The Toyota Gazoo racing New Zealand has today issued a response to claims that it won’t be running any events in the South Island for its 2021 season.
The claims, made by Speed Works event promoter Geoff Short, were published by VelocityNews earlier this week. Short said that a solely North Island–based series was the most likely outcome for the 2021 series.
In its statement, the Toyota Gazoo racing New Zealand describes Short’s claims that the decision to not run in the South Island is related to Covid-19 relief as “unsubstantiated”. It also stated that the 2021 Toyota Festival’s dates are yet to be confirmed.
The series outlined its commitment to delivering a calendar that included events in both the North Island and South Island, although it stopped short of confirming whether South Island rounds would feature on the 2021 calendar.
The statement discussed a potential need to reduce costs in the face of Covid-19’s impacts, and how a series held exclusively in the North Island would benefit this. It also outlined that if South Island circuits were to be dropped from the 2021 calendar, they would return for the following 2022 season.
“If the decision was made to hold the series solely in the North Island, this will be in order to reduce costs to make it affordable for more Kiwi drivers to participate in the series,” said Andrew Davis, Toyota Gazoo Racing New Zealand General Manager.
“The fundamental purpose of the Toyota Racing Series is to find NZ’s next world champion. TRS is a national championship and Toyota is a national organisation, so we are committed to taking the series right across New Zealand.
“We will continue to support the circuits around the country including the South Island and want to reiterate if it is not possible to do so for the 2021 season, we will be back in 2022.”
The series confirmed it was in the process of working through an exemption plan with the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Enterprise (MBIE), the Department of Immigration, and regional authorities to grant permission to overseas drivers to come to New Zealand and compete in the series.
“We are fully supportive of Toyota’s move to help reduce costs as much as possible for Kiwi drivers, especially given the current economic climate, and are continuing to work with both Speed Works Events and Toyota Gazoo Racing New Zealand to finalise the calendar for the 2020/2021 Race Championship season,”added MotorSport New Zealand President Wayne Christie.