Current national Formula Ford champion Taylor Cockerton is primed and ready for the 2016 Toyota Racing Series that gets underway in Christchurch in January (16-17). Having just re-signed McDonalds as the primary sponsor the teenager is thoroughly looking forward to the five intense weeks of racing with a very competitive international field.
“I’m looking forward to the learning experience against some of the best young drivers in the world,” commented Cockerton.
The Pukekohe teenage convincingly won last season’s NZ Formula Ford title and is making the step up to the TRS ‘wings n slicks’ single seater class.
“It’s going to be a massive learning curve, particularly with the much superior acceleration, braking and downforce that the Toyota’s have.”
The Series takes place over five consecutive weekends and boasts an international field of sixteen drivers with just two Kiwis taking to the grid. Fellow Kiwi James Munro along with Russian GP2 driver Artem Markelov are the only drivers to have previously competed in the Series.
In preparation for the racing Cockerton has been focusing on both physical and mental preparation.
“We have a rookie test on the Wednesday before the opening round in Christchurch,” said Cockerton. “This is followed by more testing on Thurs, practice on Friday then qualifying and three races over the Saturday and Sunday.
“Monday of each week will be our only rest day as Tuesday we head to the next circuit then we are back into the procedure for each round.”
“There’s been a lot of focus on fitness, strength and conditioning at the gym as well as seeing a sports psychologist for mental preparation. I am expecting it to be very mentally draining.
“Everyone is in the same boat but it is all about getting the extra 2/10ths with superior fitness.”
Cockerton joins three other international drivers at the ETEC Motorsport team. Theo Bean (USA), Rodrigo Baptista (Brazil) and Timothe Buret (France) are all first time drivers in the series and to New Zealand.
“One advantage that I have is my track knowledge and experience,” commented Cockerton.
“Particularly with the final three rounds in the North Island, as I know these circuits really well and am particularly looking forward to the final race, the NZ Grand Prix at Manfeild (Feilding).
With a short rest for the team over the festive season, there is still a lot of preparatory work still to be completed on the McDonalds sponsored Toyota FT50. Racing gets underway at the Lady Wigram Trophy meeting at the Mike Pero Motorsport Park in Christchurch 16-17 January 2016