NZ: Toyota Racing Series first test notes

Successful first test day for Toyota Racing Series Drivers and teams contesting the inaugural Toyota Racing Series got their first chance to run their cars at a dedicated series test day at Christchurch's Powerbuilt International Raceway at ...

Successful first test day for Toyota Racing Series

Drivers and teams contesting the inaugural Toyota Racing Series got their first chance to run their cars at a dedicated series test day at Christchurch's Powerbuilt International Raceway at Ruapuna Park yesterday.

With the last minute addition of current New Zealand Formula Ford champion Tim Edgell there were 17 of the new Toyota-engined Tatuus single-seaters at the track for what Toyota Racing Series category manager Barrie Thomlinson described as a day of 'bedding in engines and gearboxes and getting to grips with a brand new car' ahead of the first round of the inaugural series at the Timaru International Motor Raceway this weekend.

A bonus was the low-key presence of 2003 IRL champion Scott Dixon, passing through Christchurch after a short break in Queenstown.

Veteran New Zealand driver Ken Smith was one of the first to commit to the Toyota Racing Series and he was full of praise for the new car.

"It's a beauty," he said, "It is a nimble little car which is very good to drive."

Though several drivers spun off the track during the day, there was only one major casualty - Auckland driver Daniel Gaunt who lost control of his car through the high-speed kink on the back straight and spun off the track and into and tyre wall.

The Toyota Racing Series is expected to add an important new dimension to the New Zealand motorsport scene. Not only does the series look set to provide excellent on-track action, it also incorporates important opportunities for up-and-coming drivers to further their racing careers.

It has certainly proved popular with ambitious local drivers, amongst them 2003 World Karting Champion Wade Cunningham, 2003 Australian F4000 champion Daniel Gaunt, former New Zealand Formula Ford champions Tim Edgell and James Cressey, and fellow young single-seater standouts Chris Pither, Ben Harford, Brendon Hartley, Ben Crighton and Andy Knight.

Two of the country's top karters, Christchurch brother and sister Matthew and Fiona Hamilton, are also set to make their local single-seater debut in the class.

While other drivers of note include veteran Ken Smith, Christchurch's Mark Munro, Auckland's Duane Spurdle, Tauranga's Kim Crocker and Timaru's Brent Collins.

The series also has an international entrant, 15-year-old Walter Grubmuller, who was born in Austria, lives in Monaco, and is using the series to gain single-seater racing car experience ahead of a campaign back home in Europe.

2005 Toyota Racing Series Round 1 -- Timaru International Motor Raceway
Saturday January 8 2005 Race 1 (12 laps)
Sunday January 9 2005 Race 6 (12 laps) & Race 12 (16 Laps)

-fastcompany.co.nz

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About this article
Series Road racing
Drivers Scott Dixon , Barrie Thomlinson , Wade Cunningham , Daniel Gaunt , Brendon Hartley , Ben Crighton
Teams Toyota Racing