Hayden Paddon

All about Hayden

We've been cheering Hayden Paddon on in his quest to be World Rally Champion since 2012.

When Hayden won Rally Argentina in 2016 it was not just a first for the talented Kiwi driver, who beat three-time WRC winner Sebastien Ogier to get there, but a first for New Zealand and a really proud moment for all of his supporters and fans. 

The win added to an already full-to-bursting trophy cabinet that includes the PWRC World Championship 2013, NZ Rally Championship in 2008, 2009 and 2013, and an induction to the NZ Motorsport Wall of Fame at the tender age of 24.

Hayden took up racing when he was six years old, driving a go kart powered by a chainsaw engine that his dad built him. Within a few years he was a go karting champion and moved on to racing cars. At age 15 he competed in his first rally at Hamner with learner ‘L’ plates, which raised a laugh. Undeterred, the boy with the 'L' plates took class victory by over a minute.

With humble determination and hard work, Hayden has proved that small steps lead to giant strides. Speeding from the back blocks of Geraldine to the world stage, Hayden has inked a three-year sponsorship deal with Hyundai and become a fixture on the world circuit. To get there he's battled fiery crashes, mechanical failures, devastating losses, and broken bones – all of which he says is character building.

A true Kiwi role model, Hayden’s ultimate goal is to be WRC champion and Z is proud to have been doing our bit to help make that happen since 2012. “Until I achieve WRC champion I will never give up. I don't accept failure and I will do everything possible to make it happen,” says Hayden. Watch this space.

Fast Facts



20 April 1987 in Geraldine,
New Zealand.



Hayden mostly lives out of a suitcase travelling from
rally to rally.

WRC Debut

WRC Debut

Hayden launched his WRC career at Rally New Zealand in 2007, aged 20 years old.

Ultimate goal

Ultimate goal

Hayden's ultimate goal is to be WRC champion. And he won't stop until he gets there!

Z and Hayden

One of the reasons why it’s a no brainer for us to support Hayden is that we reckon we’re on the same wavelength. Our ambition is to be a world class Kiwi company and Hayden’s is to be a world class Kiwi rally driver. 

"We share common Kiwi values and what Z is trying to achieve in New Zealand mirrors the success we are trying to achieve in the World Rally championship," says Hayden.

We both know that it’s what we do every day that gets us closer to our goal – small steps lead to giant strides.

Back in 2012 we ran a global search for an ultra-modern cleaning additive that could deliver outstanding results for Kiwi road conditions. This product became ZX Premium Unleaded

Hayden, who was already a great Kiwi role model and an up-and-coming driver on the world circuit, came on board as an ambassador for ZX.

“I’ve set up quite a few cars over my time and you get to learn just how critical getting the right set up for a car is. It’s the same for what fuel you use. ZX has been developed specially for New Zealand conditions so you know it’s just right for the job,” says Hayden.

Since then, Hayden's put ZX Premium Unleaded through its paces, testing it during a three day driving challenge between Auckland and Wellington and has helped Z customers understand the benefits of ZX and the importance of a clean engine.


Thinking like a champion

We asked Hayden to let us in on the secret to making each small step lead to success. Check out these questions and answers.

Choosing ZX Premium

ZX Premium has been developed for NZ's driving conditions. Watch Hayden put ZX through its paces during a three day challenge in 2013.  

Up close and personal

  • Who were your idols growing up?

    Colin McRae and Possum Bourne

  • Biggest fear?


  • Music you listen to before a race?

    Chilled music: Coldplay or Mumford & Sons

  • Favourite sports team?

    The Black Caps (the New Zealand cricket team)

  • Favourite junk food?

    I'm a big fan of yoghurt covered cashew nuts (a Scandinavian special)

  • If you could drive any car in WRC history, which one would get your vote?

    The 95 555 Impreza – it's my dream car! 

  • Where do you see yourself in five years?

    Hopefully defending a world title! ;-)



Hayden updates his Twitter regularly. Hear first hand about his rallies and get behind the scenes info. Ask Hayden a question during his #AskPaddon series and he'll answer it in real time!




Check out Hayden's page on Facebook. Over 200,000 people like Hayden's page because he regularly updates it with photos, behind the scenes info and more.




Watch Hayden's page on YouTube and immerse yourself in the sights, thrills and spills and passion of rallying at an international level. While you're there, check out Hayden's popular 'How To' series.