2005 was the inaugural season of the new Toyota Racing Series which saw 18 drivers competing across six rounds in New Zealand between January to April. Seventeen of them were Kiwis including future F1 driver Brendon Hartley, Supercars driver Chris Pither and Veteran Ken Smith.
It was Timaru farmer Brent Collins who won four of the sixteen races on his way to taking the overall title with Christchurch’s Andy Knight second and Auckland’s Daniel Gaunt third.
Knight was on double duty that season, also competing in the NZ Formula Ford Championship in which he also finished runner up. He went on to win TRS in 2007/08 while Gaunt took consecutive titles in 2005/06 and 2006/07.
As part of the winning the series title, Collins took home the top prize of a brand new Toyota Celica road car which back in 2005 was retailing for around the $40k mark.
He also received $25,000 in hard cash including the prize for first in the international series. He won a $8,000 Yamaha motor bike and $5,000 worth of car stereo equipment from Eclipse..
Compared with the latest FT60, the running cost back in 2005 now seem relatively cheap.
The FT40 chassis were able to be bought for $100,000 or leased per season for $27,000.
The engine lease per annum was $8,750, spare wheels and gear ratios $4,000, data acquisition hardware $5,000 and a conservative estimate of approximately $45,350 total running cost for the season (excluding chassis).
Main picture: #9 Christchurch’s Matt Hamilton won two races in the 2005 TRS, both at his home track, known then as the Powerbuilt Raceway at Ruapuna Park, and finished sixth overall.