NEWS
Wednesday, Jan 15 02:01pm
AUTHOR: Simon Chapman

GRID GUIDE: Meet the full 2020 Toyota Racing Series field

This year’s Castrol Toyota Racing Series looks set to be another wild one with a returning champion among several prospective Formula 1 drivers in the mix. 

 

Starting with the champion, here’s the grid for 2020 … 

 

 

#1 Liam Lawson, 17

M2 Competition

New Zealand

 

Red Bull Junior Team ace Liam Lawson will defend his Toyota Racing Series title in 2020 with the most successful team in the championship, M2 Competition. 

 

Lawson was a sensational winner of the 2019 championship after a thrilling battle with fellow countryman Marcus Armstrong, which was only resolved in the final race of the championship, the New Zealand Grand Prix.

 

Following his breakthrough championship win at Highlands Motorsport Park, Lawson was snapped up by the Red Bull driver development programme and headed to Europe to compete in both the Formula 1-supporting FIA Formula 3 Championship and the Euroformula Open Championship for Red Bull.

 

Despite a challenging year, Lawson took two podiums in his debut FIA Formula 3 Championship season as well as four wins and seven podiums in his parallel Euroformula Open campaign

 

17-year-old Lawson’s circuit racing career statistics remain some of the best amongst the up and coming junior single-seater drivers in the world today with 36 wins from 144 races. 

 

He finished the 2019 season on a high, with an impressive seventh-place finish around the streets of Macau.

 

 

#99 Rui Andrade, 20

M2 Competition

Angola

 

Rui is the first Angolan to race in the 16-year history of the championship. He made his circuit racing debut in 2018 - and his debut on the international racing scene - in the Spanish Formula 4 Championship for Drivex where he scored a solid 43 points in 14 races. 

 

During a busy 2019 season, the 20-year-old raced in three series – Euroformula Open, Formula Renault Eurocup with Drivex and the UAE Formula 4 Championship with Dragon Racing. He secured six podium finishes and two fastest laps in the UAE series. 


During the year he also finished fourth best rookie on his debut around the challenging streets of Pau in Euroformula Open.

 

 

#33 Yuki Tsunoda, 19

M2 Competition

Japan

 

Like Liam Lawson, 19-year-old Japanese driver Yuki Tsunoda is a member of the Red Bull Junior Team. 

 

Tsunoda, also part of the Honda Formula Dream Project, joins championship-winning team M2 Competition in a Red Bull liveried car for his New Zealand campaign.

 

From Kanagawa in the Kanto region of Japan, Tsunoda began karting in 2010, beginning with the JAF Junior Karting Championship, then moving to the regional class in 2013 and the national class in 2014. He started circuit racing in 2016 in Japanese Formula 4 and immediately impressed, claiming his first podium with second on debut at Suzuka for the Sutekina Racing Team. 

 

A full campaign in 2017 saw him secure fourth in the championship before his dominant 2018 season yielded eight pole positions, seven victories and the championship title. The Japanese F4 championship is regarded as one of the toughest junior formulae series to win.

 

Last season he competed in the FIA Formula 3 Championship and the competitive Euroformula Open series winning a race in each category with Jenzer Motorsport and Motopark.

 

 

#17 Igor Fraga, 21

M2 Competition

Brazil

 

Fresh from a top-three finish in the 2019 Formula Regional European Championship, Igor Fraga will begin his 2020 racing season with M2 Competition in New Zealand.

 

Fraga’s worldwide experience includes seven karting championships in Japan between 2004 and 2008 and the Asian karting championship title in 2008. 

 

He started circuit racing in Brazil in 2014, winning on debut at Interlagos and breaking the Formula 1600 lap record. He remained in Brazil for the domestic Formula 3 Championship in 2015 and won that title in 2017. 

 

A move to the United States the following season saw him compete in the FIA NACAM Formula 4 Championship where he finished second.


In 2018 he was fourth in his rookie season in the highly competitive USF2000 series and this year he took third overall in the F3 regional championship with four wins and 11 podium finishes.

 

He is also a successful e-sports racer and won the inaugural FIA Gran Turismo Nations Cup in 2018 and a few months later, also won the McLaren Shadow Project to become part of the team.


In 2019, Igor won the FIA Gran Turismo Manufacturer Series representing Toyota, becoming the very first driver to 

obtain both titles (Nations Cup and Manufacturer Series).

 

 

#6 Ido Cohen, 18 

M2 Competition

Israel

 

Ido races for M2 Competition in this season’s Castrol TRS series. He is managed by ADD Management, who are no strangers to entrusting their drivers to the category having previously placed Martin Kodric, Lando Norris and James Pull in the championship.

 

The 18-year-old from Tel Aviv started single-seater circuit racing in 2018. That followed four years in karting, competing in a variety of international Rotax Max Junior and Rotax Max Senior karting championships and events around the motorsport world.

 

His first foray into circuit racing was with BWT Mücke Motorsport in the 2018 Italian Formula 4 Championship. He dove-tailed that effort with an ADAC Formula 4 campaign - again with BWT Mücke Motorsport - in Germany.

 

He stayed in both championships for 2019 but switched to rival outfit Van Amersfoort Racing, securing a podium in ADAC Formula 4 and three more in Italian Formula 4 on the way. He also completed four races for Carlin Motorsport in 2019 the highly competitive Euroformula Open Championship. 

 

Most recently, he won the qualifying race at the inaugural FIA Motorsport Games.

 

 

#21 Emilien Dunner, 17 

M2 Competition 

France

 

French karting champion Emilien Denner will take his first steps in circuit racing in New Zealand in 2020 in the Castrol Toyota Racing Series.

 

The 17-year-old Strasbourg driver starts the southern hemisphere series on the back of an impressive season in karting in KZ2 in which he won the FIA Karting KZ2 International Supercup during the FIA Karting World Championship held in Italy in Sept.’19 and the 30° Trofeo Andrea Margutti, as well as finishing second in the FIA Karting European Championship with the win of FIA Europe Round 2 in Sarno in what is considered as one of the best and epic FIA Final of the last years. 

 

He was also third in the 2018 CIK-FIA European KZ2 Championship and is widely regarded as one of the best young karting talents in the world. He will cut his first laps in circuit racing with multiple Castrol Toyota Racing Series champions M2 Competition.

 

 

#62 Chelsea Herbert, 21

Giles Motorsport

New Zealand

 

New Zealand’s Chelsea Herbert is the sixth female driver in the sixteen-year history of the championship.

 

She will compete in the championship with Giles Motorsport under the guidance of the vastly experienced Stephen Giles.

 

Herbert is better known for her racing pedigree in tin tops, having started in the SsangYong Series in New Zealand before moving to the country’s domestic V8 Championship, first in Class 2 and then last season in Class 1. 

 

She has scored wins, pole positions, fastest laps and multiple podium finishes across four years of racing.

 

Chelsea will join Fiona Hamilton (2005), Christina Orr (2006, 2007 and 2008), Leanne Tander (2007), Michela Cerruti (2012) and Tatiana Calderon (2013) on the list of female racers who have competed in TRS. She is backed by long-time supporters MTF Finance, who have been with her throughout her 

motorsport career.

 

 

#26 Gregoire Saucy, 20 

Giles Motorsport 

Switzerland

 

Swiss junior formulae racer Grégoire Saucy is hoping the 2020 Castrol Toyota Racing Series will be a big start to a successful 2020.

 

The 19-year-old from Bassecourt joins Giles Motorsport for the championship. The FIA recognised the growing stature of the series last week, increasing it's Super Licence points tally to 10 for the championship winner and Saucy sees it as a great opportunity to start his 2020 campaign in the best possible way. 

 

A busy season racing in Europe in Formula 4 in 2019 saw the 19-year-old racer compete in the ADAC Formula 4 championship in Germany, the Italian Formula 4 championship and four races of the Formula Renault Eurocup. 

 

He drove for R-Ace GP in all three categories, placing ninth in Germany and 20th in Italy. He has been racing in junior formulae since 2016 and, like most of his competitors in the TRS series, has a strong background in karting.

 

 

#4 Henning Enqvist, 25

Giles Motorsport

Sweden

 

LMP2 and LMP3 endurance race driver Henning Enqvist is an intriguing addition to the 2020 Castrol Toyota Racing Series in New Zealand. 

 

The Swedish driver will join Giles Motorsport for the campaign, which gets underway in January and runs for five consecutive weekends before concluding with the New Zealand Grand Prix.

 

This will be the 25-year-old Stockholm based driver’s first single-seater campaign since competing in the four rounds 2017-2018 MRF Formula 2000 series. 

 

Henning is more widely known as an endurance driver in the LMP3 and LMP2 categories, having competed in the 2017 and 2016 V de V Endurance Series. He then went on to compete in the European Le Mans Series for 2018 and 2019. 

 

Last year was Henning’s first LMP2 season in European Le Mans series and included his debut in the Le Mans 24 Hours, racing for ARC Bratislava in the LMP2 category. 

 

His best performances came with French team Duquiene Engineering racing its LMP3 car in the 2017 VdeV Series. Enqvist’s first full season included wins in the 4 Hours of Paul Ricard and third place in the 4 Hours of Magny Cours.

 

 

#44 Lirim Zendeli, 20 

Giles Motorsport

Germany

 

2018 German ADAC Formula 4 Champion and Sauber Junior Team driver Lirim Zendeli races for Giles Motorsport in the 2020 Castrol Toyota Racing Series.

 

The Bochum, Germany-based Zendeli competed in the 2019 FIA Formula 3 Championship as part of the Sauber programme with the Charouz Racing System team and also took part in one of the Formula Regional European Championship rounds with US Racing in Mugello, taking two podiums from three races over the weekend. 

 

The 20-year-old began his racing career in karting back in 2011 and in 2013 finished third in the ADAC Kart Masters in KF3, winning the KFJ ADAC Kart Masters series in 2014. 

 

He made his circuit racing debut in 2015 in ADAC Formula 4, taking a podium his debut season. He finished fourth overall in 2017 before winning the title in 2018 after a run of 10 wins, 13 podiums and seven pole positions.

 

 

#7 Axel Gnos, 16 

Kiwi Motorsport

Switzerland

 

The Lausanne-born racer competed successfully in karting championships in Switzerland and Europe before moving to circuit racing in Italian Formula 4 in 2018. He took part in six races over two rounds with a best result of 16th at Imola.

 

In a busy 2019 season before his trip to New Zealand, Gnos competed in three Formula 4 Championships for Jenzer Motorsport and G4 Racing. 

 

This included his first full season of Italian Formula 4, as well as Spanish Formula 4 and selected rounds of the ADAC German Formula 4 Championship this season. 

 

He achieved several top 10 finishes in Spain and Italy and a podium finish in Spain with third in Jerez.

 

 

#16 Amaury Cordeel, 17

Kiwi Motorsport

Belgium

 

Belgian racer Amaury Cordeel - the 2018 Spanish Formula 4 Champion - is the latest driver to commit to the 2020 Castrol Toyota Racing Series in New Zealand.

 

Cordeel, who won seven races in the Spanish series on his way to the title, will race for Kiwi Motorsport and will be a potential title contender.

 

The young racer has considerable experience in junior single-seater formulae outside of his Spanish title campaign, including nine races with BWT Mücke Motorsport in the Italian Formula 4 Championship in 2018. In 2019 he also competed in the F3 Asia Winter Series and the Formula Renault Eurocup with MP Motorsport.

 

He has also raced in the ADAC Formula 4 Championship in Germany and the Northern European focussed SMP F4 NEZ Championship Certified by FIA. Add to that race experience in the French, the United Arab Emirates and Italian Formula 4 Championships and Cordeel arrives in New Zealand as one 

of the most experienced competitors in the field.

 

 

#5 Spike Kohlbecker, 17

United States of America

Kiwi Motorsport

 

American F1600 sensation and former karting standout Spike will race for Kiwi Motorsport in his first championship challenge in a wings and slicks formula.

 

The St. Louis, Missouri native who just recently turned 17 years old, has amassed a huge amount of F1600 experience over the past 18 months competing in the Toyo Tires series in Canada where he took two wins and eight podiums on his way to third place overall in his first full championship campaign.


He followed that up with a season in the New Zealand F1600 championship which was notable for seven podium finishes across 11 races. 

 

Kohlbecker then headed to the United Kingdom to compete in the highly competitive 2019 UK BRSCC Avon Tyres National FF1600 Championship where his run of success continued with four wins, 11 podium finishes including impressive wins at the legendary Brands Hatch circuit on his way finishing as series Vice-Champion.


Kohlbecker’s challenging path, dedication and performance have further confirmed his place as one of the best up and coming racers in the world.

 

 

#43 Franco Colapinto, 16

Giles Motorsport

Argentina

 

Argentinian racer and Spanish Formula 4 champion Franco Colapinto will begin his 2020 racing season in the Castrol Toyota Racing Series.

 

The 16-year-old from Buenos Aires was the sensation of the Spanish championship this year, winning 11 races plus taking 13 podium positions and nine pole positions on his way to the title for the Drivex Team. 

 

Colapinto will bring five years of karting experience, as well as seat time in 

Formula 4, Euroformula Open and Formula Renault Eurocup to his campaign.

 

 

#13 Tijmen van der Helm, 15

Kiwi Motorsport

Netherlands

 

Fifteen-year-old Tijmen van der Helm will have to wait until the third round of the Castrol Toyota Racing Series before he’s old enough to race in New Zealand, but he still reckons he can impress in the star-studded field.

 

Van der Helm has already won in Formula 4, taking one win in the 2019 UAE Formula 4 Championship as well as three podiums and will be one of a number of racers in the 20 car field that have junior formulae race and championship wins on their resume. A dual 2019 campaign in the Spanish Formula 4 championship also produced impressive results, with the young Dutch racer taking fourth overall. 

 

New Zealand motorsport rules mean he’ll need to be 16 before he can race one of the new Toyota FT-60 cars. With his 16th birthday on January 26th, he’ll miss the series’ first two rounds at Highlands Motorsport Park and Teretonga. 

 

He’ll make his debut at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park at the Denny Hulme Memorial Trophy meeting behind the wheel of a Kiwi Motorsport-run car.

 

 

#23 Caio Collet, 17 

Brazil

MTEC Motorsport/R-ace GP

 

Brazilian young gun and Renault Sport Academy star Caio Collet will open his 2020 racing account in TRS.

 

The 17-year-old from São Paulo comes to New Zealand on the back of a successful season in the 2019 Formula Renault Eurocup where he took six podiums on his way to fifth place in the championship and the Rookie title for R-Ace GP. For his Kiwi campaign Collet will join the affiliated mtec 

Motorsport - Engineered By R-Ace GP team. 

 

Joining the 2020 TRS grid was an easy choice for Caio and his management team given that the series will run the same cars and tyres as the 2020 Formula Renault Eurocup in which Caio will also compete with R-Ace GP.

 

An impressive track record in recent seasons racing in junior formulae gave Collet the French Formula 4 Championship in 2018 with seven wins and 11 podium places, marking him as one of the best young drivers to emerge from Brazil in recent years. A dominant season saw him defeat a field that included Arthur Leclerc, the younger brother for Formula One star Charles.

 

 

#11 Jackson Walls, 17 

Australia

MTEC Motorsport/R-ace GP

 

Up and coming Aussie single-seater racer Jackson Walls is set to return for a second season in New Zealand’s Castrol Toyota Racing Series.

 

He will re-join the mtec team - recently rebranded and restructured as mtec Motorsport - Engineered By R-Ace GP - for his 2020 campaign.

 

Walls took part in the championship in 2019 but was forced to miss the first round due to being too young. When he joined the action from the second round at Teretonga Park he impressed with both his speed and press on style and quickly established himself as the quickest Australian in the championship, coming close to a top ten championship result. 

 

With the New Zealand series under his belt, he ran a second season in the CAMS Australian Formula 4 Championship where he took a win. He also took part in the Asian Formula 3 Championship for the highly regarded Hitech Motorsport team, taking two podiums in the competitive series

 

 

#88 Lucas Petersson, 18

MTEC Motorsport/R-ace GP

Sweden

 

Lucas - who was based in Dubai before moving to the United Kingdom - began his racing career in karting in 2008. After multiple wins over several seasons, he was crowned Junior Max class champion of the United Arab Emirates Rotax Max Challenge in 2017. 

 

He then decided to step up to single-seater racing cars, moving into the FIA F4 UAE championship.

He adapted to cars quickly, taking two wins, a pole position, five podiums and three fastest laps in his first season and ended 2018 fourth in the championship standings. 

 

For 2019 he moved to the hugely successful Carlin Motorsport team and a campaign in the BRDC British Formula 3 championship. 

 

During a highly competitive season he took one win and a fastest lap at the second round at Snetterton.

 

 

#10 Oliver Rasmussen, 19 

MTEC Motorsport/R-ace GP

Denmark

 

Danish Prema Powerteam Formula 4 racer Oliver Rasmussen joins mtec Motorsport engineered by R-Ace GP for this year’s championship. 

 

The 19-year-old from Mougins, France steps up to the more powerful Toyota FT-60 that will be used in the 2020 NZ series after two seasons racing in Formula 4. 

 

He began his circuit racing career with Jenzer Motorsport in the Italian Formula 4 Championship in 2018 before joining the highly-regarded Prema squad for 2019. 

 

During a busy season, Rasmussen completed both the ADAC German Formula 4 championship and a second season in the Italian series. 4 podiums and an overall classification as 7th in the Italian Formula 4 highlighted the season. 

 

Like many of the up and coming single seater racers aiming for the top levels of the sport, Rasmussen began his racing career in karting and competed in 2017 and 2018 in the WSK series, KZ2 class.

 

 

#9 Petr Ptacek, 17 

MTEC Motorsport/R-ace GP

Czech Republic

 

Seventeen-year-old Czech Republic driver Petr Ptacek returns to New Zealand in 2020 for a second shot at the Castrol Toyota Racing Series.

 

Two podiums and eighth overall in the Formula Renault Eurocup championship last year highlighted a season that also included the MRF Challenge series in India and an impressive victory on his Asian F3 

championship debut at Suzuka in Japan, as well as his TRS campaign.

 

A karter from the age of seven, Prague-based Ptacek came into last season’s TRS campaign on the back of a Rookie Cup-winning season in the Italian Formula 4 Championship. 

 

For the coming season, he will run with mtec Motorsport engineered by R-ace GP.

 

With circuit knowledge and an understanding of the Tatuus chassis that underpins TRS as well as the Formula Renault Eurocup and the Asian F3 championship, Ptacek is looking forward to moving up the grid in New Zealand.


2020 Castrol Toyota Racing Series Entry List 

 

Team No.   Drvier Rounds
M2 Competition 1 New Zealand Liam Lawson 1-5
6 Israel Ido Cohen 1-5
17 Brazil Igor Fraga 1-5
21 France Emilien Denner 1-5
33 Japan Yuki Tsunoda 1-5
99 Angola Rui Andrade 1-5
Giles Motorsport 4 Sweden Henning Enqvist 1-5
26 Switzerland Gregoire Saucy 1-5
44 Germany Lirim Zendeli 1-5
49 New Zealand Ken Smith 5
62 New Zealand Chelsea Herbert 1-5
Kiwi Motorsport 5 United States Spike Kohlbecker 1-5
7 Switzerland Axel Gnos 1-5
13 Netherlands Tijmen van der Helm[3] 3-5
16 Belgium Amaury Cordeel 1-5
32 Puerto Rico José Blanco 1-2
43 Argentina Franco Colapinto 1-5
mtec Motorsport
engineered by R-ace GP  
9 Czech Republic Petr Ptáček 1-5
10 Denmark Oliver Rasmussen 1-5
11 Australia Jackson Walls 1-5
23 Brazil Caio Collet 1-5
88 Sweden Lucas Petersson 1-5


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