Toyota Racing New sponsors schools’ kartsport championship

Nick Cassidy

Nick Cassidy

In a new move to nurture future motor racing talent, Toyota Racing New Zealand has announced it will support this year’s KartSport New Zealand National Schools’ Championship in Palmerston North next month.

The two-day Toyota Racing New Zealand 2014 National Schools Championship meeting will be contested at the KartSport Manawatu club’s Manawatu Toyota Raceway over the weekend of July 12-13.

It is the first time the event has been held in the Manawatu in New Zealand’s North Island and organisers expect more than 120 school-age karters to enter.

Toyota New Zealand’s commitment to the future of New Zealand motor racing began a decade ago when it established the Toyota Racing Series New Zealand’s premier single-seater racing car category.

Each year, rising international race drivers take on New Zealand’s best in a five week championship series that culminates in the New Zealand Grand Prix meeting at Manawatu motor racing circuit Manfeild.

In 2013 that series was joined by a second Toyota-run series, the Toyota Finance 86 Championship, which provides a longer-duration but no less exciting platform for drivers to race at New Zealand’s best circuits.

With TRS and the new Toyota Finance 86 Championships both featuring top New Zealand drivers from karting, Formula First and Formula Ford, Toyota New Zealand motorsport manager Steve Boyce says directing support to school-age kart racing is another way Toyota can help to nurture the next crop of racing talent.

“For many drivers, karting is the first step in a motor racing career. We see TRS as the final preparation for drivers before they launch their careers onto the world stage, while the TR86 route will appeal to those who are looking for careers in ‘tintop’ racing, or who are not yet ready to step up to a TRS drive,” he said.

Both TRS and TR86 race cars will be on display at the track over the National Schools weekend.

Many talented young New Zealand karters have already come through TRS Toyota Racing Series on their way to international careers including three-time former Schools’ class champion, two-times TRS champion and three times New Zealand Grand Prix winner Nick Cassidy, TRS and New Zealand Grand Prix winner Mitch Evans, New Zealand Grand Prix winner Earl Bamber and TRS race winner and 2014 Porsche WEC driver Brendon Hartley.

A special feature of the Schools’ event is the Bruce McLaren KartSport Awards which will be presented jointly this year in association with the Bruce McLaren Trust and Toyota Racing New Zealand.

Each year two awards are offered and this year the awards – and the prize of a drive in a Toyota Finance 86 Championship TR 86 race car – will go to the winners of the two most popular eligible classes at the event.

“This desirable prize and our sponsorship of the event are further demonstrations of our support for New Zealand’s budding race drivers as they make their first steps into a motorsport career,” said Mr Boyce.