The field for this year’s Castrol Toyota Racing Series looks stronger than ever, boasting record-breakers and championship winners across eleven nations.
One driver who has already made a name for himself is sixteen-year-old British driver Enaam Ahmed, who has eclipsed Lewis Hamilton’s junior category record by winning the European and World karting titles at a younger age than Hamilton.
Ahmed will be hoping to shine in this series as a precursor to what will surely be a bright 2017 for the youngster, his racing record thus far is quite impeccable. In 2015, he competed in the British MSA Formula Championship, picking up a rookie of the year honours. He then went on to impress in his debut campaign in British Formula 3, picking up a win and finishing consistently to pick up fifth overall in the standing. Remember the name and look out for his performance in the Toyota series that starts at Christchurch, New Zealand on January 13th.
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Other significant talents on show include last year’s runner-up and Force India’s academy driver Jehan Daruvala, Ferrari academy driver Marcus Armstrong and Richard Verschoor of the Red Bull junior setup.
One young driver who was tipped to do very well was Lando Norris, who won the series last year. The British youngster has had a remarkable season, picking up both the Formula Renault Eurocup and Formula Renault Northern European Cup titles. He has pulled out to fully focus on training for his F3 campaign next season in which he will partner Daruvala at Carlin.
To the mainstream F1 fan, the 15-race racing series in New Zealand may seem an obscure place to look for future F1 stars, but with the recent successes of Max Verstappen in F1 and the arrival of Lance Stroll, there is a sense that the conventional climb up the steps of the single-seater ladder is collapsing. It means that racing series such as this one, filled with racing talent like Enaam Ahmed, Jehan Daruvala, Armstrong, Verschoor and Norris become much more relevant. If one of these drivers can dominate this series, they could find themselves in F1 much sooner than previously anticipated.