Toyota Gazoo Racing New Zealand organisers have confirmed that a ‘wildcard’ entry backed by long-time naming rights sponsor Castrol will be fielded at the New Zealand Grand Prix, with the driver to be a young New Zealander chosen by a panel of judges.
The unique incentive is a first for the Toyota Racing Series. Any race driver can apply to be selected for the coveted ride, so long as they’re under 25 years of age, have New Zealand residency or citizenship, and have the ability to demonstrate “a track record of success”.
“Competing in the Castrol Toyota Racing Series is a well-established rite of passage for the next generation of motorsport superstars” said Castrol Brand & Product Manager Jan Willink.
“For half a decade, Castrol has proudly partnered with Toyota to help grow this platform and we’re thrilled to be able to provide this fantastic opportunity for a young New Zealand driver to take the next step in their motorsport journey.”
It’s a significant announcement for those fighting to progress upwards in the sport, but perhaps lack the budget to commit to a season. Applications can be filed on the Toyota New Zealand website until November 26.
The series will then choose five finalists, who will then come under the microscope of the judging panel.
“Castrol is one of motorsport’s identifiable brand names and has been involved in all forms of motorsport sponsorship over the years and decades, including here in New Zealand,” explained TOYOTA GAZOO Racing New Zealand Motorsport Manager Nicolas Caillol.
“We have seen the support of Castrol act as a springboard for the careers of many drivers, most recently with previous TRS graduate and champion Thomas Randle. This initiative will hopefully accelerate the progress of young Kiwi drivers in a similar way. We have so many talented young drivers here in New Zealand and many have that extra edge needed to go all the way.
“It is one of these drivers who will be in the seat of an FT-60 for the Grand Prix and who will get a once in a lifetime chance to put their name on an iconic global motorsport trophy along with some of the sport’s biggest names.”
The New Zealand Grand Prix will take place at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park on February 11-13.