Source: MIL-OSI Submissions
The news that Toyota will contribute up to $500,000 to assist emerging Kiwi racing talent has been welcomed by the Kiwi Driver Fund (KDF), who will manage the biggest ever investment into its on-going programme to find New Zealand’s next motor racing world champion.
It comes at arguably the most challenging time ever for junior motorsport globally thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on the world-wide racing calendar.
There’s no question New Zealand has the environment to produce genuine world class driving talent and Toyota’s investment in KDF could make all the difference for the next generation.
Kiwi racer Brendon Hartley, who won the first ever Toyota Racing Series (TRS) race, last weekend won his second Le Mans title, again with Toyota. Double New Zealand Grand Prix and former TRS champion, Nick Cassidy has had major international success with Toyota and Lexus plus many other TRS drivers have gone on to successful careers in major international series including V8 Supercars, Formula 3, Formula 2, Formula E and WEC sports cars.
2018/19 recipient Marcus Armstrong is now full time with motorsport icon Ferrari and 2019/2020 recipient Liam Lawson, with a TRS title under his belt, was signed by Red Bull and has excelled this year in the Formula 3 championship. Both of these alumni may make the step up to the pinnacle of the sport, Formula One.
“We recognise that New Zealand drivers often find it difficult to achieve and maintain the level of funding required to compete at the highest level and that’s even more pronounced as a challenge in the current global climate. The Kiwi Driver Fund aims to assist these drivers, explains KDF Trustee, Steve Boyce.
“Along with our partners Hampton Downs, Highlands Motorsport Park, Post Haste, Truck Sales New Zealand Ltd and of course Toyota NZ, we share a real mission to identify New Zealand’s potential world champions in motorsport and give them a boost along the way.”
Applicants for the Kiwi Driver Fund submit a full resume and plan for their future careers, must demonstrate a high level of communication skills and are required to have most of their funding and team in place, with KDF supplementing this. The Kiwi Driver Fund trustees review applications and then decide who will receive a grant.
This additional funding is reserved for drivers with no previous full-season TRS championship experience. The recipients will test Toyota’s FT50 chassis and will then need to submit an application.
The Kiwi Driver Fund application can be found here: https://www.kiwidriverfund.co.nz/drivers