Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search


Toyota Racing Series heads for NZ Grand Prix

10 January 2007

Media Release

Drivers prepare for biggest challenge of the year

Toyota Racing Series heads for New Zealand Grand Prix at Manfeild
Biofuel Grand Prix a world first

Defending New Zealand Grand Prix winner and Toyota Racing Series champion Daniel Gaunt will be hoping for an uneventful weekend as he prepares to defend his Grand Prix title this weekend.

At Ruapuna near Christchurch last weekend, his Lady Wigram Trophy defence went profoundly wrong.

Gaunt, 22, was left wondering what went wrong at the Lady Wigram. He crashed at high speed during testing on the Thursday and then had his fastest times erased from qualifying after his car was found to be under weight.

That put him off the back of the grid for the Lady Wigram last Sunday and forced him into a stunning drive which saw him carve through half the field in the 25-lap race distance, finishing seventh.

This weekend the Auckland driver is once more defending a 2007 title, this time the most prestigious trophy in New Zealand motorsport: the Grand Prix. He is unconcerned at his overall series points total, maintaining his focus solely on defending the individual race titles he won in 2007 and on the international rounds that make a “series within a series” in New Zealand’s summer of motorsport.

Leading entries ranged against him are the winner of the 2008 Lady Wigram Trophy, Earl Bamber; along with series leader Andy Knight and the leader of the three-race international “series within a series”, Ben Harford.

Bamber is well motivated by his Lady Wigram victory and keen to close the series points gap between himself and the front-runners, Knight and Harford.

On a comeback after a spectacular crash in the second TRS race last weekend are Mitch Cunningham and Michael Burdett.

The pair tangled at high speed on the back of the circuit and Cunningham’s car was substantially damaged, preventing the Aucklander from making good on his early-series speed.

Burdett’s car was less damaged and he recovered well from the crash, taking fourth overall in the Lady Wigram Trophy race behind Matt Halliday.

Series leader Andy Knight also had a challenging weekend and will be hoping for a clear run at Manfeild to extend his points total. Knight was unable to repeat his dominance of the first round at Pukekohe in late 2007.

He took a third overall and a win in the two races that preceded the Lady Wigram itself but a misfire that developed during the Lady Wigram Trophy dropped him down through the field even as Daniel Gaunt was headed in the other direction.

Five new drivers arrived in the series for the start of the international series. A further addition for this round is Daynom Templeman from Auckland’s North Shore. He was third overall at the New Zealand Grand Prix last year, and will be aiming for the podium again in 2008.

Home-grown innovation is to the fore in the Toyota Racing Series. The 2008 New Zealand Grand Prix is the first in the world to run on biofuel. From the start of the 2008 season all Toyota Racing Series cars use an E85 ethanol-petrol blend that reduces emissions, significantly reduces use of fossil fuels and has been shown to give slight improvements in power and torque.

New Zealand is one of only two countries in the world to have the right to call its premier race a Grand Prix. In its 57 year history, the Grand Prix has been held at nine different venues in the past, and only moved off road and airfield circuits onto permanent circuits in 1963.

The first New Zealand Grand Prix in 1950 was won by John McMillan in a Jackson Special, and the title has been contested and won by most of the famous names of the formative years of grand prix racing:

Held in recent years at Teretonga near Invercargill, the Grand Prix has moved north this year to Manfeild near Palmerston North. Manfeild has undergone a makeover to host the race, including construction of a new three storey race control tower and upgrades to many of its facilities.

The 2008 New Zealand Grand Prix, 35 laps of the 3.03 km Manfeild Autocourse, will get under way at 4.20 pm on Sunday afternoon.

Among other features of the weekend are a street party in feilding itself, autograph signing sessions with the stars of the Toyota Racing Series, classic grand prix car demonstration laps, an outing for the New Zealand A1GP car, and a new on-track innovation to be announced during race weekend by Toyota.

Toyota Racing Series
New Zealand Grand Prix weekend programme
Friday 11 January 2008
12.10pm Toyota Racing Series Testing Session One
2.45pm Toyota Racing Series Testing Session Two
7.00pm Grand Prix Gala evening at Toyota New Zealand

Saturday 12 January
11.45 am Toyota Racing Series Qualifying Session One
12.05 pm Toyota Racing Series Qualifying Session Two
12.25 pm Toyota Racing Series Qualifying Session Three
4.32 pm Toyota Racing Series – Race One (16 Laps)
5.00 pm Toyota Racing Series Press Conference
5.00 pm –10.00 pm Feilding Street Party from 5pm to 10pm at Manchester
Square Feilding, drivers present, family event

Sunday 13 January
12.00 pm Toyota Racing Series – Race Two (16 Laps)
3.50 pm onward Grand Prix build-up. TRS2 race car leads the field
behind safety car, TRS Cars on to grid, engines
switched off
Kapa Haka
National Anthem
Drivers to cars
4.20 pm Toyota Racing Series New Zealand Grand Prix (35
5.05 pm NZGP podium presentations
Toyota Racing Series
Points after two rounds
1. Andy Knight 380
2. Ben Harford 353
3. Nic Jordan 300
4. Earl Bamber 250
5. Dominic Storey 232
6. Ben Crighton 213
7. Christina Orr 208
8. Ken Smith 194
9. Michael Burdett 190
10. Mitch Cunningham 188
11. Nelson Hartley 187
12. Hamish Cross 183
13. Matt Halliday 169
14. Sam MacNeill 148
15. Matthew Hamilton 127
16. Nathan Antunes 120
17. Daniel Gaunt 96
18. Michael Pickens 76
19. Kristján Einar 72

Media release

Bio-fuel Grand Prix a world first
Innovation puts Toyota on pole

The 2008 New Zealand Grand Prix is a world first. It is the first time any motor racing Grand Prix has been run on biofuel, and in particular on an E85 ethanol fuel blend using ethanol derived from whey, a by-product of the dairy industry.

Toyota’s locally developed racing series took a world first step into environmentally ethical fuel production and use with the adoption this year of an E85 ethanol fuel blend from the first round at Pukekohe.

The fuel is 85 per cent ethanol and 15 per cent 95 octane petrol.

Toyota’s pioneering move follows months of laboratory and dynamometer testing and engine performance tuning and a comprehensive re-development of the Toyota Racing Series cars with new fuel system components to manage the new fuel.

The biofuel initiative is specific to motorsport, and the series offers a perfect test environment for high percentage biofuel use under the most extreme conditions.

Ethanol based biofuels have not been used in New Zealand motorsport until now, and their adoption for the Toyota Racing Series has only been possible through Motorsport New Zealand’s willingness to modify regulations governing permissible rules in its championships. In extensive testing by TRS the fuel has consistently burned cooler than petrol and can deliver significantly reduced emissions. In the process of re-tuning the engines for the new fuel, power and torque gains were also noted.

The Toyota Racing Series is New Zealand’s premier open-wheel “wings and slicks” race category and uses Italian built carbon-composite race chassis fitted with production Toyota four cylinder engines that have been developed for motorsport purposes.

Other race series worldwide are examining the potential of biofuels, but all use purpose-built competition engines and none have indicated they can or will commit to an E85 fuel blend until at least 2009. Few will commit to more than a 30 per cent blend and they use fuels derived from food crops.

“Toyota has a global responsibility to conduct its business in an ethical and environmentally responsible manner which minimises the impact of our operations on the environment. We take this responsibility very seriously and see the Toyota Racing Series’ commitment to the E85 ethanol fuel blend as a unique opportunity to develop and refine innovative biofuel technology in the toughest possible environment,” said Toyota spokesperson John Fowke.

Toyota Racing Series Manager Barrie Thomlinson says the off season period has been used to comprehensively test and prove the fuel’s suitability for competition.

“We are very confident about the fuel’s compatibility with racing uses, and we are looking forward to the data that we can provide about the use of high percentage fuel blends. This is a perfect example of motorsport helping the automotive world to produce cleaner, smarter road cars and giving global brands like Toyota tools that help to actively manage their carbon profile.”

Toyota’s commitment to biofuel in the Toyota Racing Series will also help to educate car owners, Toyota staff, its commercial partners, Kiwi race fans and the community at large about the growing fight against climate change.

The switch to E85 for the race series also points the way to development of true carbon-neutral and ethical fuels.

Environmental activists and political parties have for some time been voicing concern about the trend toward diversion of arable land from food crops to growing new fuel crops. The ethanol used in the TRS E85 blend is derived not from grain or root vegetables as is the case with much of the developing biofuel industry in other countries, but as a by-product of the dairy industry.

“Potentially, if production volumes are commercially viable, distilling ethanol from dairy industry waste could help relieve some of the pressure on food cropping. Developing this kind of capability in our dairy industry now could give New Zealand an edge over the rest of the world.”

Internationally, Toyota is the acknowledged leader in the development and production of innovative low-emission, fuel efficient hybrid-powered vehicles. The company has a comprehensive environmental and social strategy which is embodied by all parts of its global operations including motorsport.

The Toyota Racing Series forms part of Toyota NZ’s CarbonZero programme which aims to reduce and manage its resource use, adopt environmentally responsible technologies and offset carbon emissions from its operations. The programme extends to all Toyota’s own vehicles and to all Toyota operated sites including the TRS base at Mount Wellington in Auckland, aligning the Toyota Racing Series programme with Toyota’s position as the leading manufacturer of sustainable and environmentally-friendly motor vehicles.

In New Zealand, Toyota New Zealand is a foundation member of the Business Council for Sustainable Development, a member of the Sustainable Business Network and long term supporters of the Worldwide Fund for Nature.


New Zealand Grand Prix Winners
1950 John McMillan (NZ) Jackson Special
1954 Stan Jones (Aust) Maybach Special
1955 Prince B. Bira (Thailand) Maserati
1956 Stirling Moss (GB) 250F Maserati
1957 Reg Parnell (GB) 3.5L Ferrari
1958 Jack Brabham (Aust) Cooper 2L
1959 Stirling Moss (GB) Cooper 2.5L
1960 Jack Brabham (Aust) Cooper 2.5L
1961 Jack Brabham (Aust) Cooper 2.5L
1962 Stirling Moss (GB) Cooper 2.5L
1963 John Surtees (GB) Lola 2.7L
1964 Bruce McLaren (NZ) Cooper 2.5L
1965 Graham Hill (GB) Brabham 2.5L
1966 Graham Hill (GB) BRM 2L
1967 Jackie Stewart (GB) BRM 2.2L
1968 Chris Amon (NZ) Ferrari 2.4L
1969 Chris Amon (NZ) Ferrari 2.4L
1970 Frank Matich (Aust) McLaren M10A 5L
1971 Niel Allen (Aust) McLaren M10B 5L
1972 Frank Gardner (Aust) Lola T300 5L
1973 John McCormack (Aust) Elfin 5L
1974 John McCormack (Aust) Elfin 5L
1975 Warwick Brown (Aust) Lola TA332
1976 Ken Smith (NZ) Lola T332
1977 Keke Rosberg (Finland) Chevron B34
1978 Keke Rosberg (Finland) Chevron B34
1979 Teo Fabi (Italy) March 79
1980 Steve Millen (NZ) Ralt RT1
1981 Dave McMillan (NZ) Ralt RT1
1982 Roberto Moreno (Braz) Ralt RT4
1983 David Oxton (NZ) Ralt RT4
1984 Davy Jones (USA) Ralt RT4
1985 Ross Cheever (USA) Ralt RT4
1986 Ross Cheever (USA) Ralt RT4
1987 Davy Jones (USA) Ralt RT4
1988 Paul Radisich (NZ) Ralt RT4
1989 Dean Hall (USA) Swift/Cosworth
1990 Ken Smith (NZ) Swift/Cosworth
1991 Craig Baird (NZ) Swift/Toyota
1992 Craig Baird (NZ) Reynard 92H
1993 Craig Baird (NZ) Reynard 92H
1994 Greg Murphy (NZ) Reynard 90D
1995 Brady Kennett (NZ) Reynard 91D
1998 Simon Wills (NZ) Reynard 94D
1999 Simon Wills (NZ) Reynard 94D
2000 Andy Booth (NZ) Reynard 94D
2002 Fabian Coulthard (NZ) Van Diemen Stealth RF94
2003 Jonny Reid (NZ) Van Diemen Stealth RF94
2004 Ken Smith (NZ) Van Diemen Evo2
2005 Simon Gamble (NZ) Spectrum 010
2006 Hamad Al Fardan (Bahrain) Toyota Tatuus TT104ZZ
2007 Daniel Gaunt (NZ) Toyota Tatuus TT104ZZ

Toyota Racing Series 2008 Race Calendar | Round 1 3-4 Nov 07 Pukekohe Park Raceway, Auckland, New Zealand Motorcup | Round 2 5-6 Jan 08 Powerbuilt Tools International Raceway, Ruapuna, Lady Wigram Trophy | Round 3 12-13 Jan 08 Manfeild Park, Feilding, New Zealand Grand Prix | Round 4 18-20 Jan 08 Taupo Motor Racing Circuit, Taupo, Denny Hulme Memorial Trophy | Round 5 16-17 Feb 08 Manfeild Park, Feilding, Dan Higgins Trophy | Round 6 1- 2 Mar 08 Timaru International Raceway, Timaru, Timaru Herald Trophy | Round 7 8-9 Mar 08 Teretonga Park, Invercargill, Spirit of a Nation | Round 8 18-20 Apr 08 Hamilton Street Race, Hamilton


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

IHC Tribute: Colin Meads

"While Colin is best known for rugby, to us he is one of a small number of distinguished IHC New Zealand Life Members recognised for their significant support for people with intellectual disabilities," says IHC Chief Executive Ralph Jones. More>>


Howard Davis Review: Tilting at Turbines - The Trip to Spain

Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon have now both broken the Big Fifty barrier, which seems to have brought a whole new level of angst to their midlife adventures ... More>>

Review: A Rose By Any Other Name Would Smell As Sweet

The Royal New Zealand Ballet has accepted the challenge of this heart-touching tragedy and largely succeeded. More>>


NZ's First Male IAAF Gold: Tom Walsh's Historic Shot Put Victory

Although feeling very sore but with a great feeling Tom Walsh took his place as number one on the victory dais to receive his much deserved gold medal. More>>


Scoop Review Of Books: Q&A: Hard To Find Books

"Unfortunately we are in crisis and this friendly dinosaur faces extinction… Our only hope is to try and raise funds to buy the building and restore it to its glory, either fully funded or with a viable deposit." More>>

Kid Lit: Lost Mansfield Story Discovered At Wellington Library

Previously undiscovered letters and a story written by a young Katherine Mansfield were recently unearthed in Wellington City Library’s archives by a local author researching a book about the famous writer. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland