Shortlist for funded NZ Grand Prix drive revealed

Seven young Kiwis have made the shortlist for a drive in the 2022 New Zealand Grand Prix funded by Castrol.

Shortlist for funded NZ Grand Prix drive revealed
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It was originally expected that just five drivers would make the shortlist for a shot in a Toyota Racing Series car for the 67th running of the prestigious NZGP.

But, based on the strength of the 66 applications, the shortlist has been expanded to seven young Kiwi drivers.

The shortlist includes two drivers who have recent experience in USF2000, 18-year-old Billy Frazer and 20-year-old Peter Vodanovic.

Reigning Formula Open New Zealand champion Josh Donohue, 19, is on the list as is Formula Ford regular Callum Crawley (21).

Kaleb Ngatoa (20), who raced in S5000 earlier this year, and former TCR Australia competitor Jordan Michels (24) have made the cut as has reigning NZ Formula Ford champion James Penrose (25).

The shortlisted drivers will now undergo a one-on-one interview with Castrol's judging panel before the winner is announced in December 15.

"The judging panel was overwhelmed with the quality of the entries," said Castrol's brand and product manager Jan Willink.

"Even after expanding the shortlist, it proved difficult to narrow that list down to seven drivers.

"What’s clear is that New Zealand’s young driver talent pool is incredibly deep, and we saw dozens of strong applications from young drivers who are all worthy of a spot on the grid at the Grand Prix.

"The judging panel was impressed with the outstanding quality of so many applications, with an incredibly high level of thought and creativity across the board. That kind of dedication is of course one of the things every sponsor is looking for in a brand ambassador.

"While unfortunately – just like the Grand Prix – there can only be one winner, there were several drivers outside the shortlist that are only missing a little experience before they’re ready for the next step up."

The NZ Grand Prix will take place at Hampton Downs on February 11-13.

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