Home Formula RegionalFRegional Oceania Superleague Formula winner Chris van der Drift to do New Zealand GP

Superleague Formula winner Chris van der Drift to do New Zealand GP

by Ida Wood

Photo: TGR NZ

Superleague Formula race-winner Chris van der Drift will join the Formula Regional Oceania grid for next week’s New Zealand Grand Prix as a guest driver.

The 36-year-old is one of several expected additions to the entry list for the Hampton Downs race weekend, with the grid potentially growing to 20 cars.

Van der Drift cameoed in FRegional Oceania, when it was known as the Toyota Racing Series, early in his career and then moved to Europe where he became International Formula Master champion in 2008.

After a year in Formula Renault 3.5, van der Drift became a professional in SLF in 2010 and he won four races before a huge crash not only ruled him out of title contention but also put him out of action. He returned for the season finale, then also contested one of the 2011 season’s two rounds.

After that he won in Auto GP, before a switch to sportscars that resulted in three Porsche Carrera Cup Asia titles.

Two years ago he made a TRS return for the grand prix with the revived Tasman Motorsports Group team which was a race-winner in CART in the 1990s and also won several Indy Nxt titles.

Van der Drift drove with a retro livery [pictured above], comfortably topping free practice on his single-seater return and coming short of pole by just 0.067 seconds. On second-fastest laps he did get to start race one from the front, but finished half a second off victory in second place. He was 0.409s away from first place in race two, then was battling for a podium in the New Zealand GP itself when contact led to him losing his front wing. After pitting for repairs he recovered to fifth.

Tasman will once again be behind van der Drift’s grand prix entry for this year, but his car will also be co-run by the Hamilton Motorsport team which made its debut last weekend running Billy Frazer,

“My mistake in the grand prix has been bothering me for two years now!” van der Drift said. “I genuinely feel we could have won that day and I could have ticked that box on my CV, which every Kiwi driver wants to do of course.

“I know the car well of course and have done a lot of laps around the track so I hope I’ll be able to dial myself and the car in very quickly and be on the pace. There’s some incredible talent in this year’s FRegional Oceania field, so I know it’s going to be tough, but I’m up for it.”

Van der drift actually helped develop the series’ version of the Tatuus FRegional car, and since his last appearance in the series won the one-round TCR New Zealand series and appeared in endurance racing down under.