The 17-year-old competed in the National Trans Am Series with The Racing Academy this year and finished 14th overall. He missed the opening round due to not being old enough. His best results included qualifying second at Queensland Raceway, and a second place overall finish at the Bathurst International final round.
Cleary will join mtec Motorsport for the second season of the Toyota Formula Regional Championship which begins at Taupo on January 19-21.
The series will be over five back-to-back rounds and will concludes with the 68th NZ Grand Prix on February 16-18 February at Highlands Motorsport Park. The other rounds are at Manfeild-Circuit Chris Amon, Hampton Downs and Euromarque Motorsport Park.
“I'm really looking forward to this series,” he said. “Some incredible drivers have participated in this category in the past and it will definitely push me to grow as a driver.”
The junior single seater championship has a long history where it was previously known as the Castrol Toyota Racing Series. Current graduates include F1 drivers Liam Lawson, Yuki Tsunoda, Lance Stroll, Guanyu Zhou and 2016 champion Lando Norris.
“It's really exciting to have a young driver of Elliott's calibre in the team, he's extremely driven and talented. Not only is he fast but a fantastic kid with a big future. We will be pushing as hard as we can to get him on podium,” said mtec Motorsport boss Bruin Beasley.
Cleary started his career in 2020. In a Covid-interrupted stint in karts, he had multiple podiums in both national and state level events where he competed in KA4 Junior through to KZ2. Of note was an eighth overall in the Australian Kart Championship in KA2 in 2021.
Cleary took in the 2022 West Australian Formula Ford Championship which he won. Of the 18 races he competed in, he won 14. He also took part in the Racer Industries Formula Ford Challenge at the 2023 Bathurst 12 Hour and won that before three rounds of the Australian Formula Ford Championship with Synergy Motorsport.