TOYOTA GAZOO Racing NZ to provide cars for two rounds of 2022 W Series
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing New Zealand will support W Series with the logistics required to get racing cars to Formula One race weekends on two different continents in the most sustainable way during the 2022 season.
Toyota will send 18 of its FT60 cars to be used by W Series – the international single-seater motor racing championship for female drivers – at their rounds at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Spain, and Suzuka, Japan, this year.
It is the first time that junior formula categories have worked together to stage a championship.
The cars will return to New Zealand in November to begin preparations for the 2023 Castrol Toyota Racing Series. Several cars will be retained in New Zealand for Toyota’s on-going testing and development programme ahead of the 2023 TRS Championship.
W Series uses identical Tatuus chassis to the TRS Championship, but with different engines. The cars being shipped for the two rounds – in support of F1’s Spanish Grand Prix in May and Japanese Grand Prix in October – will retain their Toyota engines. Sharing cars in this way enables the use of sea, as opposed to air freight, and keeps the championship’s carbon footprint as low as possible.
“We actually started talking about our collaboration in early 2020. With the pandemic cancelling W Series’ 2020 season and reducing the scale of the 2021 season, the arrangement was put on hold until now,” explained TRS Category & Operations Manager Nicolas Caillol.
“The main factors were freight logistics and costs for W Series and, with our cars not being used at that point of the year, it became apparent we would be able to help. We are currently in the process of having our 8AR Engine homologated by the FIA to enable our cars to compete in W Series.
“We hope very much that it is a win-win for both championships. We are all in it together as junior formula series around the world and we are delighted to be able to help. Of course, we’d love to see some of the drivers racing in W Series this year carry on their association with the FT60s and head down to NZ to compete in 2023!
“Tatiana Calderon, Michella Cerrutti, and current Toyota 86 Championship drivers Chelsea Herbert and Christina Orr-West have all competed in Castrol TRS in past seasons. As part of the collaboration, we are hoping there will be opportunities in the future for Kiwi women to compete in W Series as well.”
Caillol and his team at TGRNZ are confident that, with border restrictions lifting progressively this year, the Castrol TRS championship will return to full health with a field of international drivers as well as the best of Kiwi talent for 2023.
“It’s great that we were able to come to an arrangement with TGRNZ over the use of their cars. I would like to thank Andrew Davis and Nicolas Caillol in particular for the enthusiastic and proactive manner in which they approached this project, along with Bob McMurray who made the initial introduction between TGNZR and ourselves,” said W Series’ Racing Director Dave Ryan.
“Putting together an international racing series is a complex operation requiring lots of resources. This is a good solution for W Series as it prevents the use of air freight and allows us to stage our support races at eight Formula One Grand Prix weekends in the most sustainable way.”