Kaleb Ngatoa says work is still needed to be done for him to be in the Toyota Racing Series next year despite extensive testing in both the old-generation FT50 and current-spec FT60 models which has put him one step closer to his next career goal.
The 2021 TRS championship could feature the most Kiwis on the grid for several years with the international borders still closed with few exemptions for non-New Zealand citizens.
After stints in both Formula First and Formula Ford, Ngatoa has begun the first phase of his next career step with several tests in the FT50 TRS.
Last week, Ngatoa test drove the FT60 car at Hampton Downs, his first outing in the current-generation race car which debuted in the series earlier this year.
The 19-year-old has been open about his ambitions to land a drive on the TRS grid for next year. However, he says making a move to the series still hinges on securing the necessary financial backing.
“I don’t want to get to excited yet but I’ve got some pretty awesome people wanting to see me on the TRS grid this year,” Ngatoa told Velocity News.
“TRS is still the goal, but at the end of the day it all comes down to the money to do it.
“Still, I am training, preparing and have my eyes set to be on the grid for 2021.
“I’ve tested the FT-50 a few times now and have had one day in the FT-60. I think I have adapted to the car pretty well.
“I’ve had the best people around me from Toyota and M2 to make the process a lot easier, and they prepared me very well before my first test.
“The only real difference to the Formula Ford is the aero but once I got my trust and confidence in the car I felt really comfortable.”
Ngatoa added that he would only make a move to the TRS grid once he feels he is fully prepared.
His main intention is to spend one season in the category which will then act as a springboard to guide him towards his international goals.
“I want to enter the series at the top of my game and do the best I can in my first year,” he said.
“[From there] I will try and make my way into the international racing scene as that’s always been the goal.
“But every year TRS brings a lot of interest overseas as it is in there off season. So, I would love to come back and race in my home country again with everything going well.”
The 2021 TRS season will feature just three-rounds, two of which will be at Hampton Downs in January.
The series finale will be at Manfeild on February 12-14. Currently, there is no confirmation on where the New Zealand Grand Prix will be staged.
Main Image: Tayler Burke