The Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires and Toyota GAZOO Racing New Zealand today announced a partnership that will see up-and-coming drivers afforded new opportunities in both series to further their racing careers. Several drivers in the Road to Indy have already taken advantage of the opportunity to sharpen their skills in the off-season by participating in the January/February Castrol Toyota Racing Series.
The new partnership will offer the top-three finishers in the Road to Indy ladder series — the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship, the Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires — a waived entry fee (NZ $5,000, approximately $3,300 USD) for the 2020 Castrol Toyota Racing Series season to hone their skills with significant track time at five circuits on New Zealand’s North and South Islands aboard the newly unveiled state-of-the-art Tatuus FT-60 (pictured above).
For drivers who have competed in all five rounds of the 2019 Castrol Toyota Racing Series, an opportunity to test the waters in either USF2000, Indy Pro 2000 or Indy Lights is on offer with entry fees waived for the traditional two-day Chris Griffis Memorial test this fall or the two-day Spring Training outing the beginning of next year. All drivers will also receive one set of Cooper tires for the test event they select.
In addition, joint marketing programs will be implemented to showcase the Road to Indy as an excellent career option for aspiring young drivers who want to follow the path of New Zealand racing legend Scott Dixon, five-time NTT IndyCar Series champion, Indianapolis 500 winner and former Indy Lights champion, and to highlight the benefits of off-season training in the Castrol Toyota Racing Series in preparation for full-season campaigns.
“We are very pleased to announce our new partnership with Toyota GAZOO Racing,” said Dan Andersen, owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions. “This is a great opportunity for our drivers to compete against some of the best young competitors in the world. With their schedule of five triple-headers in a row, our drivers will have plenty of track time in equipment that is relevant, further strengthening their skills and helping to prepare them for the next step on our ladder.
“We are also excited to offer the opportunity for their drivers to come and see what the Road to Indy is all about. Both the Chris Griffis test and Spring Training provide an excellent opportunity for plenty of seat time, and drivers can decide what level on the ladder is appropriate for them. With USF2000 and Indy Pro 2000 using the Tatuus chassis and Sadev six-speed sequential gearbox — which are also used by the Toyota series — drivers will be quick to adapt to our equipment packages.”
The Castrol Toyota Racing Series 2020 schedule will kick off on January 17 at Highlands Motorsport Park followed by Teretonga Park (January 24-26), Hampton Downs Motorsports Park (January 31-February 2), Pukekohe or Taupo — TBC (February 7-9) and Manfeild — Circuit Chris Amon (February 14-16).
“Scott Dixon is a shining light for many young drivers in New Zealand and indeed many who come and compete in the Castrol Toyota Racing Series,” said Nicolas Caillol, Castrol Toyota Racing Series Category Manager. “Any initiative that eases the path into the U.S. racing scene or creates potential opportunities will be a welcome one. Other IndyCar drivers like Indy 500 Rookie of the Year Santino Ferrucci and Jordan King have also benefited from their time competing in New Zealand in January and February and we’d love to see more coming to develop their skills in our series as part of their development path. It’s now a little bit easier for drivers on that development path.”