Australian single seater drivers have been targeted to compete in next summer’s Castrol Toyota Racing Series.
Series Managers, Sarah Brown and Nicolas Caillol, attended the latest round of the Australian Formula 4 Championship at Phillip Island near Melbourne held over Queens Birthday weekend.
“There are a number of talented young drivers across the Tasman,” said Caillol. “Toyota Racing Series is the next logical step for them if they want to further their careers.”
The five round championship is held here over consecutive weekends in January and February.
Pukekohe’s Liam Lawson finished runner-up in the Australian Formula 4 series last year, winning five of the 21 races. The 16-year-old is currently competing in the German Formula 4 Championship, where he lies second after three of the seven rounds.
“Liam had some tough competition in Australia last year and is now acquitting himself very well in his first season in Europe,” said Caillol. “Some of those young Australian drivers would not be out of place here.”
Australian drivers have competed in the Toyota Racing Series in the past, most notably Thomas Randle, who did the full championship in 2015, just the Grand Prix in 2016 and then returned to win the title in 2017 in the closest points contest yet.
To encourage trans-Tasman competition all Australian and New Zealand drivers are eligible for the Trans-Tasman Trophy if they complete all rounds with $10,000 for the winner, $7,000 for 2nd and $3,000 for 3rd.
Historically there have been strong links between the two countries. A Tasman Cup was held in the 1960s and 70s with as many as four rounds in each country for the top drivers.
First held in 1964 when Bruce McLaren won in a Cooper Climax, other Kiwis to taste success were Graham McRae in his own Formula 5000 car, Chris Amon and Graeme Lawrence in Ferraris. Australian Warwick Brown was the last winner in 1975 in a Lola F5000 car.
“We’re not trying to replicate that,” said Caillol, “but certainly young single seater drivers on both sides of the Tasman would benefit from more racing against one another.”