5 TRS stars to watch this weekend
Search Driven for vehicles for sale
The 2018 Castrol Toyota Racing Series kicks off today at Mike Pero Motorsport Park.
While this year's 13-car line-up (at the time of writing) is down on previous grid figures, there is still plenty of promising talent — including the greatest number of Kiwi drivers since 2010 (five), and a host of other well-known international names.
With racing set to be live streamed online, here are five of the biggest names you should keep tabs on throughout the weekend.
1. Marcus Armstrong
Christchurch teenager Marcus Armstrong returns to the series after a near-perfect European F4 campaign, where he finished second in the German ADAC series and first in Italy's series.
He was one of the quickest, most exhilarating drivers to watch but several unforced errors at critical moments ensured that he fell short of the 2017 TRS top three.
A year in Europe will hopefully have ironed out those blemishes — and, factoring in that he's a reigning race winner at Ruapuna, he should be the driver to beat.
2. Cameron Das
American Cameron Das arrives in New Zealand for his TRS debut as something of a Formula 4 juggernaut.
The 17-year-old holds the record for arguably the most dominant season of F4 internationally, after he managed to win eight races in a row in the 2016 United States Formula 4 Championship — unsurprisingly claiming the title in the process.
That speed translated to a race win in his debut season inlast year’s BRDC British Formula 3 Championship. That’s not bad for someone whose racing career only started in 2015.
3. Brendon Leitch
He's a bit of a series veteran now, but Kiwi Brendon Leitch is still capable of snagging race wins. This is particularly true when the series are racing in the south, as is the case this weekend.
The ITM pilot had a rough 2017 season, with his solitary race win at Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park a singular highlight.
However, he's also returning to the series having completed his maiden overseas season of racing in the US Formula 4 Championship where he was a race and round winner.
4. Robert Schwartzman
The TRS has always had a knack for attracting drivers from the Ferrari Driver Academy, and this year is no exception with the inclusion of Russian driver Robert Schwartzman.
In Formula Renault circles his name is held in high regard, with a third-place finish in last year's Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 series a career highlight.
During that season he beat a number of big names, including last year's TRS champ Thomas Randle, and the fifth man on this list...
5. Richard Verschoor
In the 12 months since we last saw 17-year-old Dutchman Richard Verschoor, a lot has happened.
His front-running debut TRS season sadly failed to translate on an international stage, and he was dropped from the cut-throat Red Bull Junior programme.
Regardless of that, his speed in last year's championship cannot be ignored.
In some ways, he was unlucky to not claim the title — having lost by a mere eight points. Unfinished business?