We first ran this post back in January 2020 but it is timely to run it again with the announcement of Shane van Gisbergen’s return to the Castrol Toyota Racing Series and his entry in the NZ Grand Prix, 23 – 24 January 2021. Will we also see his 2006/07 rival Daniel Guant, also on the grid in the New Year?
Having won the 2005/06 Toyota Racing Series, Daniel Gaunt was odds-on favourite heading into the eight round 2006/07 season. However, it was not going to be straight forward with a new team mate, Shane van Gisbergen, as well as seasoned campaigners Ben Harford and Andy Knight. Also in the mix was a young Earl Bamber.
“I could see he (van Gisbergen) was sharp and I was worried about him,” Gaunt said. “He was always one of those team mates, one you worry about all the time.
“We got on well that year and later meet up again at Stone Brothers where I did a few V8 Supercars endurance drives. It was that point that Shane seemed to morph into an unbelievable talent.”
Gaunt drove with Stone Brothers Racing in 2009 with fellow Kiwi John McIntrye and Tim Slade in 2011 with James Rosenberg Racing.
Gaunt won three of the 2006/07 TRS rounds (Pukekohe, Timaru, Teretonga) with key wins in both the Lady Wigram Trophy and NZ Grand Prix races. Van Gisbergen won two (Taupo and Manfeild) finishing second overall, 328-points behind. Harford finished third overall winning the third round at Ruapuna. Christchurch’s Andy Knight finished fourth overall and won the final round at Pukekohe in support of the V8 Supercars. Like Gaunt had previously done, he took this momentum into the 2007/08 season and took that title.
“The thing about TRS, even from those early days is that it gave me, and continues to give Kiwi drivers, the opportunity to go on from there. Teams and personnel were already looking to TRS for drivers.
“TRS gave us a proper racing program and lots of racing. You could put a sponsor package together and look at opportunities overseas. Before 2005, few Kiwi drivers were breaking through overseas. We hadn’t seen anything like this before, particularly from a manufacturer. Now TRS gives a Kiwi driver such an opportunity to further their career.”
Gaunt went on to compete in V8s (Supercars, Fujitsu V8 Supercars, SuperTourers) Porsche Carrera Cup, Australian GT and Asia GT.
2006/07 Toyota Racing Series Overall Points (Top 15)
1/ Daniel Gaunt 1448
2/ Shane van Gisbergen 1120
3/ Ben Harford 1025
4/ Andy Knight 1015
5/ Christina Orr 750
6/ Daymon Templeman 717
7/ Earl Bamber 600
8/ Nelson Hartley 566
9/ Ben Clucas 554
10/ Nic Jordan 541
11/ Hamid Al Fardan 530
12/ Ken Smith 490
13/ Mark Russ 489
14/ Marc Doran 469
15/ Ben Crighton 240