Pedro Piquet, the youngest son of three times Formula One World Champion Nelson Piquet is returning to New Zealand for a full blown assault on next January and February’s five round Toyota Racing Series.
Piquet raced here briefly in the 2014 series, but withdrew due to an issue with his racing licence that wasn’t identified prior to entering.
Now 17 years old, Piquet has won the Brazilian Formula Three Championship for the last two years and will be using the TRS series, which starts at Ruapuna, Christchurch on January 16 and 17 as a springboard into the highly competitive FIA European Formula Three Championship in 2016.
Piquet has dominated Formula Three in Brazil for the last two years, winning 12 of the 14 races this year and 11 of the 16 events in 2014.
He has also competed in selected Porsche GT3 Cup events in Brazil and Europe this year to gain experience of circuits he will compete on in the future. He had a spectacular accident in the most recent event in Brazil, barrel rolling nine times, mostly in midair.
Apart from bruising he was un-injured in the incident.
“I am excited to return to New Zealand,” said Piquet from his Brasilia home. “I enjoyed my brief experience of TRS last time as a young Rookie, but now I want to compete to win the championship before I go to Europe.”
Piquet will drive for the Hamilton based M2 Competition team which oversaw his appearance in 2014. M2 are the current TRS championship winning team who ran Canadian Lance Stroll to win the 2015 TRS series earlier this year.
M2 Competition Team principals Mark Pilcher and Jonathon Moury worked together for the Colin Giltrap owned Team A1GP New Zealand before entering their own team in TRS. Moury spends the northern hemisphere summer working for teams in Europe and is just finishing a season with the Russian Time GP2 team which has been running kiwi Mitch Evans this year.
TRS series coordinator Barrie Thomlinson expects Piquet to be very competitive after two successive championship wins.
“As a young 15 year old he impressed me with his relaxed quiet approach,” said Thomlinson. “His time spent in the Brazilian Formula Three series will have honed his skills, I expect that he will arrive well prepared and ready to challenge for the title”
Pedro’s father, Nelson Piquet, owns a successful business at home in Brazil as well as now managing his son’s burgeoning career after spending 14 years competing in Formula One between 1978 and 1991 winning 23 races on his way to the World title with Brabham in 1981 and ’83 before a switch to Williams saw him win the 1987 championship.
The full TRS schedule is.-
January 16/17 Ruapuna, Christchurch
January 23/24 Teretonga, Invercargill
January 30/31 Hampton Downs, North Waikato
February 6/7 Taupo Motorsport Park
February 13/14 New Zealand Grand Prix, Manfeild, Manawatu