Lando Norris, the diminutive English teenager who won last summer’s Castrol Toyota Racing Series is returning to defend his title.
Norris was the class act of the field last January and February, winning six races and finishing on the podium another five times, to finish the hectic 15 race series 132 points ahead of Jehan Daruvala of India.
“I'm really excited to be heading back to New Zealand to contest the Toyota Racing Series,” said Norris from his Bristol home.
“I thoroughly enjoyed racing in the TRS at the beginning of this year which put me on the road to an incredibly successful 2016 season.”
“The five tracks are really interesting and will get me race sharp again for when I return to the European season in 2017.”
Norris’ success in New Zealand 10 months ago set him up for a strong season in Europe where he won both the European and Northern European Formula Renault titles with a total of 11 wins and 12 other podium results, starting from pole position in 16 of the 29 races.
He contested a handful of British Formula 3 Championship races, winning four, before leaving the series to concentrate on the European events at tracks he will again race on in 2017.
Norris who only turns 17 years old this month will again drive a car prepared by the Hamilton based M2 Competition team. “They’re a great team and talented bunch of guys who helped me achieve 11 podium finishes this season.”
Norris, like all the drivers in the series will use a Tatuus single seater car, powered by a 1.8 litre Toyota engine producing about 145 kWs running on an 85 per cent ethanol bio-fuel. All cars use the same Michelin tyres, gearbox, suspension and brakes to provide as close as racing as possible, with driving skill being the deciding factor.
A full field of 20 cars is expected for the Castrol Toyota Racing Series which will follow a familiar format with free practice each Friday, qualifying and one race on Saturday and two races on Sunday at each round.
Racing starts with the Lady Wigram Trophy at Ruapuna, Christchurch on January 14 and 15 and concludes with the New Zealand Grand Prix at Manfeild near Palmerston North on February 11 and 12.
The full schedule is.-
January 14/15 Lady Wigram Trophy, Ruapuna Park, Christchurch
January 21/22 Spirit of a Nation Cup, Teretonga, Invercargill
January 28/29 New Zealand Motor Cup, Hampton Downs, North Waikato
February 4/5 Denny Hulme Memorial Trophy, Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park, Taupo
February 11/12 New Zealand Grand Prix, Manfeild, Feilding