High quality, world-class motor racing will be on show again this summer with the confirmation that the Castrol Toyota Racing Series will go ahead, with a reduced three round format.
With the core objective of finding New Zealand’s next world champion, the Castrol Toyota Racing Series (TRS) has become a key fixture on the local and global motorsport calendar. The 2021 series will again offer the opportunity for young drivers to break through and show their talents to a local and international audience.
Because of the current border restrictions and the impact of COVID-19, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing New Zealand and the race promoters made a difficult decision to hold three rounds in the North Island only, instead of five rounds across both islands.
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing New Zealand General Manager, Andrew Davis said the reduced format was to keep costs of entry as low as possible and to encourage as many New Zealand entrants as feasible.
“The fundamental purpose of the Castrol Toyota Racing Series is to develop our homegrown racing talent. This format gives us the ability to continue to promote and support local talent and bring top class motorsport to the New Zealand public,” he said.
While South Island fans will be disappointed, Mr Davis said there is every intention to return to the South Island tracks in 2022.
The first and third rounds of TRS will be part of the MotorSport New Zealand Summer Series at Hampton Downs and Manfeild. The second round, to be raced at Hampton Downs, will be integrated into the 2021 TOYOTA GAZOO Racing NZ Festival along with the Best Bars Toyota 86 Championship.
The New Zealand Grand Prix will still be part of the Castrol Toyota Racing Series, but which round is still to be determined.
“It’s great to be able to pull the final pieces of the MotorSport New Zealand Summer Series together in announcing the TRS dates,” said Elton Goonan, MotorSport New Zealand Acting CEO.
“TRS has been a key step in the motorsport ladder for many young drivers since its inception so with such an unusual year, we’re happy to be able to finally confirm the dates. With the focus on local drivers in 2021, we’re going to see some of NZ’s best young drivers take to the track hoping to follow in the footsteps of some of New Zealand’s superstar drivers.”
Mr Davis said it was intended to expand the NZGP to make it a New Zealand All Stars event with as many former TRS champions and New Zealand racing champions competing as possible against our up and coming young stars. The NZGP event is assigned by MotorSport New Zealand and promoted by Speed Works Events who are the NZGP rights holder.
Because of its timing, quality of cars and racing and cost of entry, in the past TRS has attracted international up and comers such as Lando Norris, Lance Stroll, Daniil Kvyat and Nicholas Latifi, who are all full-time drivers in Formula One.
Mr Davis said TOYOTA GAZOO Racing is hopeful of getting overseas drivers into the 2021 event and was working with MotorSport New Zealand, Sport NZ, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and New Zealand Immigration on permits and logistics.
“We have been advised that the Government’s decision on international drivers will take place before the end of November as we have considerable interest in the series this season.
The economic contribution of visiting drivers, teams and support members is important to the viability of TRS and the New Zealand motorsport and wider economy so we will continue to work to enable international participation where possible,” he said.
“Drivers competing will still enjoy the benefits of a compact four-week, three weekend campaign with exceptional track time” explained Toyota Racing Series Category Manager Nicolas Caillol.
“Three 30-minute practices, a practice start session and two 15-minute qualifying session will still be part of the format for the weekend. The race distances have been increased from 50kms and 70kms to 70kms and 80 kms respectively.”
“Two testing days would also be offered to overseas drivers between round two and three which will keep a high level of overall mileage over the season, another great incentive to come and race in New Zealand,” said Mr Caillol.
Castrol Toyota Racing Series dates;
Round one: Hampton Downs 22nd – 24th January
Round two: Hampton Downs 28th – 30th January
Round three: Manfeild 12th – 14th February