Toyota Gazoo Racing NZ partners with WSeries – providing 18 cars for Rounds at Barcelona and Suzuka

Toyota Gazoo Racing NZ partners with WSeries – providing 18 cars for Rounds at Barcelona and Suzuka

Toyota Gazoo Racing NZ celebrates partnership with WSeries providing 18 cars for the all female F3 Championship at Formula One Grand Prix of Spain on May 20-22 and Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix on October 7-9. This initiative not only breaks precedent on merger of resources between two Formula racing Championships, but also opens window of opportunity for TGRNZ to promote sustainability of single-seater racing by providing logistical support for getting cars from one GP to the next.

Lance Stroll winning 2015 Toyota Racing Series Image: Toyota NZ

Without a doubt, WSeries has achieved astounding success from initial debut year in 2019 with 6 Races, to 2022 season of 10 Races held within 8 Formula One Grand Prix’s. Equal to achieving success on track has been the establishment of strategic partners with the Series 18 female drivers paired under 9 Teams, racing the Championship’s Tatuus T318 cars.

To gain work around solution of meeting logistical costs of transporting cars, while at the same time reducing carbon footprint of travel, TGRNZ confirmed their ability to provide and ship Toyota Racing Series FT60 cars, to GP’s specified. With identical Tatuus chassis and Toyota engines, this ground breaking move extends the founding principles of Toyota Racing Series which was to support the growth of Formula racing drivers, both in NZ and overseas.

From 2005 through to present day, Toyota Racing Series has provided Formula racing drivers the opportunity to race the premier open wheeler Championship pre-Northern Hemisphere F1 calendar. With the additional benefit of racing TRS to increase tally of F1 Super License points, total of 17 Champions have elevated their careers with notable names of Lance Stroll– winning TRS in 2015, Lando Norris winning TRS in 2016 and Liam Lawson taking TRS Championship in 2019- all of whom are racing 2022 Formula One/Two respectively at present.

Lando Norris winning 2016 Toyota Racing Series Image: Toyota NZ

With WSeries Opening Round at Formula One Miami Grand Prix this weekend, TRS Category and Operations Manager Nicolas Caillol shared his thoughts on how the partnership between Toyota Gazoo Racing NZ and WSeries came together, along with excitement building for the 3rd season of WSeries while he attends the first ever F1 GP in Florida. Caillol, himself a highly experienced race engineer, founding his career in Europe’s single-seater industry, represents the epitome of pushing the bench-mark of change for the future of Formula racing.

Nicolas: ‘It is indeed a world first that two championships work together to build a World Championship in the most sustainable way. Conversations between TGRNZ and W Series started in March 2020 during the Melbourne GP. I met with Sean Wadsworth (Chairman W Series) at Melbourne and it’s when we started to talk to find a way to utilize our cars to expand their Championship which was in their first season based in Europe.

With expansion of their Championship over 3 continents in 2022 and being able to follow Formula One, it was obvious that there were going to be some challenges on logistics, especially between Miami and Barcelona. Two weeks turn around doesn’t give any other option than airfreight. And airfreight can be quite costly and not the most sustainable.

Liam Lawson winning 2019 Toyota Racing Series Image: Toyota NZ

With the FT60 only being used in New Zealand for the Castrol Toyota Racing Series in January and February (5 weeks in a row), there is time between two seasons where the cars are not used and not going under the thorough rebuild process. Therefore TOYOTA GAZOO Racing New Zealand decided to help the W Series to be able to race over 8 race weekends across the globe with Formula One without having any impact on the preparation of our cars for the 2023 Season’.

With the compatible chassis and recently gained engine homologation by FIA, TGRNZ has increased leverage of the company’s ability to provide sustainable pathways of operations for WSeries race calendar along with advancing TRS Championship as viable Series for development of Formula racing drivers pre-European F1 season.

Nicolas: ‘Both Championships are using the same chassis, the F3 T-318 built by Tatuus which run under the specification of the Formula Regional Car set by the FIA. The only difference between the W Series cars and the TGRNZ Cars is the engine. Obviously, TGRNZ cars are running with a Toyota engine, which has been entirely developed and built in New Zealand.

When TGRNZ decided to build the engine for the FT60 cars, we didn’t have the intention to run as a Formula Regional Championship, however, we have built the engine to the FIA specification and requirement for that kind of Championship. Therefore, when we came to an agreement with the W Series, the only step we had to do is to get our engine homologated by the FIA- which we received at the end of last month. So both engines are running under the same specification.

WSeries 18 driver line-up Opening Round Formula One Miami Grand Prix Image: WSeries

There are some minor differences which will give some particularity to each engine (the Autotecnica engine used by W Series is a 1.7 L engine while the Toyota engine is a 2.0 L engine): most likely the drivers will find the Toyota engine having more torque at lower RPM than the Autotecnica engine. But overall, differences between the two will be pretty minimal’.

The significance of the partnership between TGRNZ and WSeries remains important not only for the performance produced by the all female 18 driver line-up on track, but also the visibility of TGRNZ’s capabilities of building in-house cars to all watching, including Toyota Japan at F1 Suzuka GP in October.

Nicolas: ‘It is a great opportunity for TGRNZ to have our cars racing at a Formula One weekend and on some tracks outside of New Zealand. The Castrol Toyota Racing Series run by TGRNZ in New Zealand over 5 weeks in January and February is a perfect winter training camps for the drivers, so it will be interesting to see if some drivers from the W Series, after having trialed our cars in Barcelona and Suzuka, will use the TRS Championship to prepare themselves for the 2023 W Series season.

Having to show case our cars at Suzuka, in Japan, is also very important for TGRNZ. It is a unique opportunity for us to show Toyota Japan what New Zealand has achieved and proudly built in-house a Toyota engine. It will definitively help to showcase New Zealand engineering abilities to Japan’.

WSeries: Round One Formula One Miami Grand Prix, May 6-8, Round Two Formula One Grand Prix of Spain, May 2022.

Words: Sharon Cox.

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