James Penrose has been selected as the winner of Castrol’s search for its 2022 New Zealand Grand Prix ambassador.
Penrose will compete at the Grand Prix in a Toyota FT-60 supported by Castrol when the event gets underway in February.
The announcement of Penrose’s entry for the 2022 Grand Prix makes him the first driver to be confirmed for the event.
Penrose is the current National and South Island Formula Ford champion, with multiple karting titles under his belt.
Initially 66 drivers applied, which was then refined to a shortlist of seven drivers, with Callum Crawley emerging as a narrow second at the end of the process, being awarded $15,000 towards securing a drive for the Grand Prix.
Candidates went through an evaluation process that saw them evaluated on their on and off-track capabilities. These include their racing track record, the ambassadorial skills required by Castrol, and generating social media engagement. Shortlisted drivers also underwent interviews with a judging panel.
“In the final review of some phenomenally talented young drivers, James was just what we were looking for,” explained Castrol Brand & Product Manager Jan Willink.
“We were amazed with the overall quality calibre of applicants. Picking a single winner from such a deserving field was a greater challenge than anticipated, but James’ authenticity and genuine ambition to take his career to the next level convinced us that we want to be part of that journey with him too.
“We now move to the next stage with James. He’ll be testing again and working with us as we build towards a reveal of the car livery for the GP. We cannot wait to see James out on the grid as the latest in a long and successful line of New Zealand drivers to carry Castrol colours.”
Jotika Prasad, Castrol Marketing Director (ANZ) agreed adding, “Between James, and runner-up Callum, we’ve got two drivers that have the capability and mindset to succeed on the biggest stage in New Zealand motorsport, and we’re thrilled to have them as part of the Castrol family.”
Penrose was quick to pay respect to the quality of the drivers in the final selection process.
“I knew – like all the drivers – that I had a shot at winning but it’s amazing to have actually been selected by Castrol to represent them in the Grand Prix. They’ve gone the extra mile to make this happen and I am determined to deliver on the faith they have shown in me.” Penrose said.
“When you see who was on the shortlist, let alone in the bigger 66 strong application list, I know that the opportunity could have easily gone to another driver such is the quality in that group. It’s very exciting for me to be the guy selected from that group to race in these iconic colours. I can’t wait.”
The 2022 New Zealand Grand Prix will be held February 11-13 at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park.