The latest generation or New Zealand’s next world champions had a busy two days of testing at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park in the old-gen Toyota Racing Series car, the FT50.
With border closures and subsequent managed-isolation periods amid the pandemic, the 2021 TRS season could well see a mammoth grid of Kiwi talent dueling it out for supremacy.
TRS veteran Tayler Cockerton, meanwhile, was behind the wheel of the current FT60 model that was unveiled ahead of this year’s season.
Despite wet weather punctuating both days, Cockerton and Toyota Gazoo Racing were able to wrap up several miles as they continue to fine-tune the latest model of car.
Storied youngsters Kaleb Ngatoa, Flynn Mullany, Conrad Clark, Billy Frazer, Mauro Iglesias, Peter Vodanovich, Josh Bethune, Callum Crawley and Jack Noble-Adams all had runs in FT50s.
Frazer also got some time in the FT60 as part of his prize as NZ Formula Ford champion in the recently curtailed 2019/20 season.
Incumbent South Island Formula Ford champion Noble-Adams enjoyed his outing in the FT50 as part of his championship winning prize.
“The goal was to get myself comfortable in a high speed professionally set up wings and slicks car and get myself up to speed,” he said.
“I am looking to do another test day in the FT50 or the FT60 and if that goes well start a sponsorship campaign and try and get myself onto the grid for the 2021 championship.”
Ngatoa, meanwhile, had his second shot behind the wheel of an FT50 as he strives for a seat on the 2021 grid.
“I have been working a lot on my own skill set over the Covid break and the test is really about putting all that into practice. Braking, getting the maximum out of the car and a few other areas,” Ngatoa explained.
“I am hoping that I will get enough out of the test in the car today to move our plans for TRS forward.
“We have some supporters who may back us in TRS but I want to be up at the front and not messing about at the back. Once I think we’ve done enough laps and everyone is happy that I am ready, then I think we will be on the grid in 2021.”
Castrol Toyota Racing Series Category manager Nico Caillol was highly impressed with the quality of the runners and how they adapted to the car in tricky conditions.
“There was a lot of interest in the test which is of course good news for the sport in New Zealand,” added Caillol.
“We extended it from one day to two and were very impressed with all of the drivers. It’s likely we will at least be looking at further test days if the level of interest continues.”
Details of the 2021 TRS season, including a calendar is expected to be announced over the coming days.