Racecar Test Drives For NZ Nationals Winners

press release

The profile of New Zealand's biggest annual kart meeting, the National Sprint Championships at Easter, continues to grow with the official announcement today of a joint promotion between KartSport New Zealand and Toyota New Zealand.

The seven senior class winners and three wild cards from the event will win a test drive in a TRS Lites single-seater racing car at a test day to be held at the Manfeild motor racing circuit in May.

Above: winning senior drivers get get to have a steer of one of these. This is 14-year-old former New Zealand Sprint Kart class champion Mitchell Evans aboard one of the new TRS Lites cars at Manfeild in February. (pic - TRS/Lee Howell)

The Toyota Fast Track Award winner will be the best driver assessed at the test day and will receive a drive in a TRS Lites single-seater at a round of the 2009/10 TRS Series.

TRS Lites is a new 'class-within-a-class' created to ease the transition from karts or other racing categories to the TRS which is the country's premier single-seater motor racing class.

The cars use the same carbon-fibre chassis and 1.8 litre Toyota engine but have less power - 111kw (150bhp) compared to the 166 kW (220bhp) of the cars that compete in the main series -  and are run on an 'arrive-and-drive' basis by experienced TRS technicians.

above: Karl Wilson, Mathew Kinsman and Mitchell Hill competing at the Hamilton track where this year's Natioanls will be held. (pic - Fast Company/Andrew Bright-Ultrapix)

As such, says, KartSport New Zealand Development Manager Robert Hutton, the annual National Sprint Championship meeting is the perfect place to launch the Toyota Fast Track Award initiative.

"History has demonstrated that karting is the first rung on the ladder to a successful motorsport career. And over the years we have seen many of our brightest and best, the likes of Scott Dixon, Wade Cunningham, Brendon Hartley and Earl Bamber make a successful transition to single-seaters.

"Increasingly however we are noting that top senior karters overseas are moving directly to wings and slicks formulae. There are more similarities between modern karts, or perhaps more specifically the amount of grip they produce, and the more sophisticated 'wings-and-slicks' single-seaters like those contesting the TRS.

“Other classes of single-seaters and saloon cars often require karters to relearn a lot of their driving approach due to their lower grip levels.

"The arrival of TRS Lites means our stars of the future can now move directly from 'slick-tyre-kart' to 'wings-and-slicks car.' And those who have already driven the TRS Lites car have commented on how smooth the transition from karts to TRS Lites was.

“We are delighted that Toyota has launched the Toyota Fast Track Award in conjunction with this year’s event at which we are also celebrating 50 years of KartSport in New Zealand.”

Toyota New Zealand Motorsport Manager Steve Boyce said that; “Toyota New Zealand is looking forward to reinforcing our already strong relationship with Kartsport New Zealand through this award.

“Kartsport New Zealand has been instrumental in the development of many drivers who have progressed on to strong international careers and we believe the launch of TRS Lites will assist this process.

“We are looking forward to seeing some exciting racing between the emerging young talent at the 50th anniversary meeting and observing those who will be provided with the opportunity to experience ‘wings-and-slicks’ racing at our Manfeild test day.”

This year's KartSport New Zealand National Sprint Championships presented by Toyota Racing Series has attracted a record entry of over 250 across 11 classes.

Competition at the Hamilton Kart Club track, opposite Hamilton Airport, starts on Easter Friday and continues through Saturday and Sunday.


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