New FT 50 confirms Toyota NZ’s commitment to motorsport

New FT 50 confirms Toyota NZ’s commitment to motorsport

20140919_ft50_0610

Toyota has marked its tenth anniversary of the ‘wings and slicks’ single-seater Toyota Racing Series by launching an all-new FT 50 race car designed in Italy by Tatuus.

It’s a multimillion dollar commitment by the New Zealand arm of Toyota Motor Corporation to continue a local motor-sport championship which will breed future Formula One drivers, such as Russian driver Daniil Kyvat who will replace Sebastien Vettel at Red Bull Racing.

Kyvat raced in the Toyota Racing Series in 2011, he finished fifth overall in the championship winning the Dan Higgins Trophy at Manfield, and he stepped on to the podium five times during that season.

The new single seater FT 50 race car is longer and wider than it’s decade-old predecessor the FT 40, and it also provides greater safety for drivers with a front and rear crash structure and a deeper cockpit which provides more head and neck protection as well.

Only three critical components are carried over from the old race car, being the familiar 1.8-litre 2ZZGE engine, the Michelin racing tyres, and the use of E85 Biofuel.

Toyota New Zealand motorsport manager Steve Boyce says the FT50 will give young New Zealand racing drivers valuable experience driving a modern ‘wings and slicks’ single seater before they contemplate heading offshore to pursue a career.

In its first decade the series has attracted international drivers to New Zealand to hone their racing skills during the northern hemisphere winter, meaning TRS also gives young Kiwis a chance to gauge their speed and skill against the drivers they are likely to meet on circuits in Europe, Australia, Asia and the USA.

Category manager and race driver Barrie Thomlinson says the arrival of the FT50 ushers in a new era for TRS. The new car will ensure TRS remains at the leading edge of driver development.

“Tatuus have delivered us a car which the teams and drivers can look forward to. As always we remain 100% focused on our core mission of developing young drivers’ skills in the cockpit and this car will enable us to continue to do so.”

The new car has been tested in Italy and New Zealand, with multiple TRS champion Nick Cassidy driving the car at the Italian shake down tests and twice TRS champion Daniel Gaunt handling the testing duties in New Zealand at Hampton Downs and Taupo.

Thomlinson says the data obtained from each test will be used to decide on the final set up specification of the car prior to the individual race teams taking over for the 2015 series.

“It’s going to be very exciting to see the drivers and teams work with this new car and we are sure those who have worked so hard to make this new car a reality will be pleased with the outcome,” he says.

The new FT50 race car will make its race debut race in the 2015 Toyota Racing Series, with the five week championship kicking off at Ruapuna in January and finishing with the New Zealand Grand Prix at Manfeild near Feilding in February.

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