Funded NZ Grand Prix drive up for grabs

Castrol has put a funded drive in the New Zealand Grand Prix on offer for young Kiwi drivers.

Funded NZ Grand Prix drive up for grabs

The naming rights backer of the Toyota Racing Series will fund an entry in the 2022 running of the NZGP, set to take place at Hampton Downs next February, for a local driver.

Applicants for the Castrol seat must be aged 25 or under and a New Zealand resident or citizen.

Applications close on November 26, after which five finalists will be short-listed.

A judging panel will then choose which driver will race the Castrol-backed FT-60 in the 67th running of the NZGP.

“Competing in the Castrol Toyota Racing Series is a well-established rite of passage for the next generation of motorsport superstars” said Castrol's brand and product manager Jan Willink.

“For half a decade Castrol has proudly partnered with Toyota to help grow this platform and we’re thrilled to be able to provide this fantastic opportunity for a young New Zealand driver to take the next step in their motorsport journey.”

TRS boss Nicolas Caillol says the 'once in a lifetime' opportunity could launch the career of a new Kiwi talent.

"Castrol is one of motorsport's identifiable brand names and has been involved in all forms of motorsport sponsorship over the years and decades, including here in New Zealand," he said.

"We have seen the support of Castrol act as a springboard for the careers of many drivers, most recently with previous TRS graduate and champion Thomas Randle.

"This initiative will hopefully accelerate the progress of young Kiwi drivers in a similar way. We have so many talented young drivers here in New Zealand and many have that extra edge needed to go all the way.

“It is one of these drivers who will be in the seat of an FT-60 for the Grand Prix and who will get a once in a lifetime chance to put their name on an iconic global motorsport trophy along with some of the sport’s biggest names.”

Winners of the NZGP include Stirling Moss, Keke Rosberg, Lance Stroll, Lando Norris and, most recently, Shane van Gisbergen.

The NZGP will be the sole race for the 2022 TRS season.

The series, which has long flourished thanks to European single-seater hopefuls using it as a winter training camp, has been badly hit the NZ's closed borders during the pandemic.

This year it went to close to an agreement with the NZ government for places in the Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) system to get overseas drivers into the country, but ultimately had to settle for an all-Kiwi season.

For next year the season will be limited to the NZGP, series officials hopeful of a return to a full campaign in 2023.

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