Rising Tauranga kart racer

(Left to right) Iver Spence, Nico Thomasen and Ryan Healey. Photo: DJ Mills Shutter Media Group.

At 9 years old, Tauranga kart racer Nico Thomasen is showing a lot of potential and a bright future.

Nico’s mum, Shannon Thomasen, says he is undecided about whether he wants to be an F1, NASCAR, IndyCar or V8 Supercars driver when he’s older.

Shannon says it’s every little boy’s dream to be an F1 driver and the Netflix series Formula 1: Drive to Survive excites all the kids. “It’s very glorified,” she says.

“We took him to the V8s on the weekend and when he saw them in real life, and he was like ‘Wow, these are pretty cool’.

Nico Thomasen. Photo: DJ Mills Shutter Media Group.

“Then he and his friend Sebastian were talking to somebody in the stands and they said ‘Oh do you boys race?’ and Nico said ‘Oh yeah, we race karts’ and she asked ‘Well what do you want to do when you’re older?’ and Nico goes, “I’d like to be an F1 driver, but IndyCars looks pretty cool, or V8′s, I could probably do anything’.”

“Nico started racing karts when he was 6 years old, he’s now 9 and doing really well.”

Nico’s dad, Ben Thomasen, is also a motorsport jack of all trades and Shannon says Nico is following in his father’s footsteps when it comes to motorsport.

Nico Thomasen with dad Ben Thomasen. Photo: Shannon Thomasen.

“Dad’s a pretty big inspiration, but also Shane van Gisbergen’s a huge idol of his, Scott McLaughlin and then probably Max Verstappen.”

Ben raced in a variety of motorsports, starting in motocross, then to drifting, back into motocross and then off-roading before getting into rallying; now, he’s Nico’s mentor.

He had a successful career in motorsport, but iss no longer racing, says Shannon. “As much as he would like to be. He’s still got his rally car, but it’s just been sitting in the shed ‘for a rainy day’.”

“Ben also has a Kart and does the odd bit here and there, but mostly it’s all about Nico now,” Shannon says with a laugh.

(Left to right) Iver Spence, Ryan Healey and Nico Thomasen on the podium. Photo: DJ Mills Shutter Media Group.

Nico’s recent success

After Nico’s team manager decided to quit a few weeks before nationals, Nico was pretty gutted, but a family friend, Nikki Gibbs, designed him some new shirts and his mum, dad and little sister Talia headed down south having a lot of success.

“The National Sprint Champs was held at Kartsport Marlborough in Blenheim over Easter weekend,” says Shannon.

“It’s a three-day event with practice and qualifying on Friday, three heat races on Saturday, and pre-final and final (winner takes all) on Sunday.

“Nico was consistently the fastest on track in the practice runs and qualified on pole/first so this gave him a good confidence boost for his Saturday heat races

Iver Spence in front of Nico Thomasen. Photo: DJ Mills Shutter Media Group.

“Nico won two out of the three heats and was second in one heat for his Saturday races.

“On Sunday Nico came second in the pre-final to Iver Spence who was the current champion.

“Nico started the final from second, which isn’t a bad place to start from; Iver and Nico gapped the field and were in a league of their own.

“Nico had the fastest lap of the final 45.36.

“The demonstration these kids put on was pretty epic, please go and watch the highlights video on the Thomasen Motorsport Facebook page.”

“All the cadet kids [racers] are really good friends. Even though they’re battling on the track, they get along really well.”

“There were 18 cadets on the grid,” says Shannon. The video shows Nico and Iver dominating the track and constantly battling for first place.

Nico Thomasen in front of Iver Spence. Photo: DJ Mills Shutter Media Group.

You’re hanging on to the edge of your seat as you watch the two 9-year-olds battle it out on the track, often driving side by side and overtaking each other before the other overtakes again.

“It was so exciting to watch, I actually started crying, Ben and I are so proud of him,” says Shannon.

“It just goes to show anything is possible now Nico has the opportunity to join a really good team.

“At the first round of the Ross Fisher Memorial in Te Puke, Nico broke the cadet lap records not once but twice with a 41.24 and then 41.23.”

(Left to right) Ryan Healey, Iver Spence and Nico Thomasen on the podium. Photo: DJ Mills Shutter Media Group.

Nico is racing in the 2024 Hampton Downs NZ Racing Academy KartStars Series and the next race is in Manawatu on May 18-19.

“With Iver having moved up a class, Ryan Healey who placed third at the nationals will want to give Nico a good run for his money as it’s his home track; it will be another weekend of exciting racing,” says Shannon.

Keep up to date with Nico Thomasen’s karting journey by going to the Thomasen Motorsport Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/BenThomasenMotorsport/.

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