Toyota Racing Series gets greater international recognition

By Wright Communications

The world governing body of Motorsport, the Federation Internationale Automobile (FIA) has given New Zealand's premier motor racing series the recognition.

"It's a boost for our series and will certainly make it more attractive for young international drivers to race TRS in New Zealand," said Mark Whittaker, Toyota New Zealand's Motorsport Manager.

The first five drivers overall in the championship will earn points towards a Formula One Super License. They can not graduate to the ultimate level in world motor racing until they have spent at least two seasons in lower classes, scoring the qualifying points.

That includes Formula 2, 3 and 4 and the top sportscar and touring car series around the world.

"We have been lobbying for inclusion in the points system," said Mr. Whittaker. "The teams and drivers see the Toyota Racing Series as a step up from Formula 4 and about equal with Formula 3 and Formula Renault Euro Cup which many of them go onto from New Zealand."

Even without the formal recognition many drivers who have competed in the Castrol Toyota Racing Series have gone onto Formula One or other leading championships.

Most notable are Palmerston North's Brendon Hartley who is about to start his first full season at Toro Rosso, the 2015 TRS champion Canadian Lance Stroll who drives for Williams and Russian Daniel Kyvat, who raced here in 2011 and ironically lost his drive to Hartley.

Others include English pair, the 2016 TRS champion Llando Norris who is the McLaren reserve driver and Alex Lynn who finished runner-up here in 2013 and subsequently has been the test driver for both Lotus and Williams. Artem Markelov of Russia who raced here in 2015 and 2016 is now the development driver for the Renault team in Formula One.

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