Toyota has unveiled key components of its new single-seater race car at the 2014 Toyota Racing Series awards evening held at its National Customer Centre in Palmerston North.
The car will carry the model code Toyota FT50 and will replace the current FT40 car in the Toyota Racing Series, New Zealand’s premier racing championship, from 2015.
It will feature the very latest FIA Formula 3 safety standards which include high cockpit side helmet protection, removable safety seat additional strengthening in the main chassis and front and rear crash structures.
Toyota’s John Fowke says the unveiling of the FT50 prepares the championship as it enters its second decade.
“The new car represents a significant ongoing commitment by Toyota to the development of the next generation of New Zealand drivers and to the health of motorsport in this country. As TRS graduates prepare to enter Formula One, Le Mans and other professional global series we recognise the crucial role TRS has played over the past decade and the need to continue providing a championship where young drivers can advance their career and develop their talents,” he said.
Like the FT40, the new car has been designed and will be built by Italian manufacturer Tatuus. It will feature up to the minute styling with a long sculpted nose, wider track suspension dual front shock absorbers and steering wheel mounted paddle shift operating a six-speed Sadev transaxle gearbox.
The new cars will take to the track using the current TRS engine, Toyota’s reliable and proven 1.8-litre four cylinder production based unit which has been built and developed in New Zealand specifically for the racing series. The engine runs on E85 ethanol-blend fuel and produces 160kW (215 bhp).
“The FT50 racer will be an exciting prospect for aspiring Kiwi racing drivers as well as the young international drivers who will look to race here in TRS. The car will feature up to the minute design and technology and align with many of the established global series already in operation across the globe,” says TRS category manager Barrie Thomlinson
Components of the new car were revealed to drivers and team managers at the prizegiving for the 2014 Toyota Racing Series, provoking an excited ‘scrum’ as drivers mobbed the new chassis and parts on display.
Mr Thomlinson says the reaction of drivers and teams to the new car was very positive, which further endorses the direction TRS has taken over the past ten years.
A completed car is expected to begin testing in April/May in preparation for the delivery of the production race cars mid year.
More views of the FT50 are at http://goo.gl/p990bl