F1600 ace Kohlbecker confirmed for New Zealand

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American F1600 sensation and former karting standout Spike Kohlbecker is the latest driver to be confirmed for the 2020 Castrol Toyota Racing Series and will join Kiwi Motorsport for his first championship challenge in a wings and slicks formula.

The St. Louis, Missouri native who just recently turned 17 years old, has amassed a huge amount of F1600 experience over the past 18 months competing in the Toyo Tires series in Canada where he took two wins and eight podiums on his way to third place overall in his first full championship campaign. He followed that up with a season in the New Zealand F1600 championship which was notable for seven podium finishes across 11 races.

Kohlbecker then headed to the United Kingdom to compete in the highly competitive 2019 UK BRSCC Avon Tyres National FF1600 Championship where his run of success continued with four wins, 11 podium finishes including impressive wins at the legendary Brands Hatch circuit on his way finishing as series Vice Champion. Kohlbecker’s challenging path, dedication and performance have further confirmed his place as one of the best up and coming racers in the world.  

Kohlbecker's New Zealand experience will stand him in good stead ahead of his step up to the all-new Toyota FT-60 that will be introduced for the 2020 Castrol TRS season and he is looking forward to returning to the country's top motorsport championship and its challenging tracks.

“I’m excited to take the next step in my racing career in the TRS series,” he explained. “No doubt it will be a challenge, but that’s exactly what I want.

"The tracks, the New Zealand race fans and the TRS program are all world class and will serve as a great foundation for the next step in my career. Racing against the best is what every great driver wants in order to establish where you are and where you need to be. No doubt the TRS program will again have some of the best young drivers in the world.”

The 2020 championship will begin at Highlands Motorsport Park in Cromwell in New Zealand's South Island over the weekend of January 17-19. It stays in the South Island for the second round a week later, moving to Teretonga Park near Invercargill for round two.

The series then heads to the North Island for the remaining three weekends of racing. That will include the Denny Hulme Memorial Trophy at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park, the New Zealand Motor Cup at Pukekohe Park and the final round, the New Zealand Grand Prix meeting over the weekend of February 14-16 at Manfeild – Circuit Chris Amon in Feilding.

Since the new Tatuus-based 280 horsepower turbocharged FT-60 chassis launched in May, there has been plenty of early interest in next year's TRS series, with drivers signing up months earlier than previous years. A full grid of 20 cars is expected when the five weekend championship gets underway.