JANUARY is traditionally the month when many exciting young motorsport stars come to Invercargill to race at Teretonga Park… and 2019 will be no different.
The Speedworks Events Motorsport NZ Championship at the park is just over one week away. Drivers from around the globe will descend on Southland to compete in some of the country’s most exciting motor racing categories over the weekend of January 18 to 20.
During the Castrol Toyota Racing Series, drivers will attempt to emulate the deeds of recent Teretonga competitors Lando Norris, Lance Stroll and Daniil Kvyat, and make it all the way to Formula 1.
One of the most highly rated internationals this year will be Lucas Auer, of Austria, a nephew of former Formula 1 star Gerhard Berger.
Auer competed in the series in 2012 and 2013 and was a race winner at Teretonga Park.
Auer, who has been a factory Mercedes driver in the DTM Series in Europe for the past few seasons, has raced in many other top series in Europe including Formula 3, and in 2017 tested a Formula Force India car.
This year he will also race in the Super Formula Series in Japan.
While there are several other international drivers in the field from countries as diverse as Japan, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Russia, England, the United States and Australia, it could be the three Kiwi drivers who provide the biggest challenge to Auer this year.
The right Formula
Southlander Brendon Leitch enters the series for the sixth year and is a proven race winner in the class. His best result in the series to date was third in 2016.
Fresh from campaigning a Mercedes SLS in New Zealand Endurance racing over the past few months he will be a threat as always.
Another Kiwi, Liam Lawson, of Pukekohe, has raced successfully in Australia, Germany, Malaysia and the United States recently.
A former New Zealand Formula 1600 Champion, who has won 14 of 15 races on his way to the title, he was the runner-up in the Australian Formula 4 series last year and runner-up in this year’s German Formula 4 Series.
He also won all three races in his debut weekend in the Asian Formula 3 Series recently.
Marcus Armstrong, of Christchurch, is back for his third crack at the series and fresh from a season in the FIA European Formula 3 Championship.
Having taken the rookie title at the Macau Grand Prix, Armstrong will be looking for a series title this time.
– Lindsay Beer is the Southland Sports Car Club publicity officer