It seems to be the ‘in thing’ these days with up-and-coming racing drivers to participate in as many series as possible to get as much experience as possible. Whether it’s the JK Racing series in India, a couple of rounds of Formula Two or the Formula Renault NEC, you will usually find a few drivers who are taking part alongside their ‘home’ series.
Formula Renault UK drivers in particular seem to have this down to an art form. It is winter in the northern hemisphere, but in the south there’s racing going on. Josh Hill, Felix Serrales and Jordan King have all made their way to New Zealand for the Toyota Racing Series – five rounds of three races each – and they are not alone. Only a few Kiwi drivers are participating against the largest field of international drivers the series has seen.
So far, two rounds of the series have been played out, and the local drivers have been acquiting themselves admirably, though they haven’t had it all their own way. The first winner was son and grandson of champions Josh Hill, before Hannes van Asseldonk (5th in ATS Formel 3 Cup last season) took the next two.
In the second round of three races, Kiwi Nick Cassidy – who came second to van Asseldonk both times the Dutchman won – showed his abilities by winning the first two races and coming third in the final race. He now leads the championship with 383 points. Second is Damon Leitch, who took the most recent win and also has two seconds and a third. He has 372 points.
Third in the championship is Felix Serralles. Though he only has one podium (second at the second race of round two) he has been very consistent and has 295 points. Josh Hill is fourth with 261 points, and van Asseldonk is fifth with 237 (and equal with Kiwi Jono Lester who came third in the first race). Other drivers who have taken podiums are Russian Dmitry Suranovich (second in the third race of round two), Bruno Bonifacio (third in the second race of round one) and Jordan King (third in the second race of round two). This series, is heavily penalising to drivers who fail to finish, as all classified finishers get points. However, a few good finishes should boost most drivers up towards the top of the standings as the points given to lower finishers are not huge.
JK Racing Asia series champion Lucas Auer, Italian girl driver Michela Cerruti, and FR 3.5’s Nathanael Berthon, are also amongst the drivers taking part. To find out more you can visit the series website http://www.toyotaracing.co.nz or their Twitter account @ToyotaRacingNZ.