Thomas Smith to stay summer sharp in New Zealand

2018 CAMS PAYCE Australian Formula 4 Championship driver Thomas Smith has confirmed he will make a start in the 2019 Castrol Toyota Racing Series (TRS) with Giles Motorsport.

After a recent tour of the Toyota Racing New Zealand facility at Formula 4’s final round at Pukekohe, Smith was eager to keep race fit in the five-week series across January and February.

“Australian Formula 4 has helped me to be able to step up into TRS by helping me in my transition from karts to cars,” Smith said.

“The reason we have chosen to do the Toyota Racing Series is as a result of the tough competition given by lots of top international drivers, which will be a great learning opportunity.

“It’s the closest you can get to a European style category without going far from Australia.”

Smith will be no stranger with the Giles Motorsport squad, with team owner and former McLaren F1 chief mechanic Stephen Giles also involved with Team BRM’s Australian Formula 4 campaign.

“There’s a lot of expertise and knowledge there… and there’s going to be a huge amount that I can learn and absorb during the campaign from Stephen and his team,” Smith said.

New Zealand is a happy hunting ground for Smith, with the 16-year-old Victorian also securing his best results of the season in Pukekohe.

“Ultimately I am hoping to head overseas and have a crack racing over in Europe, and if the New Zealand campaign goes well it will provide a major stepping stone to making that happen in due course,” Smith said.

Australian Formula 4 drivers have travelled a similar path previously, with the likes of Harry Hayek, Luis Leeds and Thomas Randle competing in recent years. Randle became the first Australian to win the series in 2017.

2018 Champion Jayden Ojeda was also awarded a test day as part of this year’s prize pool, with Ojeda to sample a TRS car at Hampton Downs in December before his Supercar test with Brad Jones Racing.

Highlands Motorsport Park will host the first round of 2019 on January 12–13. Two rounds will take place on New Zealand’s South Island and three more on the North Island. The series concludes with the prestigious New Zealand Grand Prix at Manfeild Circuit Chris Amon in February, one of only two races outside of F1 officially recognised by the FIA as a Grand Prix.

2019 Castrol Toyota Racing Series Calendar
January 12-13 – Dorothy Smith Memorial Cup – Highlands Motorsport Park, Cromwell
January 19-20 – Spirit Of A Nation Trophy – Teretonga Park, Invercargill
January 26-27 – NZ Motor Cup – Hampton Downs Motorsport Park, Waikato
February 2-3 – Denny Hulme Trophy – Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park, Taupo
February 9-10 – New Zealand Grand Prix – Manfeild Circuit Chris Amon, Feilding