Invercargill driver Brendon Leitch is the third New Zealand driver to commit to the 2017 Castrol Toyota Racing Series.
This will be the 21 year old Southlander's fourth tilt at the series but it is the first time he has known weeks ahead of the season that he has a full budget to go head to head with the international stars that come to New Zealand to compete.
"Thanks to the support of long-time sponsor ITM I have a full budget for the first time ever and I am ready to rock," said Leitch today. Leitch will again drive for the Nelson based Victory Motor Racing Team. "I will be working with Garry (Orton) and Guy (Griffiths) again and I will have some great team mates. I will have the same engineer as last year as well."
Last year Leitch was only able to confirm his entry into the series a week out from the first round. "It makes it pretty tough. I am very lucky to have the backing of ITM," he says.
While the internationaI drivers will arrive race-hardened from various series around the world, Leitch will have to rely on off-season testing in the USA with the high profile Newman Wachs Racing Team at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in October.
Leitch has fashioned a stunning record in New Zealand motor racing. Like so many rising race stars, he began his career in karting, racing in the cadet class in 2005. He first raced a Formula Ford in 2009 and after finishing in the top three of the New Zealand Formula Ford Championship two years in succession (third in 2011-2012 and second in 2013) he moved into the Toyota Racing Series, following in the tracks of older brother Damon. With minimal preparation each year he has won two races in the series, one in the 2015 season and one in 2016. The highlight win was in 2015, when he became the first Kiwi to scribe his name on the feature race trophy, the Spirit of a Nation Cup, at his home round. Last season he finished third overall in the series points, was the top kiwi in the series and the only New Zealander to win a race.