Finalists announced for TQF HDNZRA Toyota Racing Series Shoot-out
Three of New Zealand's most promising motorsport stars have been chosen for this year's Tony Quinn Foundation TRS shoot-out at Hampton Downs next week.
The trio will race off for a $70,000 winner-takes-all prize, with the money going towards participation in the 2023 Toyota Racing Series, New Zealand's premiere single-seater racing series that includes the NZ Grand Prix.
Two of the three finalists are currently racing in single-seater racing categories, with the most experienced finalist, Callum Hedge, a race winner in Porsche Carrera Cup in Australia, most recently the round winner on the streets of the Gold Coast.
Hedge will celebrate his 19th birthday a few days after the TQF Shoot-out on 15th November. Prior to his Porsche GT3 racing in Australia for the past two years, Hedge is a former Toyota 86 and NZ Formula Ford champion among his other racing successes.
Another finalist is also a NZ Formula Ford champion. Billy Frazer, 19, graduated to the United States last year to race in USF2000 and has just finished fifth his second season in the IndyCar feeder category, scoring seven podium finishes this year. Frazer also raced in TRS last year, and finished third in the championship with one win.
The youngest and least experienced driver is Liam Sceats, 17, the current leader of the North Island Formula Ford Series. He finished third overall in last year's New Zealand Formula Ford championship in which he won Class 2 for older specification cars.
All three have graduated through the Hampton Downs NZ Racing Driver Academy, a prerequisite to selection for the TQF TRS Shoot-out and will drive the latest specification Toyota Racing Series car, the FT-60 run by Toyota Gazoo Racing New Zealand.
Each finalist will be given a familiarisation run, a qualifying simulation on new tyres and then a mock 'race run'. Their on-track performance will then be assessed alongside interview material, including judgement of their technical feed-back from the racing car and understanding of the commercial side of motorsport.
"They will all be driving the same car and get equal opportunity to put their best foot forward on the day," said Daniel Gaunt, HDNZRA chief instructor. "This year is the first time we've been able to host the competition for both the Toyota 86 and TRS shoot-outs on the track at Hampton Downs and I'm sure it will be an intense contest for such a valuable prize."
The $70,000 prize purse is the largest single grant offered in New Zealand motorsport and all finalists must be under the age of 21, in keeping with the concept of the TQF to support young drivers by offering financial support, mentoring and door opening on the world stage.
The TQF also offers selected drivers individual support for premiere racing programmes in New Zealand and off-shore, as well as financial prizes for both Toyota 86 and TRS shoot-out competitions.
Caption: Liam Sceats
Photo Credit: Geoff Ridder