Theo Bean, the second American to enter this summer’s Toyota Racing Series which starts at Ruapuna on January 16 and 17, has an unusual motor racing background compared to his rivals.
At 23 years old Bean from Athens, Georgia is also the oldest on the starting grid. While all his rivals come from the karting ranks and junior single seater formula, Bean has a back ground in historic sports car racing.
Currently studying Business Management full time at the University of Georgia, Bean is a double Sportscar Vintage Racing National Champion who also races in the Historic Sports Racing Championship in the United States.
The Americans have a liberal interpretation of what constitutes a vintage or historic racing sports car and much of Bean’s recent success has come in a 2009 Oreca Courage LMP1 and Chevy Intrepid GTP, which only a few years ago were competing in the Daytona 24 Hours and Sebring 12 Hours sports car races.
The Toyota Racing series will be Bean’s single-seater debut, although he has tested cars with a view to racing in a feeder category to IndyCar.
Argentinean Nicolas Dapero joins the series and represents the 13th different country in the TRS this season.
Dapero aged 17, from Buenos Aires has followed a more traditional path with four years in karting culminating in winning the Argentina title in 2014, the same year he also started racing Formula Renault.
This year he finished sixth in the Brazilian Formula Three Championship, even though he only did 12 of the 16 races, finishing second twice and third three times.
In New Zealand he will come up against two Brazilians who finished in front of him, Pedro Piquet, who won 14 of the 16 races to take the title and Rodrigo Baptista who was fourth overall.
Dapero already has his sights set on racing in the Pro Mazda category which is a feeder to IndyCar in 2016.Helike most of the TRS field will be using the 15 races and associated practice and qualifying sessions here as preparation for his North American season.
The Toyota Racing Series is held over five consecutive weekends, with practice sessions on the Friday, qualifying and one race on the Saturday and two races on the Sunday.