NZ: Toyota Racing Series final round preview

MULTIPLE POTENTIAL WINNERS OF INAUGURAL TOYOTA RACING SERIES The inaugural Toyota Racing Series could potentially be won by any one of four drivers, as the new 'wings and slicks' class heads into its final round at Pukekohe as part of the ...

MULTIPLE POTENTIAL WINNERS OF INAUGURAL TOYOTA RACING SERIES

The inaugural Toyota Racing Series could potentially be won by any one of four drivers, as the new 'wings and slicks' class heads into its final round at Pukekohe as part of the Placemakers V8 International event on April 15, 16 and 17.

After an action-packed weekend of racing at Manfeild on April 2 and 3, eighteen-year-old Andy Knight leapt up the points table from fifth to third place to put himself in contention for the overall series title. Christchurch-based Knight has 769 points, only 64 points behind Brent Collins from Timaru who leads the series with 833 points and four points behind Brendon Hartley from Palmerston North who has 773 points. In fourth place is Aucklander Daniel Gaunt with 732 points.

Toyota Racing Management's Barrie Thomlinson says: "Over the first five rounds we've had five different drivers on pole position and six different race winners which shows that this class is doing it's job in identifying the talents of the competitors. Race wins are shared by Collins on five wins, Hartley three, Knight and Matthew Hamilton two wins and Ben Harford and Wade Cunningham with one win each. This demonstrates how the concept of a controlled formula allows the drivers' skills to be the deciding factor in who takes the chequered flag."

Thomlinson says with 75 points for a win and all drivers coming to Pukekohe for the first time in their Toyota Tatuus race cars, it's quite possible for any of the four to take out the title.

"Collins has certainly demonstrated his ability to win in all kinds of conditions weather-wise though, so you can't discount him, seeing as he is in the best position at the top of the points table but needs to be towards the front of the field to ensure the title is his."

The eventual winner of the inaugural Toyota Racing Series is going to walk away with one of the best prize pools ever seen in New Zealand motorsport.

"We hope the prizes assist the recipients in furthering their driving careers," says Thomlinson. "For the winner there's the prestige of being the first-ever recipient of the Chris Amon Trophy and receiving a new Toyota Celica T-Sport -- a valuable prize. The highest-placed young driver -- at this stage, also Brent Collins -- becomes the Yamaha Young Driver of the Year and wins a Yamaha pit motorcycle and $20,000 in cash. The second-placed young driver collects $10,000 in cash towards his or her motorsport career and enjoys a Denso-sponsored trip to the Melbourne Grand Prix."

The Toyota Tatuus drivers are competing in their final round at Pukekohe as one of the great support races for the Australian V8 Supercars at the Placemakers V8 International. The Toyotas have testing and qualifying sessions on Friday and the final two races - one each day on Saturday and Sunday -- will determine who is the first-ever Toyota Racing Series title holder in New Zealand and the world.

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About this article
Series Road racing
Drivers Chris Amon , Barrie Thomlinson , Wade Cunningham , Matthew Hamilton , Daniel Gaunt , Brendon Hartley
Teams Toyota Racing