One of NZ’s latest motorsport sensations is about to embark on a mission to assert himself in the USA F3 series, with his eyes firmly fixed on climbing aboard the “Road to Indy” ladder. Kaleb Ngatoa of Marton has secured a spot with the prestigious TJ Motorsport and the Kiwi Motorsport duo of Teena Larsen and Garry Orton, and has packed his bags full of dreams, expectations and of course, his race gear.
Ngatoa jets out of Auckland on Thursday night and is headed to Dallas, Texas to begin the next steps on his journey to a career as a professional IndyCar driver. To say he is excited would be an understatement, as this is the realisation of a lifelong dream for Kaleb.
“Since I was in karts at 6, I have firmly had my sights set on a professional racing career, and this is the beginning of a journey that I can’t wait to get started on”, said Ngatoa.
His return home is uncertain at this point due to a lack of available MIQ spaces, so Kaleb with stay on in Texas after an intensive 4-day testing regime and then will line up at the final round of the Formula Regional Americas Championship powered by Honda at Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas on 5 November.
Kaleb will be learning the art of race car engineering, driver conditioning and preparation at a new level in between growing as an international driver. He has been receiving some expert tuition and mentoring from another Kiwi legend, Shane van Gisbergen, who highly rates the Man-from-Marton since watching him race in various categories here and in Australia, even in the various E-Series events during COVID lockdowns.
The race car is a Ligier Crawford JS F3 chassis, featuring a halo device and is powered by a Honda K20C1 engine, 6-speed sequential gearbox and produces 270BHP.
Kaleb stunned the TRS field last season by placing his #15 Toyota Gazoo Racing FT-60 on pole position for the NZ Grand Prix at Hampton Downs and then transitioned seamlessly into the incredibly powerful S5000 category in Australia to record a win and a podium at Sandown in only his second meeting in the car. He followed this effort up with another win at Sydney Motorsport Park to confirm his ability to produce quality results.
The task to raise the budget required was large but Kaleb set to his work and managed to secure the funding in a very short time to facilitate this step in his career. He plans to contest the full 2022 FR Championship, with the end prize being a seat in the 2023 Indy Lights Championship.
With the speed and determination shown by this incredibly talented young Kiwi, the sky is the limit and hopefully a little bit of lady-luck will allow Kaleb to repay his support crew down-under. NZ will be following Kaleb’s progress with much interest, as he takes on the world (in America). Good luck and go safely Kaleb.