Giles Motorsport’s Chelsea Herbert will not see out the remainder of the Toyota Racing Series season after breaking her back in a crash during qualifying for the second round.
The single-seater debutant and local star took 17th and 15th place finishes in the season opener at Highlands Motorsport Park, but missed the first Teretonga race while being treated and has now been told to stay out of the car.
Herbert, 21, exited the pitlane on cold tyres at the start of the first qualifying session at Teretonga and almost immediately crashed into the tyre wall on the right of the exit, leading to the session being red flagged.
Medical crews came to the assistance of the conscious Herbert to help extricate her from the Tatuus T-318 regional Formula 3 car, and she was then taken to hospital while reporting instance of pain in her back.
Hospital analysis and a CT scan revealed a fractured vertebrae, which will not require intrusive surgery to repair. However, Herbert will remain in hospital for several days as she recovers.
Mark Herbert, Chelsea’s father, said: ?The whole of our team, the family, Chelsea?s sponsor MTF Finance and Toyota Gazoo Racing would like to acknowledge the medical and rescue teams for their efforts.?
Herbert’s previous motorsport experience focused on stock car racing, with two years in Utes preceding a move up to New Zealand?s equivalent of Australian Supercars as a Class 2 entrant. She became a race winner and moved up to Class 1 for the 2018-19 season.
TRS has been struck by two notable injuries in the first two rounds, with Kiwi Motorsport’s Amaury Cordeel having also been ruled out for the rest of the session due to concussion gained in a crash at Highlands.
There are no known plans for replacement drivers at either team, with Kiwi set to drop its driver Jose Blanco-Chock after Teretonga once Spanish Formula 4 graduate Tijmen van der Helm is old enough to race in the series.