2013 Toyota Racing Series

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2013 Toyota Racing Series
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The 2013 Toyota Racing Series was the ninth running of the Toyota Racing Series,[1] the premier motorsport category for open-wheel cars, held in New Zealand. The series, which consisted of five meetings of three races, began on 12 January at Teretonga Park in Invercargill, and ended on 10 February with the 58th running of the New Zealand Grand Prix, at Manfeild Autocourse in Feilding.

For the second consecutive season, New Zealand's Nick Cassidy won the championship title,[2] becoming the third driver to win multiple titles in the championship's history after Daniel Gaunt and Mitch Evans. Cassidy, driving for the M2 Competition team, claimed the title before the final race of the season at Manfeild, after a raft of post-race penalties were handed out after the second race. Among those was Cassidy's main championship rival, Giles Motorsport's Lucas Auer, who was given a 50-second penalty after he was adjudged to have forced Cassidy's team-mate Steijn Schothorst off the track, while passing him.[3]

Despite only winning two races during the season[4] – one at Hampton Downs as well as a second New Zealand Grand Prix victory – Cassidy was over 100 points clear in the final championship standings, having finished each of the fifteen races in the top eight. Second place in the standings was settled by six points; as three-time winner Alex Lynn (M2 Competition) moved ahead of Auer – a two-time winner – with a second place finish in the New Zealand Grand Prix, to Auer's sixth place and Lynn prevailed 803 to 797.[4] Schothorst finished fourth in the championship,[4] taking one victory with a win in the first race at Manfeild, while the top five in the championship was rounded out by Bruno Bonifacio of Giles Motorsport, who won at Taupo and was the benefactor of Auer's penalty in the second Manfeild race. Three other drivers also won races during the season; Félix Serrallés won races at each of the first two meetings at Teretonga and Timaru, Pipo Derani also won a race at Teretonga, while Evans won two races on a one-off return to the series, at Hampton Downs, as he prepared for his GP2 Series campaign.

Teams and drivers[edit]

From the 2012 season, six drivers returned for a full-time campaign during the 2013 season.

Defending champion Nick Cassidy moved teams for his bid for a second consecutive title; having won the championship in 2012 with Giles Motorsport, Cassidy moved to the M2 Competition squad for 2013,[5] as part of a six-car team. Alex Lynn – who was a race-winner in the series in 2011 – also returned to New Zealand with M2,[6] where they were joined by British Formula Three rookie class champion Spike Goddard,[7] British Formula Ford competitor Ryan Cullen,[8] Formula Renault Eurocup racer Steijn Schothorst,[9] and Norwegian karter Dennis Olsen,[5] who was competing in single-seaters for the first time. Cullen left the series after the second round of the season at Timaru,[10] while Pieter Schothorst, brother of Steijn, joined the team for the New Zealand Grand Prix.[11]

Despite losing Cassidy to M2 Competition, Giles Motorsport entered a five-car squad for the Series. Lucas Auer,[12] Bruno Bonifacio,[13] and Félix Serrallés all remained with the team after finishing sixth, eighth and tenth respectively, in the 2012 championship.[14] Serrallés' team-mate from British Formula Three, Pipo Derani, was also part of the team,[14] while the team was completed by Nicholas Latifi,[15] a race-winner in the final Italian Formula Three campaign. Two-time series champion Mitch Evans competed in a sixth car for the team at Hampton Downs,[16] as he elected to compete in a one-off meeting in order to maintain his preparations for a 2013 campaign in the GP2 Series; his car was then filled for the New Zealand Grand Prix by Ken Smith,[17] who maintained his record of competing in every New Zealand Grand Prix that the category had been eligible for, and his 48th New Zealand Grand Prix in total.[18]

ETEC Motorsport also entered a five-car team for the 2013 season, just as they had done in 2012. Tanart Sathienthirakul was the team's only non-rookie driver, as he moved from the M2 Competition team for his second series campaign.[5] He was joined in the team by European F3 Open driver Tatiana Calderón, the series' only female driver during the 2013 campaign.[5] Akash Nandy, who contested part-campaigns in both Formula Pilota China and the JK Racing Asia Series in 2012,[19] was also a member of the team – and the youngest driver of all, in the series – while the team was completed by Singaporean karter Andrew Tang,[20] and British driver Jann Mardenborough,[5] who was continuing his progression up the motorsport ladder since winning the 2011 Nissan GT Academy for budding racing drivers, implementing Sony's Gran Turismo racing series.[21]

Victory Motor Racing was the only other team to enter the 2013 Toyota Racing Series, entering two cars for the majority of the season. Damon Leitch,[22] who finished third in the championship in 2012, returned with the team, where he was joined by Michael Scott, who graduated from the national Formula First championship in New Zealand.[23] The team entered a third car for the final two meetings of the season, which was filled by Italian driver Ignazio D'Agosto,[24] who like the Schothorst brothers, had competed in the Formula Renault Eurocup and the Formula Renault NEC in 2012.

Team No. Driver Rounds
M2 Competition 1 New Zealand Nick Cassidy[5] All
10 Australia Spike Goddard[7] All
17 Republic of Ireland Ryan Cullen[8] 1–2
19 Netherlands Pieter Schothorst[17] 5
21 Netherlands Steijn Schothorst[9] All
36 United Kingdom Alex Lynn[5] All
44 Norway Dennis Olsen[5] All
Victory Motor Racing 3 New Zealand Damon Leitch[22] All
16 Italy Ignazio D'Agosto[24] 4–5
53 New Zealand Michael Scott[23] All
Giles Motorsport 4 Puerto Rico Félix Serrallés[25] All
5 Brazil Bruno Bonifacio[13] All
6 Brazil Pipo Derani[25] All
9 New Zealand Mitch Evans[16] 4
New Zealand Ken Smith[17] 5
11 Austria Lucas Auer[12] All
18 Canada Nicholas Latifi[15] All
ETEC Motorsport 7 Colombia Tatiana Calderón[5] All
22 Singapore Andrew Tang[20] All
23 United Kingdom Jann Mardenborough[5] All
29 Malaysia Akash Nandy[5] All
43 Thailand Tanart Sathienthirakul[5] All

Season review[edit]

At the opening round of the season at Teretonga, Lucas Auer took pole position for the opening race – as he had done in 2012[26] – after finishing fastest in the first qualifying session, which was held in dry conditions.[27] By the time the second session had started, rain had started to fall and caused the drivers to take to the track on wet-weather tyres. By the end, Félix Serrallés had set a lap time three tenths of a second quicker than anyone else to take pole for the feature race, the Spirit of a Nation.[27] In the opening race, Auer led from start-to-finish to take his maiden win in the series, ahead of defending champion Nick Cassidy and Alex Lynn, who had swapped places from their starting positions.[28] The top six positions were inverted for the reverse-grid race, where Pipo Derani repeated Auer's trait of the previous afternoon by leading from pole position to the chequered flag.[29] He was followed home by Serrallés and Bruno Bonifacio; the latter's third place was short-lived as he was given a five-second time penalty for jumping the start, which promoted Lynn onto the podium. The Spirit of a Nation race saw Serrallés and Lynn lead away at the start, before the two drivers collided at the start of lap four; Lynn had tried to go around the outside of Serrallés into the first corner before the collision, which forced both drivers onto the grass. Lynn impacted with a tyre barrier, which sent his car into a barrel-roll before righting itself, and Lynn extricated himself from the wreckage.[30] A red flag period followed, allowing Serrallés to return to the front of the field, where he remained for the rest of the race, to take the race victory and the championship lead.[31] Auer finished second, while Steijn Schothorst achieved his first podium finish, in third.

Timaru hosted the second round of the championship, where Auer again qualified on pole position for the weekend's opening race, setting a time around a quarter of a second quicker than any of his rivals.[32] Cassidy would join him on the front row, edging out Bonifacio by 0.001 seconds.[32] Auer also achieved pole position for the feature race, the Timaru Herald Trophy; here he was quicker than Lynn by just over a tenth of a second, while Bonifacio again marginally missed out on the front row, by 0.002 seconds on this occasion.[32] Auer once again recorded a lights-to-flag victory, in the first race, by a margin of over four seconds to Cassidy in fifteen laps,[33] while Bonifacio ensured the top three finished in starting order, half a second in arrears of Cassidy. The top six were inverted once again for the reverse-grid race, which meant that Serrallés started from pole position ahead of Damon Leitch. Serrallés managed to fend off the advances of Leitch during the fifteen-lap race, and won by just under half a second to retake the championship lead from Auer, after the latter's opening win.[34] Cassidy completed the podium, as he continued his consistent start to the season. Auer was overtaken at the start of the Timaru Herald Trophy by Lynn, and despite pressuring him for the entire race, he was not able to find a way back past him; Lynn won the race by just over a quarter of a second ahead of Auer, who regained the championship lead from Serrallés – who finished the race third – in the process.[35]

At Taupo, Lynn locked out pole position in both qualifying sessions; he set the fastest time by half a tenth ahead of Cassidy in the first session, whereas in the second session – to set the grid for the Denny Hulme Memorial Trophy – Lynn's pole-setting margin was a far more comfortable three tenths of a second, ahead of championship leader Auer.[36] Lynn took a comfortable victory in the opening race, winning by nearly five seconds ahead of Cassidy, while the podium was completed by Schothorst.[37] Auer extended his championship lead over Serrallés with a fifth place finish, as the latter suffered a flat tyre during the race.[38] The top four places were inverted for the reverse-grid race, with ultimately resorted into a battle between Bonifacio and Schothorst.[39] Pulling almost fifteen seconds clear of the rest of the field, the duo battled for most of the race, with Bonifacio prevailing by around a second. Auer finished third ahead of Cassidy, who moved into second place in the championship. The Denny Hulme Memorial Trophy shook up the championship proceedings as Auer and Schothorst collided, causing Auer to pit. At the front, Lynn led every lap en route to victory, ahead of Cassidy and Bonifacio.[40] Despite not winning a race at any of the meetings, Cassidy assumed the championship lead due to his consistency, ahead of Auer and Serrallés.[41]

The following event at Hampton Downs saw the return of two-time series champion Mitch Evans,[16] who after taking the 2012 GP3 Series title,[42] was taking part in a one-off event to maintain race sharpness ahead of his GP2 Series campaign later in the season,[43] with the Arden International team.[44] Evans rejoined Giles Motorsport, the team he won both of his championship title with, and took a double pole position for the opening and closing races of the weekend.[45] A somewhat surprising second in the first session with gamer-turned-racer Jann Mardenborough occupying the front row for race one, alongside Evans.[46] Evans' pole-winning margin for race three was just 0.001 seconds – the closest margin in series history[47] – ahead of Lynn. Championship leader Cassidy could only qualify sixth and seventh for the races. The first race had to be restarted after Bonifacio launched over the back of Mardenborough's car at the hairpin, eliminating himself from the race.[48] After repairs, Mardenborough was able to line up on the grid once again; he ultimately fell down the order to sixth place, as Evans led home Lynn, Derani, Cassidy and Auer.[49] The top four places were inverted for the race two grid, where Cassidy extended his points lead with his first victory of the season.[50] He pulled clear of the field by over four seconds to win from Derani and Auer. The feature race, the New Zealand Motor Cup, was just as comfortable for Evans as it was in the opening race, leading from start to finish.[51] Lynn finished second, while Cassidy further extended his championship advantage, ahead of Auer.

For the second season in a row, the championship concluded with the New Zealand Grand Prix meeting at Manfeild. No fewer than eight drivers had a mathematical chance of winning the championship title: Cassidy, Auer, Lynn, Schothorst, Serrallés, Derani, Leitch and Bonifacio. Lynn set the fastest time in the first two qualifying sessions, and thus guaranteeing himself pole position for the opening race of the weekend, the Dan Higgins Trophy.[52] Auer set the fastest time during the third "super-pole" session, but Lynn took pole for the Grand Prix, with the second fastest time in the session combined with his times in the first two sessions.[53] Schothorst would join Lynn on the front row for the Dan Higgins Trophy and Cassidy was alongside for the Grand Prix. In the Dan Higgins Trophy, Schothorst made the better start from second place on the grid, and moved ahead of Lynn on the opening lap. Schothorst held the lead until the end of the race, called three laps shy of its original distance after Mardenborough spun off the track, to take his first victory.[54] Cassidy was second to further extend his points lead over Lynn and Auer, who were third and fourth. The top eight drivers were inverted for the race two grid, leaving Serrallés on pole position. Schothorst and Auer battled for position, with Auer forcing his rival off the track. Auer ultimately passed Bonifacio and Serrallés on-the-road, to take the victory,[55] but was eventually given a 50-second penalty for dangerous driving.[56] Bonifacio inherited the victory, ahead of Cassidy and Ignazio D'Agosto, after Serrallés and Derani were also given penalties. Cassidy's second place, coupled with Lynn finishing thirteenth after an early off, secured a second consecutive title. Cassidy cemented his title triumph with a second New Zealand Grand Prix victory in succession,[4] leading every lap of the 35-lap race.[57] Lynn finished second, and coupled with Auer finishing only sixth, was able to take the runner-up position in the standings. Auer finished a disgruntled third in the championship, stating that he would not return to the series unless there was "large commercial incentive in it" as a competitor.[58] Schothorst completed the final podium of the season, as he sealed fourth in the championship standings.[4]

Race calendar and results[edit]

The calendar for the series was announced on 22 August 2012,[25] with the calendar remaining unchanged from the 2012 season. Again, series organisers announced that the series would run over five successive weekends in January and February, culminating in the New Zealand Grand Prix meeting.[59]

At each of the first four race weekends, two qualifying sessions were held in order to establish the grids for the first and third races of each meeting.[27] The first fifteen-minute session establishes the grid for the opening race, while the second session of fifteen minutes established the grid for the final race of the meeting, denoted as the feature race.[27] In between, the grid for the second race was established via a partially reversed grid and the conduction of a marble draw by the first race winner. Based upon the finishing positions of the first race, the grid could be inverted by either four, six or eight positions via the marble draw.[27]

This format varied at the New Zealand Grand Prix meeting, as three fifteen-minute sessions were held.[60] The starting order for the opening race of the meeting was established using the fastest time for each driver in either of the first two sessions.[60] The second race would use a partially reversed grid as normal, while the grid order for the final race – the New Zealand Grand Prix itself – was to be established using an average of each driver's fastest lap in each session.[60]

Round Date Circuit Pole position Fastest lap Winning driver Winning team Round winner(s)
1 R1 12 January Teretonga Park, Invercargill Austria Lucas Auer Austria Lucas Auer Austria Lucas Auer Giles Motorsport Puerto Rico Félix Serrallés
R2 13 January New Zealand Nick Cassidy Brazil Pipo Derani Giles Motorsport
R3 Puerto Rico Félix Serrallés Austria Lucas Auer Puerto Rico Félix Serrallés Giles Motorsport
2 R1 19 January Timaru International Motor Raceway, Timaru Austria Lucas Auer Austria Lucas Auer Austria Lucas Auer Giles Motorsport Austria Lucas Auer
R2 20 January New Zealand Nick Cassidy Puerto Rico Félix Serrallés Giles Motorsport
R3 Austria Lucas Auer New Zealand Nick Cassidy United Kingdom Alex Lynn M2 Competition
3 R1 26 January Taupo Motorsport Park, Taupo United Kingdom Alex Lynn United Kingdom Alex Lynn United Kingdom Alex Lynn M2 Competition United Kingdom Alex Lynn
Brazil Bruno Bonifacio
R2 27 January Netherlands Steijn Schothorst Brazil Bruno Bonifacio Giles Motorsport
R3 United Kingdom Alex Lynn United Kingdom Alex Lynn United Kingdom Alex Lynn M2 Competition
4 R1 2 February Hampton Downs Motorsport Park, Waikato New Zealand Mitch Evans New Zealand Nick Cassidy New Zealand Mitch Evans Giles Motorsport New Zealand Mitch Evans
R2 3 February New Zealand Nick Cassidy New Zealand Nick Cassidy M2 Competition
R3 New Zealand Mitch Evans New Zealand Mitch Evans New Zealand Mitch Evans Giles Motorsport
5 R1 9 February Manfeild Autocourse, Feilding United Kingdom Alex Lynn United Kingdom Alex Lynn Netherlands Steijn Schothorst M2 Competition New Zealand Nick Cassidy
R2 10 February Austria Lucas Auer Brazil Bruno Bonifacio Giles Motorsport
R3 United Kingdom Alex Lynn New Zealand Nick Cassidy New Zealand Nick Cassidy M2 Competition

Championship standings[edit]

In order for a driver to score championship points, they had to complete at least 90% of the race winner's distance. All races counted towards the final championship standings.

Scoring system
Position 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th 11th 12th 13th 14th 15th 16th 17th 18th 19th 20th
Points 75 67 60 54 49 45 42 39 36 33 30 28 26 24 22 20 18 16 14 12
Pos Driver TER TIM TAU HMP MAN Points
1 New Zealand Nick Cassidy 2 4 8 2 3 7 2 4 2 4 1 3 2 2 1 915
2 United Kingdom Alex Lynn 3 3 Ret 7 6 1 1 8 1 2 5 2 3 15 2 803
3 Austria Lucas Auer 1 5 2 1 5 2 5 3 16 5 3 4 4 14 6 797
4 Netherlands Steijn Schothorst 8 6 3 4 17 4 3 2 4 8 7 10 1 4 3 754
5 Brazil Bruno Bonifacio 5 7 4 3 4 Ret 4 1 3 Ret 9 Ret 7 1 5 650
6 Puerto Rico Félix Serrallés 4 2 1 6 1 3 16 9 6 9 12 Ret 8 11 9 646
7 Brazil Pipo Derani 6 1 5 8 7 8 Ret 15 14 3 2 9 6 12 4 625
8 New Zealand Damon Leitch 10 8 6 5 2 5 7 7 5 17 11 12 12 8 11 588
9 Canada Nicholas Latifi 7 10 10 9 8 6 13 16 7 11 8 7 11 17 12 503
10 United Kingdom Jann Mardenborough 11 9 7 10 9 9 6 12 12 6 6 Ret Ret 6 7 491
11 Thailand Tanart Sathienthirakul 9 12 12 11 10 13 14 13 11 13 10 5 10 9 14 462
12 Colombia Tatiana Calderón 12 11 11 12 16 11 8 5 13 12 13 14 15 13 13 432
13 Norway Dennis Olsen 15 15 16 14 11 12 9 10 8 7 Ret 8 13 5 Ret 410
14 Malaysia Akash Nandy 14 13 9 18 12 10 10 6 15 Ret 14 Ret 18 7 18 361
15 Singapore Andrew Tang 17 18 13 17 15 14 11 Ret 9 10 Ret 6 14 16 10 345
16 New Zealand Michael Scott 16 16 15 15 14 16 15 14 10 16 15 13 17 Ret 15 315
17 Australia Spike Goddard 13 14 Ret 13 Ret 15 12 11 Ret 15 16 11 16 Ret 19 262
18 New Zealand Mitch Evans 1 4 1 204
19 Italy Ignazio D'Agosto 14 Ret 15 9 3 8 181
20 Republic of Ireland Ryan Cullen 18 17 14 16 13 17 122
21 Netherlands Pieter Schothorst 5 Ret 17 67
22 New Zealand Ken Smith 19 10 16 67
Pos Driver TER TIM TAU HMP MAN Points
Colour Result
Gold Winner
Silver 2nd place
Bronze 3rd place
Green Points finish
Blue Non-points finish
Non-classified finish (NC)
Purple Did not finish (Ret)
Red Did not qualify (DNQ)
Did not pre-qualify (DNPQ)
Black Disqualified (DSQ)
White Did not start (DNS)
Withdrew (WD)
Race cancelled (C)
Blank Did not participate (DNP)
Excluded (EX)

Bold – Pole
Italics – Fastest Lap

References[edit]

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External links[edit]