Current Formula One driver Daniil Kvyat was just 16 years-old when he raced in NZ in the 2011 Toyota Racing Series. He was one of three 16 year-olds competing in the 2011 New Zealand Grand Prix as we look at Grant McDonald GP preview ….
CASSIDY YOUNGEST CONTENDER
Three 16-year-old drivers will be among the 15 entered in New Zealand’s most prestigious motor race on Sunday, the New Zealand Grand Prix. And if one should win the race, they can then lay claim to the title of youngest ever winner, and – maybe the youngest GP winner in the world.
Youngest of the trio is Aucklander Nick Cassidy who will be 16-years and 5 months old come NZGP day. Defending champion and series leader Mitch Evans (Auckland) is 16-years and 8 months with fast young Russian driver Danill Kvyat 16-years and 10 months.
If either of these three drivers win, the could well be the youngest winner of a GP race in the world. The title of a national Grand Prix is only contested in two countries outside of the FIA Formula One series – the Formula 3 GP at Macau and the New Zealand GP for Toyota Racing Series cars.
At the end of testing sessions on Thursday, Evans was top of the time sheets with a 64.000-second lap of the Manfeild circuit, Feilding, with Cassidy snapping at his heels 0.165-second behind.
“Manfeild is the track I have had the most success on since I’ve been car racing,” said Cassidy, who is eager to add his name to the illustrious trophy. “I’ve watched the TRS drivers here for the past few years and always wanted the chance to race in my home GP. Now I have the chance.”
Cassidy only began car racing three years ago and has already amassed impressive results in the Formula First and Formula Ford single-seater classes on the way to racing in the Toyota Racing series this year. His car racing debut came when he won the SpeedSport Scholarship in 2008 and moved up from kart racing. Cassidy has been runner-up in both previous championships and won Rookie of the Year.
Although Evans is seen as the favourite to win, Cassidy believes any of the top six fastest drivers will have a chance in the main race.
“Although Mitch and I have come through the same classes [First and Formula Ford] we haven’t actually raced wheel-to-wheel since we were in karts. The big advantage for Mitch is he has been here before and almost won the NZGP last year. I’m sure he really wants the win…. but so do I!”
Qualifying for the NZGP and Super Pole will take place early on Saturday afternoon with the 20-lap Dan Higgins Memorial Trophy race at 6.05pm. The NZGP race over is over 35 laps, starting at 3pm on Sunday.
Evans currently leads the series with 629 points to Cassidy on 492, Australian Scott Pye on 454, Alex Lynn (UK) on 442, Jamie McNee (Wellington) on 425 and Kvyat 398 points.