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New Zealand GP grid reaches 20 cars with three late additions

by Ida Wood

Photo: Toyota Gazoo Racing NZ

The New Zealand Grand Prix will feature a grid of 20 cars, with three late additions to the Formula Regional Oceania entry list for round four at Hampton Downs this weekend.

The series, previously known as the Toyota Racing Series, has 13 full-time entries and last week Giles Motorsport added Louis Foster and Adam Fitzgerald to its line-up for the rest of the season.

Hamilton Motorsport’s Billy Frazer also joined the grid for round three at Manfeild to prepare for this weekend’s grand prix, and he will be one of four drivers contesting the upcoming races who will then not be present at the season finale the week after.

The team will also be co-running with former IndyCar squad Tasman Motorsports Group the car of Chris van der Drift, who has already been announced as entering the grand prix as a guest driver due to the Superleague Formula race-winner’s extensive motorsport experience.

Making his debut at Hampton Downs, and also contesting the Taupo season finale, is ART Grand Prix’s FRegional Europe racer Laurens van Hoepen. The Dutch teenager will race for M2 Competition in the Oceania championship.

Meanwhile Giles has signed 2021 New Zealand GP poleman Kaleb Ngatoa for a one-off return, with the Kiwi returning to the series after spending the last two years racing in S5000 in Australia.

Kiwi Motorsport is expanding its line-up to include Brendon Leitch, who has six TRS wins to his name from seven seasons in the championship and has a best finish of fifth in the grand prix. He has since raced as a Lamborghini junior in sportscars.

FRegional Oceania’s qualifying format will be revised for this weekend, with a single session rather than two being used to set the grids for races one and three.

Qualifying will take place in three segments, like in Formula 1, and the results of Q1 will set the race one grid and postions 15 to 20 for the grand prix grid.

Q2 sets the positions for ninth to 14th, with the fastest eight drivers then progressing to Q3 where they will fight to start on pole and win NZ $500. The grand prix itself will deliver NZ $5,000 for the winner, NZ $3,000 for the runner-up and NZ $2,000 for third place.