Motorsport News - Misc
Shahaan Engineer to be youngest driver in NZ GP
31st December 2011Talented motor racing newcomer Shahaan Engineer will continue his single-seater education just two weeks from now after officially confirming his participation in the 2012 Toyota Racing Series – the final round of which will be the 57th running of the prestigious New Zealand Grand Prix.
Dubai-based Shahaan, who is just 16-years-of-age, will be the youngest and least experienced driver in the Kiwi championship when it commences in mid-January. Notably, he will also be the youngest competitor in the New Zealand GP on 11th/12th February which, back in the 1960s, was won by such racing legends as Sir Stirling Moss, Jack Brabham and Jackie Stewart.
After enjoying an impressive car racing debut during the recent Protyre Formula Renault UK Finals Series, where he out-performed a large number of experienced competitors and qualified eighth fastest out of 29 drivers on his first weekend, Shahaan is now looking to benefit from vital track time in New Zealand as he seeks to hone his skills ahead of the 2012 Formula Renault UK Championship.
Toyota Racing Series will field the largest overseas entry in the category’s history when it begins on 14th/15th January – what’s more, the level of competition will be fierce with drivers from top-line championships such as GP2 and Formula Renault 3.5 taking part. Once again, the 15-race campaign will further enhance the category’s status as a key proving ground for aspiring Formula One drivers.
Competitors in the 2012 series will enjoy a large amount of seat time, covering more than 2,500 kilometres during testing and racing over the five consecutive race weekends which will take place across the length and breadth of New Zealand.
“I am really excited to race in the Toyota Racing Series, mainly because of the high level of drivers I will have the opportunity to compete against and learn from”, said Shahaan, “There is no other series in the world where a rookie can race against drivers with experience of GP2, Formula Renault 3.5 and other senior championships.”
The Toyota Racing Series, which boasts full FIA (Federation Internationale de L’Automobile) status, will take place over five back-to-back weekends between mid-January and mid-February with the opening three races to be contested on 14th/15th January at Teretonga Park, Invercargill.
From there, the increasingly popular championship will travel to Timaru International Raceway, Taupo Motorsport Park and then Hampton Downs in Auckland. The grand finale of the season, the 57th New Zealand Grand Prix, will be held on 11th/12th February at Manfeild in Feilding.
“With our first race starting at Teretonga on January 14th and the series finishing just four weeks later at the New Zealand Grand Prix at Manfeild on February 12th, the Toyota Racing Series now offers the most concentrated and intense international series in the world”, added TRS category manager Barrie Thomlinson.
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