The Castrol Toyota Formula Regional Championship will switch to Pirelli tyres for its highly competitive 2024 and 2025 competitions.
Hankook’s plant in Daejeon, where much of its racing tyre manufacture was located was almost completely destroyed by the fire. A significant number of international championships, including New Zealand’s premier single-seater category, were consequently left without a tyre supply.
“It was unfortunate, of course, and like many championships, we were facing the prospect of not having any tyres moving forward as the timescale for the Hankook tyre production to resume was unknown,” explained TOYOTA GAZOO Racing New Zealand Motorsport Manager Nicolas Caillol.
“We had to act quickly and it made perfect sense for us to become a Pirelli customer for the 2024 and 2025 championships.”
The Toyota FR Oceania Championship – known previously as the Toyota Racing Series – has been a stepping stone for two decades for some of the best drivers in the world, and no fewer than 21 of its graduates have officially practised, tested or raced in Formula One.
Graduates stood on the podium of each class at the recent Le Mans 24 Hour race too. With Pirelli tyres for the next two years, the championship becomes even more relevant for Europe’s up-and-coming single-seater stars.
“We will be using exactly the same tyre – on the same chassis – as the Formula Regional European Championship, so the Castrol Toyota FR Oceania Championship definitely has even greater significance moving forward for these competitors,” added Caillol.
“The drivers will be able to learn both chassis and tyre extremely well during the 3,000km of testing, qualifying and racing that form our championship each year and will, of course, gain a huge advantage ahead of the season beginning in Europe. It is hard to imagine better training for their Northern hemisphere campaigns.”
The TGRNZ team – based at New Zealand’s Hampton Downs International Motorsport Park – have already begun to integrate the tyre into its ongoing testing programme and will provide all competitors in the 2024 and 2025 championships with a base set up for the Pirelli-shod FT60 cars used in the Kiwi championship.
Although a different compound, the current Pirelli junior formula tyre that will be used has a number of qualities developed as a direct result of Pirelli’s long-term involvement in F1, F2 and F3.
Header Image: Pirelli tyres will be a feature of New Zealand’s premier single-seater championship in 2024 and 2025. Picture: Formula Regional European Championship.