Christina is scheduled to race in her
first Indy Light open-wheel race at Kentucky
gridded 23rd. She spun near the end of the race and
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Birth date: Nov 2,
Home town: Whakatane
20 year old Christina Orr
has been racing since she was six, in Karts,
Formula Firsts, Formula Fords and now the Toyota
A driver who created
history, Christina Orr became the first woman to
win a Formula Ford podium with her third overall
placing at Pukekohe. She began he career in Formula
First where she constantly ran in the top three at
the age of 13! Now, four years on, she has the
opportunity to apply her obvious skills to the
hi-tech Toyota powered racing
Winner of the Manfeild
Winter Formula Ford Championship she runs in
theToyota Racing Series.
The only female competitor
in the New Zealand arm of the internationally
recognised Toyota Racing Series, Christina has
adapted well to this premier open wheel
With some excellent
results in the 2005 season, including a couple of
nail-biting efforts that saw the Whakatane teen
pushing hard and matching the series' top drivers,
Christina's season culminated in a respectable
seventh place overall.
In the first week of
September Christina attended a closed track test
event just for her at Manfield Raceway, Feilding.
Also in attendance was Mat Charles from Boxman,
Christina's main sponsor and Steve Butler from Be
Still/The Red Door.The purpose of the day was to
have Christina drive whilst being put under
different mental and emotional stresses to see how
she would cope, the end object being to build
mental and emotional competence for Christina prior
to the season beginning in November 2007.She drove
a tin top Nissan Z race car, a far cry from her
open wheel Formula Toyota. It was set up with in
car camera's and microphones to catch all of the
action.We also had Keith our camera man along
basically filming everything, in fact it was his
car we borrowed for the day. A bonus was Mat
getting to do 20 or so laps alongside Christina,
having been in a rally car before, this was a
completely different experience, and one thoroughly
Christina is scheduled to race in
her first Indy Light open-wheel race at Kentucky
Steady start for Orr at
Kiwi Christina Orr had a steady start to her maiden
outing in the Firestone Indy Lights series.
Qualifying 24th with limited track time on an oval
she will start with more confidence in tomorrows
Ana Beatriz, third in the standings in the No.
20 Healthy Choice/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car, tied
her season high by qualifying second (56.0219;
190.211). Her other front-row start on an oval
resulted in a trip to Victory Circle at Nashville
"We just keep improving the car," Beatriz said.
"We have put ourselves in a position that I think
we can get a second win, but we will have to
improve the car before the race because the
Andretti Green car is really fast. I have to thank
my Sam Schmidt team for teaching me all they know
about ovals. They are very experienced in ovals. I
am pleased to be starting on the front row because
it is very hard to pass here. I just need to find a
way to get around Raphael."
Orr to race at Kentucky
This weekend we are at the Kentucky Speedway.
Christina Orr will be making her debut in the
latest round of the Firestone Indy Lights
championship, the Kentucky 100. Its great
because she will be the fifth Kiwi to compete in
the series this season ( including Wade & Mitch
Cunningham, Marc Williams and Jonny Reid).
Im looking forward to it because for the
limited testing that she did two weeks ago at
Kentucky she showed extraordinary confidence for
her first time on an oval. She drove as though
there were no walls around her which shows great
Zealand Racer Will Join Growing Kiwi Racing Force
in Firestone Indy Lights Series
Another New Zealand racer is preparing to join the
Firestone Indy Lights series.
Twenty-one year old Christina Orr tested at
rural Putnam Park east of Indianapolis last week,
earning kudos from one of the Indy Racing League's
most-respected authorities on Kiwi racing prodigy:
Mr. Ron Dixon.
"Christina Orrs test went very, very
well," said Dixon in his weekly blog entry for
"Christina was testing an Indy Lights single seater
at Putnam Park road (circuit) course just outside
of Indianapolis earlier in the week."
"She went out there and started doing 1:11
second laps (the track record is just under a
minute). Each time she went out she reduced it more
and more, ending up at the end of the day in the
"If we took her back a day later I believe that
she would have been in the 1:01's."
According to Dixon the Kiwi hopeful will earn
her oval racing license in July. It's unclear if
she'll see competition in the waning rounds of
2008, or use the summer prep to advance onto the
Indy Lights grid in 2009.
"It (the Indy Lights Dallara six-speed V-8) is
not an easy car to drive and there is a lot more
horse power than she is used to," continued Dixon,
"but at the end of the day you couldnt get
the smile off her face."
Orr Ready to Challenge International Field of
Orr proved a quick learner by taking the wheel
of a Formula First machine at the wee age of twelve
years and winning the winter round of racing, then
finishing second in the year's overall
championship. Her move into Formual First was
preceded by six years of racing karts.
She turned heads with her skills in Toyota
Racing during only her second full season behind
the wheel, earning a fifth-place standing in the
Christina will join the Cunningham brothers
(Mitchell and Wade) at Brian Stewart Racing,
recently signed Jonny Reid at Integra Motorsports,
and second-year man Marc Williams of Alliance
Motorsports in a five-way Kiwi force that is
finding American shores quite favorable to their
Ron Dixon is father of New Zealand IndyCar
Series star and 2008 Indianapolis 500 champion
Scott Dixon, and an Indy Lights Racing series
spotter on race weekends.
Orr confident for TRS
Teenager Christina Orr, the only female TRS driver,
is looking forward to improved results at the
international rounds of the championship in early
Bad luck and bad weather have hindered the
Whakatane 18-year-old's progress so far in the
series, with an errant bolt working loose and
putting paid to an otherwise excellent showing in
round one at Pukekohe, and problems with her new
race seat, which contributed to braking
difficulties through the tight infield section at
And when the third race at Ruapuna was cancelled
due to atrocious weather conditions, her ambitions
for the weekend ground to a halt.
Since then, Mark Petch Motorsport has worked
closely with Christina to solve the seat
"The issues that I was having with the seat were
really slowing me down," she admitted.
"But I'm pretty confident with the changes that
have been made that I can go a lot faster. I'm
looking forward to the internationals, and know
that I will be able to post a much better result
The abandoned third race from round two will
also be run over the January 5-7 weekend, making a
total of four races for the Toyota Racing Series at
the next Christchurch meeting.
Christina is currently in 12th place in the TRS
championship points, after two rounds.
Orr out to redeem poor
Christina Orr is hoping her team can come back from
a disastrous start to the Toyota Racing Series at
Zoom We really shot ourselves in the foot,
and I guess we need to be more careful with our
preparation, the Bay of Plenty driver said
this week. The shock absorbers (used in
practice) on our car were the old model and
They were replaced by the correct units for the
race, but with no testing on them, the cars
set-up was astray.
Mark Petch Motorsport is providing the car and
its transportation to and from the circuits free,
but the Orr family and their sponsors are paying to
run the Tatuus single seater. The change to new
shock absorbers was something they hadnt
Coming over the hill (at Pukekohe)
youre flat and hooking sixth and the car
wanted to turn left instead of right. I guess it
knocked my confidence and ruined it for the rest of
Craig Russell, who ran the AutoMotion team in
last seasons TRS, is providing data
acquisition and assessment services to the team
this season, and the need to set up the car to suit
the new shocks in the qualifying sessions hurt
Orrs race results.
Theres a lot of pressure to perform placed
on Orrs young shoulders this season.
Generally regarded as New Zealands fastest
female racing driver, she realises she needs to
achieve results for her career to maintain
When you see the way the top teams have
things ironed out and you know this is the year you
have to succeed, its hard when you start to
think youre not going to have the goods to do
that, she said.
I win, tales I lose
AMAZINGLY, the driver in the white helmet in
this dramatic photograph out of New Zealand
survived, the wheel of the airborne vehicle coming
within centimetres of her head in what could have
been a tragic end to the race.
But not only did 19-year-old Kiwi driver
Christina Orr live to tell the tale, but she did so
with a vengeance, later lashing out at the driver
of the other vehicle, saying it was his bad driving
that caused it all because he wasn't watching what
he was doing. Which will send some shudders through
motor sport in Australia, particularly around
Camden, NSW, because the driver, 24-year-old Barton
Mawer, hails from there.
"He can go back to Australia. He's not even in
our championship," stormed Orr, who got caught up
in the tangle of cars as she slowed down to enter
the pits during lap six of the race at Manfeild in
Feilding, on NZ's North Island.
But here's the sting. In what amounted to
another tangle, one of the local reporters who
covered the event got his wires crossed in his
newspaper report yesterday, naming the offending
driver not as Mawer, but as Melbourne-based Lucas
Dumbrell, younger brother of V8 supercar star Paul
Dumbrell. The only trouble was that, although
Lucas, a 17-year-old Trinity Grammar student, was
originally listed for the event, when the race was
run, he was back in Australia, competing in
Wakefield Park, in country NSW.
POOR Lucas Dumbrell still copped it though, the
paper accusing him (instead of Mawer) of being
totally to blame for the crash that left Orr badly
shaken and the car with $20,000 worth of damage.
"The Australian drove clean over the top of me,"
Orr was quoted as saying. "He was not watching what
he was doing. Everyone else behind me knew I was
coming into the pits. There was a white flag out
for a slow car on the track. If he'd backed off,
his rear wheel could have ended up in my cockpit."
What really peeved Orr, though, was that the
offending driver didn't even say sorry. Whether
Mawer eventually does offer an apology remains to
be seen but in the meantime, we reckon another one
is pending this time not to Orr but to the
young Melbourne bloke who wasn't even there but got
blamed for it all.
Whakatane teenager Christina Orr started karting
at the age of six and moved up to circuit racing in
the Formula First class while only 12 years old.
She quickly became a front runner and still holds
the Formula First lap record at Manfeild. After
moving into Formula Fords at age 16, Christina
became rookie of the year then went on to become
the first and only woman to finish on the podium
(top three) in the New Zealand history of Formula
Ford (Pukekohe 2004). She then capped off a great
season by taking victory in the Manfeild Winter
Christina was a revelation last season by
regularly running at the front end of a high
quality field of cars which at times have numbered
as many as 21. Her best result was at Round Seven
(Taupo) where she finished the weekend fourth
overall after qualifying third and backing it up
with an outstanding second place in Race Two.
Having demonstrated her ability to adapt quickly to
new circuits, she has indicated her ability to fill
regular top three placings.
2004 Toyota Racing Series Driver
2004 5th overall in NZ Championship
2003 Elite Academy of Sport Scholarship
2000 Formula Ford Rookie of the Year
1998 Formula First Steel Trophy Winner
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©1996-2019 by of Gordon Clay