The 2021 Castrol Toyota Racing Series will look vastly different to those of previous seasons with just three rounds and two venues confirmed for the upcoming season.
Kicking off on January 22-24 at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park, the TRS paddock will return to the Waikato circuit for round two a week later. The series will then conclude at Manfeild a fortnight later.
The New Zealand Grand Prix will still be integrated into the 2021 season. However, there has been no confirmation about which circuit and at which round will host the event.
The first and final round will be in line with the MotorSport New Zealand Summer Series. In contrast, the penultimate round will be featured in the 2021 TOYOTA GAZOO Racing NZ Festival along with the Best Bars Toyota 86 Championship.
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing New Zealand General Manager, Andrew Davis, said the reduced format was to keep entry costs as low as possible to encourage Kiwi drivers to enter the series.
“The fundamental purpose of the Castrol Toyota Racing Series is to develop our homegrown racing talent. This format gives us the ability to continue to promote and support local talent and bring top class motorsport to the New Zealand public,” said Davis.
Davis stressed that while South Island fans of the series will be disappointed with the news, there is every intention to return to South Island circuits in 2022.
He also added that plans have been mooted to expand the NZGP into a New Zealand All-Stars event with as many former TRS champions and New Zealand racing champions competing as possible against the 2021 field.
Acting CEO of MotorSport New Zealand Elton Goonan said that with the international borders currently closed to most of the world, next year’s series would have a broader focus on domestic talent.
“It’s great to be able to pull the final pieces of the MotorSport New Zealand Summer Series together in announcing the TRS dates,” said Goonan.
“TRS has been a key step in the motorsport ladder for many young drivers since its inception so with such an unusual year, we’re happy to be able to finally confirm the dates. With the focus on local drivers in 2021, we’re going to see some of NZ’s best young drivers take to the track hoping to follow in the footsteps of some of New Zealand’s superstar drivers.”
With the reduced length of the season, all three events of the 2021 calendar will feature extended race lengths and more extensive practice session.
“Drivers competing will still enjoy the benefits of a compact four-week, three weekend campaign with exceptional track time” explained Toyota Racing Series Category Manager Nicolas Caillol.
“Three 30-minute practices, a practice start session and two 15-minute qualifying session will still be part of the format for the weekend. The race distances have been increased from 50kms and 70kms to 70kms and 80 km respectively.
“Two testing days would also be offered to overseas drivers between round two and three which will keep a high level of overall mileage over the season, another great incentive to come and race in New Zealand.”
Castrol Toyota Racing Series dates:
- Round one: Hampton Downs 22nd – 24th January
- Round two: Hampton Downs 28th – 30th January
- Round three: Manfeild 12th – 14th February