Toyota offers $500,000 funding to promote new talent

Eligible New Zealanders may apply to the Kiwi Driver Fund Application

Liam Lawson, 2019-2020 Champion (Kiwi Driver Fund Photo)

Auckland, September 27, 2020

The Kiwi Driver Fund (KDF) has welcomed the news that Toyota will contribute up to $500,000 to assist emerging Kiwi racing talent.

KDF will manage the biggest ever investment into its on-going programme to find New Zealand’s next motor racing world champion.

Congenial environment

It comes at arguably the most challenging time ever for junior motorsport globally perpetrated by Covid-19 pandemic and its effect on the world-wide racing calendar.

There is no question that New Zealand has the environment to produce genuine world class driving talent and Toyota’s investment in KDF could make all the difference for the next generation.

Kiwi racer Brendon Hartley, who won the first ever Toyota Racing Series (TRS) race, last weekend won his second Le Mans title, again with Toyota. 

Double New Zealand Grand Prix and former TRS Champion Nick Cassidy has had major international success with Toyota and Lexus plus many other TRS drivers have gone on to successful careers in major international series including V8 Supercars, Formula 3, Formula 2, Formula E and WEC sports cars. 

The stalwarts

Marcus Armstrong, recipient of 2018-2019 Championship, is now full time with motorsport icon Ferrari and Liam Lawson, recipient of the 2019-2020 Award with a TRS title, was signed by Red Bull and has excelled this year in the Formula 3 championship.

KDF Trustee Steve Boyce said that both these alumni may make the step up to Formula One, the pinnacle of the sport.

“We recognise that New Zealand drivers often find it difficult to achieve and maintain the level of funding required to compete at the highest level and that’s even more pronounced as a challenge in the current global climate. The Kiwi Driver Fund aims to assist these drivers,” he said.

He said that along with partners Hampton Downs, Highlands Motorsport Park, Post Haste, Truck Sales New Zealand Ltd and Toyota NZ, the Fund shares the mission to identify New Zealand’s potential world champions in motorsport and give them a boost along the way.

The Application process

Applicants for the Kiwi Driver Fund should submit a full resume and plan for their future careers.

They must demonstrate a high level of communication skills and are required to have most of their funding and team in place, with KDF supplementing this.

The Kiwi Driver Fund trustees review applications and then decide who will receive a grant.

The additional funding is reserved for drivers with no previous full-season TRS championship experience. The recipients will test Toyota’s FT50 chassis and will then be required to submit an application. 
The Kiwi Driver Fund application can be found here:

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