24 Mar 2017
By Wright Communications
The couple along with the management team at Toyota New Zealand
set up the category and have spent the past 13 seasons running what
can rightfully now be considered one of the most successful one
make single-seater championships in the world today. TRS has helped
to propel a large number of young Kiwi racing drivers into
professional motor racing careers worldwide.
"The Thomlinson's have made a huge contribution not only to establishing the Castrol Toyota Racing Series but ensuring its continued success," said Andrew Davis, Toyota New Zealand's General Manager of Marketing.
"It's a big loss to the Toyota Racing team and I'm sure the local motorsport industry as a whole will join us in thanking Barrie and Louise for their loyalty and commitment over the years.
"They are going out on a high with the series after what could be considered our best ever championship and have created a model that ensures we have a stable platform for continued success of the series into the future."
The series set out to give young New Zealand motor racing drivers a stepping stone into international competition.
"The goal from the outset was to get a Kiwi driver back on the grid in Formula One and to reignite the interest of not only New Zealand's motor racing community but also the general public," said Barrie Thomlinson.
"We got very close with Brendon (Hartley) when he became a Red Bull F1 test driver, both he and an ever growing list of young kiwi motor racing stars have gone on to become highly respected professionals performing at the top of grids in many different categories across the globe."
Thomlinson said the last three summers have provided a benchmark for international recognition of the series; 2015 champion Lance Stroll of Canada is on the grid in Formula One this season and 2016 champion Lando Norris of the UK has dominated the junior Formula racing categories he competed in last year and is being touted as the next Lewis Hamilton.
This year saw the closest fought championship in TRS history and the emergence of a new kiwi star, 16 year old Marcus Armstrong from Christchurch is a bright prospect for the future.
"Without Toyota NZ's investment these achievements would not have been possible so we say a big thank you to them and all of the various sponsors, drivers, and teams and especially to our staff over the years," said Thomlinson. "The time has come for us to move on to the next phase of our lives so we've decided to pass the keys to a new generation of management. It's been a fantastic team effort and we're proud of what we have achieved together."
Mr. Davis said Toyota New Zealand remains 100% committed to the continued success of the Castrol Toyota Racing Series and the TR86 Championship.
We are in the process of appointing new managers as well as moving to new premises at the Hampton Downs motor racing circuit in north Waikato.
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