Dunedin racer Josh Bethune has been announced for the full three-round 2021 Castrol Toyota Racing Series, alongside fellow drivers confirmed for the full season Matthew Payne, Billy Frazer, and Kaleb Ngatoa.
The 17-year-old makes the wings and slicks jump having established himself as a frequent front-runner in domestic Formula Ford. He’s a dual champion in the South Island Formula Ford series, and has claimed second place overall in the national series the last two seasons in a row.
It won’t be Bethune’s first time competing in a wings and slicks open-wheeler. In 2019 he competed in the US Formula 4 series — at the time his overseas motorsport debut. On top of this, the teenager has also tested a current-generation Toyota FT-60 at Hampton Downs.
“The jump to the FT60 is significant but not as hard, for example, as it was to go from karting to a Formula Ford car. The US Formula 4 is also a modern chassis and challenging to drive both technically and physically and the time I have in those cars is also going to be valuable in ensuring I have the speed I need in the TRS car,” he said.
“Everyone on that grid is a competitor when the helmet goes on. We’re all the same. It’s awesome to be out there with some of the big names but they are just competitors and other drivers I will try to beat. That’s the way they’ll see me too and I’m sure it’s going to be great racing.”
The youthful grid announced so far for the full season will be joined at the category’s opening event — the 66th running of the New Zealand Grand Prix at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park — by a host of the country’s greatest motorsport names.
Shane van Gisbergen, Greg Murphy, Daniel Gaunt, Chris van der Drift, and Kenny Smith have been announced thus far; making for a current GP grid of nine drivers with more set to be announced prior to its January 22–24 event date.