Antoni Ptak and Julian Hanses are yet more European drivers seeking off season competition in this summer’s Toyota Racing Series which starts at Ruapuna Park, Christchurch on January 16 and 17.
The pair of 18 year olds now make it six drivers from Europe racing down under to hone their skills in preparation for a season of competition when they return to the northern hemisphere.
Ptak and Hanses will join two Americans, a pair of Canadians, as well as three Brazilians, and drivers from China and India racing in the five round, 15 race series which culminates with the New Zealand Grand Prix at Manfeild near Palmerston North on February 13 and 14.
Like many of his contemporaries, Ptak from Tuszyn in central Poland, started his motorsport career in karting, culminating in victory in the Polish Championship in 2014, his fourth season of racing.
This year he has competed in 16 European Formula Three races with a best place of fifth at Spa.
Hanses has yet to race a single seater, although he has tested both Formula Renault and Formula 4 cars in the last few months. He will contest a season of Formula 4 racing in a team run by German touring car championship driver Timo Scheider when he returns home after the Toyota Racing Series.
From Hilden in the Rhineland, Hanses has been a regular podium place getter in German karting events since 2011, winning the national title in 2014 and this year he finished ninth in the World Championships.
In New Zealand Ptak’s car will be run by Auckland based Giles Motorsport, while the Victory team from Nelson will engineer Hanses’ car.
All drivers in the Toyota Racing Series use the same car, an Italian built chassis to international Formula 3 regulations, with a modified 1800cc Toyota motor producing 145 kWs on an E85 ethanol bio fuel. The engines and computer management systems are sealed.
The only changes teams and drivers can make to the car during race weekends, are the suspension and brake setup and adjustments to the aerodynamic “wings”.
The Toyota Racing Series is run over five consecutive weekends, with practice on the Friday, qualifying and one race on the Saturday and two races on the Sunday.