MIQ facilities at capacity; no international drivers for TRS
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing New Zealand has confirmed today that a lack of available spaces in MIQ facilities means there will be no international drivers on the grid for the forthcoming New Zealand Grand Prix or 2021 Castrol Toyota Racing Series.
Despite being one of 11 sporting events granted approval to utilise the managed isolation facilities, there are no places within the narrow time window for internationals to complete isolation in time to take part in the 2021 championship.
“After working with MBIE and Sport NZ we are disappointed that we are unable to get international drivers into NZ to compete due to the lack of space in MIQ facilities,” said General Manager of Motorsport, Andrew Davis.
“We had several international drivers lined up and ready to come, so we are disappointed that this is the end result, especially as we had worked hard to gain approved status. We have seen many of the TRS drivers go on to compete in Formula One including international and New Zealand drivers and we had done everything in our power to ensure this continued this season.
“The implications for the series are that the talented young New Zealand drivers racing will not get to compete against international drivers of a similar calibre. The economic impact of the international drivers coming into New Zealand is huge to the local areas where we race,” he added.
“However, we are excited for the series and it will definitely be one to watch this year with a lot of great up and coming Kiwi talent competing and a significant list of established Kiwi racers bolstering the field.
“The 66th Grand Prix is going to be special in many ways, not least because there are more top line New Zealand drivers on show in one race than there has been for a considerable time in New Zealand and we are delighted to be part of it with everyone involved determined to put on a great show.”
Billed this year as the Race of Champions, the 2021 New Zealand Grand Prix could be one of the biggest for major Kiwi names since Bruce McLaren himself was behind the wheel.
The MotorSport New Zealand-sanctioned event doubles as the opening round of the 2021 Castrol Toyota Racing Series. A joint venture by Hampton Downs and Speed Works Events, it will run over the weekend of January 22nd-24th with practice, qualifying and two races for drivers before the New Zealand Grand Prix itself on Sunday 24th over 28 laps of the circuit.
A legendary list of previous winners includes Stirling Moss, Prince Bira, Jack Brabham, John Surtees, Graham Hill, Jackie Stewart and legendary Kiwi racers Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon. More recently, it has been won by current F1 drivers Lando Norris and Lance Stroll. It will be the first time the Grand Prix has been held at the North Waikato circuit.
A second weekend at Hampton Downs, coinciding with the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Festival, will form the second round of the 2021 Castrol TRS Championship with the season finale at Manfeild two weeks later.