9 January 2017 – Motorsport action returns this weekend when the pre-season, New Zealand-based Toyota Racing Series gets under way. GPUpdate.net guides you through the compact five-round calendar ahead of the first round.
In 2017, the TRS begins at the Mike Pero Motorsport Park, near Christchurch. The track, known as Ruapuna Park from 2004-2013, runs for 3.33km in an anti-clockwise direction, and features a selection of fast, sweeping corners. Lando Norris, last year's series champion, currently holds the lap record with a time of 1:17.062.
From Christchurch, the field moves on to Teretonga Park, in Invercargill. Again anti-clockwise, the layout comes in at 2.57km. It starts with a high-speed loop, with several apexes, before a flowing section from Turn 2 to Turn 5. Meanwhile, a strong sea breeze poses a challenge. Norris also holds the lap record here (53.109).
Hampton Downs Motorsport Park, located in northern Waikato, hosts the third round. According to the series, it took New Zealand "into the 21st century", having been designed to meet the latest FIA safety standards. TRS races on a 2.63km (clockwise) circuit, with elevated, banked corners. Arjun Maini's 1.00.154 is the lap record.
In early February, the TRS visits Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park in Taupo, named after the founder of the F1 team. The main 3.32km (anti-clockwise) track includes an 830-metre downhill straight, one of the fastest on the roster, while in contrast, the Turn 9/10 complex is tight and slow. Jehan Daruvala holds the lap record (1:23.357).
Manfeild, now known as the Circuit Chris Amon, will again host the season finale in 2017. It has two layouts, with TRS using the shorter 3.03km version, in a clockwise direction. With three long straights, corner exit speed is key to a quick lap time. Brandon Maïsano set the lap record in 2015, clocking a best time of 1:02.653.