Look back in history Sunday: Daniel Gaunt wins the 2005/06 TRS season

| Photographer Credit: Terry Marshall

In the second season of the Toyota Racing Series there was one driver who dominated six of the eight rounds and handsomely won the title with one round to spare. It was Daniel Gaunt’s second season in TRS and to understand his dominant form, who have to look right back to the very first test day leading up to the opening round of the inaugural Toyota Racing Series in January 2005.

“I split the car in half at the first test,” recalls Gaunt. “The result of which I missed practicing at Timaru (round 1) as the TRS spare parts weren’t in NZ at that stage.”

Leading up to the first round of the 2005 season, it was Ruapuna Park (then known as the Powerbuilt Tools Raceway) in Christchurch that held the first test for drivers and teams.

“Heading into the ‘Pothole’ corner the car bottomed out on the curb and fired me out hitting the wall,” recalls Gaunt. “It was big for me as it was a brand-new car. After 18-laps it was in two pieces.”

For a brand new car worth approximately $100k, the damage bill was estimated to be around $32k.

“I was relatively fortunate at the time that the Giltraps helped out with Lyall Williamson (International Motorsport) to rebuild the car that they owned. In the end it had to be rebuilt at some stage. For me I was very lucky, that they knew my financial position (which was not a lot), lucky that I got another opportunity.

“We initially had the car at Paul Kellys workshop (in Christchurch. The spares package was still on its way from Italy so at Timaru (the first round) I had to watch others testing and practice.

“Getting back in the car gave me my confidence back. The first three rounds were back to back (Timaru, Teretonga and Ruapuna), so I couldn’t take a risk other than take baby steps. By the time we got to the final round of the season, I knew we had the pace for my home track at Pukekohe and the car was good. We won the round and carried that momentum into the 2005/06 season.”

Daniel Gaunt 2005

The second TRS season jumped to eight rounds (from six in 2005) with both Pukekohe and Ruapuna each hosting two rounds. Pukekohe held the opening round in early November 2005 with the second at the end of the month in Christchurch. January 2006 saw three consecutive rounds (Timaru, Teretonga, Christchurch) before heading north to Manfeild Park (Feilding) and Taupo before the finale, again in support of the V8 Supercars at Pukekohe in April 2006.

Gaunt set fastest lap in five of the eight rounds, won seven races (out of 23) and won six of the seven rounds.

Five international drivers made appearance in a number of rounds. This included Brits Ben Clucas who won the final Pukekohe round and Jay Howard who went on to compete in the IndyCar Series and made several appearances at the Indianapolis 500 (finished 24th in 2018).

Also appearing were Stefen Moller from Denmark and Bahraini racing driver Hamad Al Fardan who won the 2006 NZ Grand Prix.

“The biggest memory was having Brendon Hartley there for the international part of the season (Rounds 3-6). Going toe to toe with him and beating him at the international series was quite special.”

The Toyota Racing Series was already gaining attention from overseas teams and as a result of this Gaunt was given the opportunity to head to the USA and compete in the 2006 Champ Car Atlantic Championship with the Newman/Wachs Racing team. More of this and Gaunt’s win in the 206/07 TRS season next Sunday.

2005/06 TRS Points (Top 20)
1/ Daniel Gaunt 1491
2/ Ben Harford 1012
3/ Andy Knight 943
4/ MArc Doran 913
5/ Matt Hamilton 883
6/ Dale Williams 806
7/ Christina Orr 759
8/ Brendon Hartley 711
9/ Daymon Templeman 679
10/ Hamish Cross 629
11/ Andy Higgins 610
12/ Ben Crighton 598
13/ Hamad Al Fardan 593
14/ Duane Spurdle 591
15/ Mark Munro 547
16/ Marc Williams 543
17/ Ken Smith
18/ Jayant Singh 320
19/ Jay Howard 278
20/ Brent Collins 151

2005/06 Toyota Racing Series Drivers

1 Brent Collins*
4 Andrew Higgins
5 Marc Doran
40 Mark Munro
6 Jayant Singh
7 Ben Harford
9 Matthew Hamilton
11 Ken Smith
15 Marc Williams
28 Brendon Hartley
18 Andrew Reeves**
72 Duane Spurdle
20 Daynom Templeman
22 Jay Howard**
Steffen Møller*
55 Christina Orr
28 Mark Russ**
38 Hamad Al Fardan
47 Daniel Gaunt
48 Dale Williams
70 Chris van der Drift*
50 Nelson Hartley*
James Cressey
Shannon O’Brien*
Will Thomason**
66 Hamish Cross
84 Ben Clucas*
87 Ben Crighton
97 Andy Knight

* = competed in one round, ** = competed in two rounds

Benjamin Carrell

Benjamin Carrell is a freelance motorsport writer and currently edits both talkmotorsport.co.nz. He writes for a number of Kiwi drivers and motorsport clubs. That's when he's not working in his horticultural day-job or training for the next road or mtb cycle race!

http://talkmotorsport.co.nz

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