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Toyota Racing Series Confirms Key Drivers

Toyota Racing Series Confirms Key Drivers
2012 champion Cassidy back to defend title
Alex Lynn returns, key rival to Cassidy’s title hopes
Young rookies look to hone their race-craft

Toyota Racing Series champion Nick Cassidy has confirmed he will return to defend his title in 2013.

Cassidy will race in a highly competitive field against several experienced returning racers from the 2012 championship along with new racers from around the world as he aims to win a second TRS title.

At the Hampton Downs race circuit in the north Waikato, Toyota has today announced a further seven drivers who will contest the 2013 championship, including Cassidy and 2011 TRS graduate Alex Lynn who returns after missing this year’s series.

The Toyota Racing Series is New Zealand's premier single seater championship, attracting top local talent and drivers from all around the world to compete for the TRS Series Trophy and the prestigious and historic New Zealand Grand Prix title. The profile and reputation of TRS as it heads into its ninth season has already helped to boost entries for 2013 close to the record set in 2012, when 15 international drivers raced against six New Zealanders over the five-weekend, 15 race championship.

Aucklander Nick Cassidy outraced the field to win the 2012 series and the New Zealand Grand Prix title. He took four wins, nine podium finishes and set three fastest laps on his way to the title. After his TRS season, Cassidy went on to compete in several rounds of the Formula Renault 2.0 with Fortec Motorsport and recently tested a GP3 car with Status GP at Valencia in Spain. Cassidy, 18, has also announced that he will swap from his 2012 championship winning team and will race in the 2013 TRS with M2 Competition.

Alex Lynn (UK) returns to Toyota Racing Series fresh from a sensational debut performance at last month’s Macau Grand Prix. He took pole position on the demanding street circuit – the first rookie to do so since 2006 – and finished on the podium in both the qualification race and the Formula 3 Grand Prix.

Lynn, 19, is a young man on a mission with his eye on the top echelons of the sport. In 2011 he was ninth in TRS, taking one win, three podium finishes and a fastest lap. Heading back into the 2011 northern hemisphere racing season he dominated the UK Formula Renault 2.0 series, taking the title with 12 wins from 20 starts, a new record in the series.

This year he finished fourth in the British Formula 3 series with a win, two pole positions, nine podium finishes and five fastest laps. Alex Lynn will race in New Zealand with M2 Competition.

Also returning for a second run at the series is Thai racer Tanart Sathienthirakul. He raced as a rookie in the 2012 series after competing for several years in the European karting scene.

Sathienthirakul, 20, made a capable transition to full wings and slicks race cars and has continued through 2012 racing in Formula Renault 2.0 series. He will race with ETEC Motorsport.

Toyota Racing Series has always welcomed female racers and this year is no exception: racing alongside Sathienthirakul at ETEC will be Colombian Tatiana Calderon, 19. Calderon has a strong background in karting in her home country; was sixth in 2011 in the Star Mazda Championship in the USA and has been racing in the Formula 3 Open series in Europe, finishing ninth overall.

Gamer-turned-racer: the UK’s Jann Mardenborough is a new breed of race star, rising to prominence through the Sony Playstation 3 GT Academy competition. Victory in the 2011 global series – which attracted more than 160,000 entries – brought with it a track drive opportunity which Mardenborough has now extended into a burgeoning racing career. Having made his name in GT Touring cars, Mardenborough is looking forward to the 2013 TRS which will be his first opportunity to race in a ‘wings and slicks’ open wheel race car. Like Sathienthirakul and Calderon, he will race with ETEC Motorsport.

New to the series is Malaysian Akash Nandy. He turns 16 just before the series begins, making him the youngest driver in the 2013 field. He has split his racing this year between the JK Racing Asia series and Formula Pilota China, finishing 8th in the JK Racing series and 12th in Formula Pilota China. Nandy will also contest the 2013 Toyota Racing Series with ETEC Motorsport.

Norway’s Dennis Olsen, also 16, is another driver new to the series. He arrives in New Zealand with extensive karting experience and a lot of racing in Europe. Olsen is the first Norwegian driver to contest TRS and will race in the 2013 championship with M2 Competition.

The series organisers will make further driver announcements as they are confirmed.

© Scoop Media

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