TOYOTA GAZOO Racing NZ (TGRNZ) had a busy two days of testing this week at Hampton Downs as some of New Zealand’s best young drivers got to grips with the championship’s previous series car, the Toyota FT50.
Experienced racer Tayler Cockerton, meanwhile, ran both days of the test in the current FT60, clocking up multiple laps as TGRNZ continued to fine tune the new series model ahead of the 2021 Championship.
Kaleb Ngatoa, Flynn Mullany, Conrad Clark, 2019-20 ITM NZ Formula Ford Champion Billy Frazer, Mauro Iglesias, Peter Vodanovich, Josh Bethune, Callum Crawley and New Zealand’s South Island Formula Ford Champion 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
With variable conditions and a lot of rain over both days of the test, lap times were not relevant but the drivers enjoyed the experience with many clocking their first miles in a wings and slicks downforce machine.
Noble-Adams enjoyed his outing 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.”
It was the second time that Ngatoa has tested the older specification TRS series car in what was the next step of a focussed and a serious effort to be on the 2021 grid and in the winners’ circle too.
“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,” he said. “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 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. 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.”