Look back in history Sunday: The heavy-weights descend on the 2015 TRS season

| Photographer Credit: Bruce Jenkins

By 2015, the five consecutive rounds of the Toyota Racing Series was gaining momentum from overseas teams in the form of more talented drivers heading to the NZ summer of racing. 2015 was no exception. Top of the list was current Racing Point F1 driver Lance Stroll.

Stroll came with a solid reputation and went on to win the 2015 Lady Wigram Trophy, the New Zealand Grand Prix and the TRS title.

The opening race at the Mike Pero Motorsport Park in Christchurch set the tone for the rest of the series. Italian Brandon Maïsano was on pole (eventually finishing runner up in the Series) while Stroll won the race. Maïsano went on to win race two and Stroll the feature Lady Wigram Trophy race.

Lance Stroll winner of the 2015 Lady Wigram Trophy race

Also racing that summer, and to become infamous later, was Santino Ferrucci. In 2018 Ferruci was banned from four Formula 2 races after making deliberate contact with his then team mate Arjun Maini. Ferruci was eventually fired by his Trident F2 team but it didn’t seem to dent his career as he headed home and contestd the final two rounds of the 2018 IndyCar Series with Dale Coyne Racing.

Maini had also competed in the 2015 TRS season finishing fourth overall behind Ferruci.

A damaged #40 of James Munro at Manfeild while #21 Artem Markelov escaped the carnage

Also competing that year was F2 driver Artem Markelov, future TRS title winner and Supercars driver Thomas Randle from Australia, Russian Nikita Mazepin who currently competes for ART Grand Prix in the FIA F2. Interestingly, it was his father, Dmitry, who is associated with the Russian chemical firm Uralkali that was unsuccessful in their bid to purchase the Force India Formula One team in 2018. The successful bidder was a consortium led by Lance Stroll’s father Lawrence.

Four Kiwi drivers competed with Damon Leitch the highest placed finishing sixth, although he never stood on the podium. James Munro was in his second TRS season and came in ninth. He had a better finishing position in more races than Leitch, but three retirements made a dent his championship. The other two Kiwi drivers both won a race but Brendon Leitch and Jamie Conroy finished 14th and 15th overall. Conroy, the 2013/14 NZ Formula Ford champion won the second race at his home track in Invercaregill while fellow Southlander Brendon Leitch won the third feature race at Teretonga Park.

Overall Points – 2015 Toyota Racing Series

1/ Lance Stroll 906
2/ Brandon Maïsano 798
3/ Santino Ferrucci 765
4/ Arjun Maini 750
5/ Sam MacLeod 684
6/ Damon Leitch 546
7/ Charlie Eastwood 535
8/ Artem Markelov 525
9/ James Munro 522
10/ Thomas Randle 518
11/ Mathias Kristensen 502
12/ Ferdinand Habsburg 490
13/ Stefan Riener 483
14/ Brendon Leitch 477
15/ Jamie Conroy 446
16/ Callum Ilott 358
17/ Alfonso Celis Jr. 329
18/ Nikita Mazepin 304
19/ Matteo Ferrer 286
20/ Sérgio Sette Câmara 199
21/ Dzhon Simonyan 55

Main picture: #12 Matteo Ferrer and #10 Santino Ferrucci end up in the sand pit together at the Teretonga round in Invercargill

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!


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