Invercargill race driver Brendon Leitch, 21, is the first signing for the coming Castrol Toyota Racing Series.
The championship, which gets under way at Ruapuna near Christchurch in mid-January, consistently attracts the best and fastest Kiwi drivers who go up against a strong field of international drivers keen to hone their skills on unfamiliar circuits in a professionally-run premier championship.
Brendon Leitch is a three-season TRS competitor and has a best finish of third overall in the 2016 championship. This year he has been racing in the fiercely contested FIA Formula Four USA championship, arriving in the American championship barely a month after TRS concluded at the New Zealand Grand Prix.. Going ‘hot’ from TRS to the US championship was ideal, he says.
“When I got over here [USA] I was ready to go. The level of competition in TRS is so strong, everybody is quick, it really set me up very well for coming to the USA. It’s the perfect preparation,” he says.
With TRS so freshly completed he arrived race-honed, race fit and overcame a series of early setbacks, reaching as high as the top five on the points table in field of 32-34 cars. Leitch says TRS has been a ‘huge asset’ to his developing career.
“It’s been fantastic, I have learned a lot about race-craft, about resilience and about communicating with my engineer and it’s all been instantly applicable in the USA.”
Toyota New Zealand Motorsport Manager Steve Boyce says there is once more strong interest from international drivers and their teams, and he is seeing an upswing in interest from talented Kiwi drivers as well.
“It is great to confirm our first driver signing for the 2018 championship. Brendon is a very quick driver who has made the most of his experience in TRS over recent seasons and is at the sharp end of the intensely competitive FIA Formula 4 USA championship. We are looking forward to seeing him back on track here in 2018, and we have a good number of drivers currently finalising their arrangements that we will confirm in the coming weeks,” Mr Boyce said.