Luiz Felipe Branquinho will continue the now well-established tradition of Brazilians racing in the Castrol Toyota Racing Series, when he starts at the first round at Ruapuna Park, Christchurch, on January 12-14.
He follows in the foot steps of Pedro Piquet, who has competed in the championship for the last two years finishing fifth in 2016 and runner-up last summer.
The Baptista cousins, Bruno and Rodrigo raced here two summers ago, while at the start of this year Christian Hahn also flew the Brazilian flag.
Branquinho, from Goiania 150 kms south west of the capital Brasilia, has completed two seasons of single seater racing, contesting ten of the 16 events in the Brazilian Formula 3 series in 2016, where he finished 12th overall.
This year the 17-year-old has raced in the Italian Formula 4 championship, which was won by Christchurch’s Marcus Armstrong. Branquinho was 14th overall in the Italian series, held over 21 races at seven rounds.
Like most young single seater drivers, Branquinho started his career in karting, competing both in Brazil and the United States between 2009 and 2015
Branquinho will use the same Tatuus single seater as every other driver in the series. It is powered by a 1.8 litre Toyota engine producing about 145 kWs running on an 85 per cent ethanol bio-fuel.
All cars use the same Michelin tyres, gearbox, suspension and brakes to provide as close as racing as possible, with driving skill being the deciding factor.
The five-round, 15 race, Castrol Toyota Racing Series which concludes with the New Zealand Grand Prix at Manfeild on February 9-11, has three races each weekend on Saturday afternoon and on Sunday morning and afternoon.
Castrol Toyota Racing Series calendar
January 12-14, Ruapuna, Christchurch
January 19-21, Teretonga, Invercargill
January 26-28, Hampton Downs, North Waikato
February 2-4, Taupo
February 9-11, Manfeild, Feilding