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Toyota Racing Series set for 19 cars in 2016 edition

by Peter Allen
Nicolas Dapero

Photo: Toyota Racing NZ

The 2016 Toyota Racing Series will begin next weekend with a field of 19 cars at Ruapuna.

With last year’s dominant team M2 Competition having already completed its six-driver line-up, the Giles Motorsport and ETEC Motorsport outfits have also had their full rosters confirmed.

Giles will also run six cars with Carlin’s Canadian MSA Formula signing Devlin DeFrancesco and Pro Mazda-bound Argentine Nicolas Dapero joining the team.

They will race alongside returning New Zealander James Munro, Austrian Formula Renault 2.0 racer Ferdinand Habsburg, Polish Euroformula Open driver Antoni Ptak and Dapero’s Juncos team-mate, American Will Owen.

New Zealand Formula Ford champion Taylor Cockerton, whose plans to enter TRS were revealed in July, will race for ETEC, alongside French Pro Mazda driver Timothe Buret and Brazilian F3 competitor Rodrigo Baptista.

Completing ETEC’s line-up is American Theo Bean, a 23-year-old whose background is in historic racing but is part of the same management stable as Owen.

Taking the entry list up to 19 as a late addition is local driver Brendon Leitch, who will continue for a third season with Victory Motor Racing alongside Brazilian FR2.0 driver Bruno Baptista and German karting graduate Julian Hanses.

Leitch’s brother Damon seems set not take part in TRS for the first time since his 2011 debut, after five successive top-eight campaigns.

The grid size is one fewer than in 2015 after a deal for Kiwi Jamie Conroy (a reverse-grid race-winner with M2 last year) to return fell through.

M2’s 2016 line-up consists of double Brazilian F3 champion Pedro Piquet, MSA Formula champion Lando Norris, his new FR2.0 team-mate and Force India junior Jehan Daruvala, Ferrari’s Chinese protege Guan Yu Zhou, GP2 racer Artem Markelov and Van Amersfoort Formula 4 driver Kami Laliberte.

Toyota Racing Series 2016 entry list
Teams Drivers
ETEC Motorsport 4. Theo Bean 11. Taylor Cockerton
13. Rodrigo Baptista 26. Timothe Buret
M2 Competition 5. Pedro Piquet 6. Jehan Daruvala
10. Artem Markelov 15. Kami Laliberte
31. Lando Norris 33. Guan Yu Zhou
Giles Motorsport 17. Devlin DeFrancesco 21. Nicolas Dapero
23. Will Owen 40. James Munro
62. Ferdinand Habsburg 67. Antoni Ptak
Victory Motor Racing 18. Julian Hanses 25. Bruno Baptista
86. Brendon Leitch