Gardner uses rally experience to help improve tourist driving

Rhys Gardner in action during Rally Otago. Photo / Geoff Ridder

Rhys Gardner’s background in motorsport has helped drive a new project that will help make it easier for international drivers adapt to driving on New Zealand roads.

The Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship regular has been working on some simulation software that allows tourists to practice driving on the unfamiliar New Zealand roads before they are actually let loose behind the wheel of a car.

“Basically we have built some driving simulation experiences that help international tourists adapt to New Zealand roads,” Gardner said.

“Go Rentals have put the first simulator in the country into their Queenstown branch. They have a physical simulator in their office so that they can give their clients a chance to practice on a recreation of a New Zealand road.

“We have basically turned the Crown Range into a game. That is our first road and we have put a couple of elements in like traffic and some speed signs that aren’t actually there but it looks like the Crown Range.”

While there is no pass or fail based on the results of simulator driving Gardner said that could be the next logical step.

“Initially it is just a practice but we are using our understanding of reading motorsport data to understand where risk factors could sit in somebody’s driving.

“We want to build a platform for driving training for New Zealand that could support teenage drivers and truck driving and career development and things like that but there are plenty of motorsport applications as well.

“Go Rentals want to see the industry adopt it.”

The 2018 New Zealand Rally Championship is proudly supported by Brian Green Property Group, Gull New Zealand, Dunlop New Zealand, Hella New Zealand, Hyundai New Zealand and Stadium Finance


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The New Zealand Rally Championship is this country’s premier nationwide rally championship. It attracts New Zealand’s best drivers to compete in numerous categories for the prestigious MotorSport New Zealand-sanctioned rally championship titles. In 2024, there are six NZRC rounds, each with a unique character reflecting the diverse regions – from Northland to Invercargill