TOYOTA GAZOO Racing New Zealand, MotorSport New Zealand and promoters SpeedWorks Events today confirmed the cancellation of the 2022 New Zealand Grand Prix scheduled for Hampton Downs.

TGRNZ (TOYOTA GAZOO Racing New Zealand) It was scheduled to run its fleet of Toyota FT-60s for a one-off weekend, including next month’s 67th Grand Prix, but recent changes to external border closures and the requirements of the COVID-19 pandemic have left organizers with few options.

As a reminder, the Toyota Racing Series is a single-brand New Zealand Cup, which takes place every winter.

The first edition was organized in 2005 and the current Toyota WEC World Driver, Kiwi Brendon Hartley was the first winner.

Immediately, this new series was very competitive and suddenly, from the second season, many young European drivers took part in this event, in order to drive through the recession.

However, it was necessary to wait several releases before 2012, the TRS really began to attract European pilots.

Among them, mention future Formula 1 drivers, such as Canadian Lance Stroll, Russian Daniil Kvyat or Briton Lando Norris.

In 2019, Red Bull Junior’s local driver Liam Lawson beat Marcus Armstrong, both drivers from the Ferrari Drivers’ Academy!

But back to the 2022 edition. Nicholas Cayol, Director of TOYOTA GAZOO Racing New Zealand Motorsport explains:

“We have waited until the last possible moment to give potential riders a chance to fly to New Zealand for the GP event.”

Before development:

“However, with border restrictions currently in place and all these pilots simply not being able to find places to fly and join our country, we don’t think we can stage the Grand Prix we would like or would like to see or that the event deserves itself, so we reluctantly decided Cancel this year’s race. »

Intelligence taken… At least eight pilots lined up to race, were unable to secure a flight to New Zealand.

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Nicholas Cayol defines:

“These eight would have made a huge difference to the quality and size of our grid for the race and if they could have come here we would have done a much better show.”

In the current economic climate, it is still very difficult for young riders to increase sponsorship and find sponsors and financial support here in New Zealand. This is despite the welcoming support of the Tony Quinn Foundation, Castrol, and many other companies and organizations that are investing in our pioneering Kiwi talent.

Nicholas Cayol concludes:

“We are very grateful that so many wonderful Kiwi riders wanted to come back to help support this wonderful event and our young riders. I would like to thank everyone involved, this decision was unfortunately made despite your best efforts.”

Final info, remember that the Grand Prix has been canceled many times before, in 1951, 1952, 1953 and again in 1996, 1997 and 2001, but this is the first time a global pandemic has been at the heart of a decision.

The Omicron variant has added more uncertainty to the global picture of this COVID-19, as many major events around the world have announced cancellations amid increasing cases of the variant. Several events in New Zealand and around the world have already been canceled over the holiday period.

CEO Elton Junan said it was a difficult decision for everyone involved:

“The New Zealand Grand Prix is ​​one of the most important events in the New Zealand motorsport calendar, and the decision not to race in 2022 was not taken lightly. We will continue to work with the FIA ​​and TGRNZ to plan for the 2023 season and allow local drivers to showcase their talents in front of some of the best youngsters. potential in the world.”

However, if Asia, New Zealand and Australia, among other countries, are fierce about the organization of sporting or cultural events on their territory, in particular the closing of borders, around the world, other events are proceeding normally …

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This is the case, for example only the closest, from the motorsports side, to the current Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia, to Monte Carlo in eight days, the opening round of the World Rally Championship, or even in two weeks in endurance at 24 Hours Daytona in Florida , United States of America

John Roberg

Photo: Bruce Jenkins

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