GP2 racer Artem Markelov and F3 drivers Santino Ferrucci and Lance Stroll head a list of international stars making the trip to New Zealand for the Toyota Racing Series in the new year.
Markelov, who drives for the Russian Time outfit in GP2 alongside Kiwi Mitch Evans – a double champion in TRS in 2010-11, is part of a six-car line-up for the Giles Motorsport team.
He’s joined by 16-year-old American Ferrucci, who took part in the FIA F3 European Championship last year, finished seventh in Macau and is believed to be nearing a Mucke Motorsport deal for 2015.
Also at Giles are Markelov’s fellow Russian Dzhon Simonyan, a competitor in Euroformula Open, British and German F3 race winner Sam MacLeod and GP3 racer Alfonso Celis. Kiwi James Munro, who finished seventh in the 2014 TRS and then won the Formula Masters China Series, completes the Giles line-up as previously reported by PaddockScout.
Italian F4 champion Stroll, who is set to race for Prema in the 2015 FIA F3 season, leads the M2 Competition entry. Joining the Ferrari protege are two graduates of BRDC F4, series runner-up Arjun Maini as well as Charlie Eastwood, who have tested in FIA F3 and Formula Renault 2.0 respectively ahead of 2015. New Zealand Formula Ford champion Jamie Conroy and Danish FFord competitor Mathias Kristensen complete the M2 assault.
Victory Motor Racing enter a four-car line-up consisting of local brothers Damon Leitch and Brandon Leitch and Austrian duo Ferdinand Habsburg and Stefan Riener.
ETEC Motorsport will field Protyre Formula Renault racer Matteo Ferrer, returning to the series after competing for Giles in 2014, world karting vice-champion Nikita Mazepin, who has already gained single-seater experience in the MRF Challenge and AsiaCup Series, and the Australian Formula Ford champion Thomas Randle.
TRS, run over five weekends in January and February, has introduced a new Tatuus chassis for its 11th season in 2015.