New Zealand racer Peter Vodanovich will focus his efforts on home soil after being forced to withdraw from this weekend’s Super3 grid because of strong border restrictions.

The 19-year old from Auckland was scheduled to make his debut under the Erebus Academy with the team’s affiliate Image Racing this weekend, though due to COVID-19, he must now remain in New Zealand.

“It’s really unfortunate we’re unable to compete for the Championship, though I am still really hopeful to get over to Australia for the last two rounds,” Vodanovich said.

“Erebus has been great about the border challenges and we are hopeful another opportunity will come up in Australia at some stage later in the year.

“I am very grateful for the opportunity and thankful all our hard work has paid off, and excited to see what I can achieve under the Erebus Academy banner when things align.”

Vodanovich has established himself as one of New Zealand’s best up and coming talents, and interestingly took an alternate path of racing simulators as he made his way through, rather than the traditional route of karting.

With less than four years behind the wheel, the 2018 Elite Motorsport Academy Winner is currently leading the New Zealand Toyota 86 Championship as the category gets ready for the final round in September.

“Many of the New Zealand classes called their Championships early, but we are still lucky enough to have the opportunity to finish the job,” he said.

The final round was originally scheduled for March, though like all motorsport, was postponed due to COVID-19.

“We had a lot of momentum coming into the final round after our great success at Manfeild, coming from behind to now lead the Championship.”

Vodanovich overcame an overheating issue in the first race at Pukekohe late last year but that didn’t hold him back. He has gone on to secure a podium in every race since; including five race wins and additional six podium finishes.

“The delay for the final round means we have been able to take the opportunity to test more at Hampton Downs,’’ he said.

“We have a lot of track days planned to try a few different things and take this delay as an opportunity to further master the track and car.”

Acknowledging the challenges Vodanovich has been faced with, Erebus CEO Barry Ryan spoke highly of the aspiring racer and his positive attitude.

“Similar to Anton, Peter was introduced to us by Paul Morris and we’ve seen what a determined young man he is, as well as a standout racer,” Ryan said.

“Like all aspects of motorsport, things don’t always go to plan, but Peter can learn from this experience.

“He has shown he isn’t afraid to forge his own path as he did by racing simulators. That has paid off for him and he hasn’t let a set- back in the first round of the Toyota 86 this year affect him at all. In fact, to see his results since then, they’ve been outstanding, and we look forward to seeing what he can achieve in the future.”

The Super2 and Super3 grids will merge this weekend, with Erebus Academy recruit Jack Sipp competing with familiar names Jordan Boys and Will Brown.