Champions to duel in 2015 Toyota Racing Series

New Zealand and Australian motor racing champions Jamie Conroy and Thomas Randle have confirmed they will compete in the 2015 Toyota Racing Series.

Conroy, from Invercargill, is the current New Zealand Formula Ford champion and won a Toyota Racing Series test as part of his title. He will race with Hamilton-based M2 Competition.

Going up against him and also making a first step into modern ‘wings and slicks’ cars is newly crowned Australian Formula Ford Series winner Thomas Randle.

The 18-year-old will join ETEC Motorsport for the five meeting single seater championship, set to begin at Ruapuna Park at January 17-18.

This year the New Zealand championship will welcome an all-new chassis, adopting the latest Toyota Tatuus FT-50, powered by Toyota’s proven 2ZZGE 1.8-litre engine and featuring the latest Sadev six speed sequential transmission and paddle-shift actuators along with FIA-specification safety, enhanced aerodynamics and brakes offering emerging race drivers an ideal stepping stone toward careers in top European and American categories.

Drivers who have risen through TRS have gone on to impressive racing careers. The championship has produced the past three FIA GP3 Series winners: Mitch Evans (2012, now racing in GP2 with the support of Mark Webber), Daniil Kvyat (2013), who made his Formula One debut this year with Scuderia Toro Rosso and steps up to the Red Bull Racing drive vacated by Sebastian Vettel, and Alex Lynn, who was second in TRS last year, won the 2013 Macau Formula Three Grand Prix and is now in pre-season testing for a possible Formula One drive.

Category manager Barrie Thomlinson says the announcements by Randle and Conroy are a further endorsement of the Championship’s pivotal role in the careers of emerging single-seater drivers and he is looking forward to seeing the two champions do battle.

“All indications are that we will have a very exciting grid of drivers from New Zealand and around the world for this year’s championship so Jamie and Thomas will be part of a sensational summer of motorsport,” he said.

Randle says his Australian series win and confirmation of a TRS drive are “like Christmas coming early”. He hopes the opportunity will aid his dreams of climbing the single seater ladder to Formula 1.

“TRS is an awesome series, and with the state-of-the-art Tatuus chassis and a field featuring so many up and coming international drivers, it really is a taste of European-style open wheel racing on this side of the world. The list of drivers who have succeeded in this series shows that if you can win in TRS, you can go on to do great things on the world stage, so I will definitely head to NZ in January looking to fly the Aussie flag and be competitive.”

Jamie Conroy says he is aiming to adjust quickly to the new car. He is confident M2 Competition will deliver him a quick car from the first round and is pleased the FT50 presents an equal challenge to all teams and drivers.

“Toyota Racing Series is the premier category of racing cars in New Zealand,. It’s the most logical stepping stone for me from Formula Ford. Obviously I want to win the series, and everything I have done and will do from now onwards is aimed at that. It’s a huge step up from Formula Ford, so I have to focus on doing what I do, controlling what I can control.”