai Motorsport are regularly employing new staff.


Volunteers are the heart of our sport and go massively under the radar. Without the thousands of volunteers in NZ, there would be no motorsport and all drivers/teams are fully aware and appreciative of how much volunteers are needed to enable our sport to continue. There are many different volunteer positions involved in motorsport, from admin, marshals, safety, recovery, timing, running of events, setting up events etc., and there is no such thing as too many volunteers, so you are promised that there will always be opportunities. What better way to have a sense of accomplishment than to be a part of a successful motorsport event, witnessing people enjoying themselves and being up close and personal with the action.


How can you get involved?

  • Although not essential, I would recommend joining your local car club (see link above). By doing this it would give you an introduction to the club and also keep you up to speed with happenings within the club.
  • Contact the secretary or club caption of your car club and offer your services for any upcoming events. I’m sure they will gratefully accept your offer and although they may not give you answers on the spot, leave your details with them and they will come back to you.
  • If you want to be involved in the medical, safety or recovery aspects of volunteering, then there may be some license/training requirements needed, for which your local car club will be able to point you in the right direction. Information can also be found on

Quick web links for all information

The above are some of the main aspects of how you could get involved in motorsport and are solely based on our opinions/knowledge. 

Official, up-to-date information should be sort and can be found at any of the following links.

Motorsport NZ (Governing body) –

List of NZ Motorsport clubs –

Motorsport NZ license application forms –

Motorsport NZ authority card application form –

Motorsport NZ logbook application form –

South Canterbury Car Club (Hayden’s club) –

Ashburton Car Club (the club Hayden started in) –

Chicane Racewear (Race equipment, Auckland) –

Racetech (Race equipment, Wellington) –

Palmside (Race equipment, Christchurch) –

Purchase competition car –

International car purchases –

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