Home Formula RegionalFRegional Oceania FFord racer Kaleb Ngatoa secures Toyota Racing Series graduation

FFord racer Kaleb Ngatoa secures Toyota Racing Series graduation

by Ida Wood

Photo: Toyota Racing NZ

New Zealand Formula Ford racer Kaleb Ngatoa will move up to the Toyota Racing Series next year, having already tested with top TRS team M2 Competition.

The 19-year-old was a national champion in Rotax Junior karts before switching to car racing in 2016 and winning the Formula First Manfeild Winter Series. He came second in the 2017-18 FFirst NZ season, before making the natural move up to FFord competiton and also racing in Toyota’s one-make series for its TR86 sportscar in New Zealand.

Ngatoa was a winner on his first foray into sportscars, and came seventh in NZ FFord this year before beginning a test programme in the previous generation car and current Tatuus FT-60 used in TRS.

“Honestly I feel really comfortable in the car and am enjoying the speed and grip compared to what I have driven before,” said Ngatoa.

“Most of all though, it’s going to be great to be part of the grand prix and the series. To have the chance to race in the Toyota Racing Series is huge for me and the grand prix is so special isn’t it?”

The opening round of the 2021 TRS season takes place at Hampton Downs and incorporates the New Zealand Grand Prix. As a result of that race’s presence, and the prospect of international drivers competing intially looking unlikely, it has attracted big-name local drivers such Shane van Gisbergen and Chris van der Drift.

“I would love to add my name to the trophy,” Ngatoa added. “Every Kiwi driver knows how cool that would be and what an honour it would be to have my name on there with some of my motorsport heroes and mentors.”

“I am working 100% to be ready for the start of the championship and thinking about ways I can improve myself and the car in the time until it begins.

“I am sure the other drivers will be doing the same and I can’t wait to be out there racing with them.”

Karting star Matthew Payne and reigning NZ FFord champion Billy Frazer are the only other drivers to publicly commit to entering the full TRS season so far.