New Zealand campaign will start Wurz’s 2023 season
Charlie Wurz will be making the step up from Formula 4 to Formula Regional to begin 2023 when he heads to New Zealand to take part in the Castrol Toyota FR Oceania Championship.
The son of former F1 racer Alexander Wurz, Charlie, has had a busy year in the lower junior formulae, sealing the United Arab Emirates F4 Championship title. He went on with Prema Racing to compete in the Italian Formula 4 Championship where he finished fourth overall – and third placed Rookie – in a grid of over 40 drivers. Charlie also competed in select rounds of ADAC German F4, taking three podiums and subbed for a sick driver in one round of Spanish F4 with Campos Racing taking a P3 finish.
The Toyota FT-60 he will race for M2 Competition will be a step up in power for single seaters for Charlie. The Austrian driver is nonetheless looking forward to taking on a field of young drivers in a series that over the years has seen success for the likes of F1 racers Lando Norris, Lance Stroll, Red Bull reserve Liam Lawson and Indy-bound Marcus Armstrong.
Wurz is certainly looking forward to the Kiwi experience, commenting: “Ever since I can remember my dad has recounted stories of his time racing in New Zealand, how it was such an important step in his career and how much he loved it.
“I’m so excited to be able to start 2023 with this experience and a big thank you to TOYOTA GAZOO Racing and M2 for making it happen.”
Wurz will have Kiwi Toyota 86 Championship and Porsche driver Callum Hedge and Australian Formula Ford Ryder Quinn among his team mates and that’s going to be a competitive environment which is going to bring out the best in the team’s drivers, according to principal Mark Pilcher.
He expects Wurz to be a player in the championship, which begins in New Zealand’s South Island next month at Tony Quinn’s Highlands Motorsport Park in Cromwell.
“It’s great that Charlie can begin his next step in New Zealand and we welcome him aboard,” he said. “Young drivers from F4 have made this step with success and we look forward to helping Charlie do the same.”
The five round series – known formerly as the Castrol Toyota Racing Series – has recently gained status with the FIA, becoming the Oceania edition of its global Formula Regional programme and offering 18 Super Licence points for a championship win and points down to ninth place overall.
It has proved popular for junior formulae drivers over the years because of its unique timing at the start of the year – which is in the middle of the New Zealand summer and the northern hemisphere winter. It races at tracks in both the South Island and the North Island and this season includes the most southerly track of them all, Teretonga, Manfeild, Hampton Downs and Taupo as well as Highlands on its schedule.