As one door closes, another opens and with Andrew Waite’s recent decision to resign from his role as our pro driver here at Highlands, we’re delighted to announce Paul Blomqvist will be joining the team at Highlands as our new Head Driver.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity for Paul to come in and make his mark and continue on the great work that Andrew has done,” says Josie Spillane, Chief Operating Officer at Highlands. “I’ve no doubt Andrew will still play a role in the business and he is keen to contract back to us, especially on our group drive products, but he’s also planning on having a bit of fun at the track too – he’s taking over a membership as well for some well-earned R & R on the track.
“Understandably, we are sad to be losing Andrew and he can be very proud of his contribution to the Highlands legacy, but at the same time we’re really excited about welcoming Paul to Highlands. He will bring some fresh energy and enthusiasm to the role and he will spend the next couple of months working really closely with Andrew so our members can expect a smooth transition.”
Paul was born in the UK but moved to New Zealand with his mother and older brother Tom when he was four-years-old. Before moving to New Zealand, Paul and his brother spent their early years hooning around the family property on quad bikes under the watchful eye of their famous father, Stig. Stig Blomqvist is a Swedish rally driver who won the WRC in 1984 and was the inspiration behind The Stig on the TV show, Top Gear.
Paul got into go-karting when he was 6-years-old and won the Kartsport NZ Schools Championship in 2011. He competed in Formula Renault in Sweden and Europe from 2013 to 2015 and also raced in the Swedish Rallycross and GT Championships before returning home to New Zealand in 2016. A role with Downforce, the driver training and events company followed before he got a call out of the blue about the vacancy at Highlands.
“My first visit to Highlands was in 2016,” says Blomqvist, “but I haven’t spent much time down there. It’s a track I really enjoyed driving on and of course the facilities and location are world class.”
Until COVID hit, Blomqvist was meant to be racing in Europe this year in the Porsche Carrera Cup but like a lot of people his life has been turned upside down by the pandemic.
“Motorsport got put on hold and it was looking like a bit of a dud year and then this opportunity came out of nowhere,” says Paul who will be relocating from Auckland for the role. He’s looking forward to getting to know the track and the area. “When this opportunity arose, I couldn’t say no to it. It will be a spectacular office.”
As for his racing ambitions in the future, he’s well aware of Tony Quinn’s involvement in GT racing and rallying.
“If Tony offers me a drive in one of his cars I’m not going to say no! But I know I have to perform in my job at Highlands first before I can expect those kinds of benefits.”
Heather Lindsay October 5, 2020
Posted In: News