Seasoned Kiwi driver Brendon Leitch is excited about the opportunity to compete in the 2023 New Zealand Grand Prix round of the Castrol Toyota Formula Regional Oceania Championship (CTFROC) at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park this weekend (3-5 February 2023).
“It’s going to be pretty cool,” commented Leitch. “The aim is absolutely to win and I’m confident that the opportunity is there in such a competitive field.”
Leitch is no stranger to both the NZ Grand Prix and the CTFROC having first competed back in 2014 and then right through to 2019. He is a multiple race winner, finished third in 2016 and can boast being the only driver to have raced all three Toyota Racing Series cars (FT40, FT50 and FT60). He also competed in the 2021 NZ Grand Prix in the current FT60 single seater finishing 12th overall.
“I’ll be racing with Kiwi Motorsport and will have my engineer Dave Versalko, who worked with me back in 2016 and 2017, working on the car so really looking forward to it.
“The FT60 is a pretty cool car with similar aero to my GT3 in terms of feeling. I’ve driven the same chassis in Asia F3 and also helped with some of the engine development leading up to the release of the FT60 back in 2019.”
Leitch, who has been competing in Europe since 2021 in both the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe Championship and the Fanatec GT World Challenge powered by AWS series, says that Hampton Downs presents more opportunities than many other NZ circuits.
“While qualifying is very important, Hampton Downs does offer some really good opportunities for passing, if you have a fast car. The international circuit has a very long straight which enables you to slipstream and make a move stick at the end of it. It’s the perfect track for the Grand Prix.
“There are opportunities also at the sweeper and hairpins while the bumps add another level of difficulty to the track.
“It’s been great to have the opportunity to race in the NZGP before I start heading back to Europe,” said Leitch. “A big thanks especially to Dayle ITM who also support my European campaign.
The weekend gets underway with Friday practice, qualifying on Saturday morning with the first of three races in the afternoon. Another race takes place Sunday morning before the NZ Grand Prix Sunday afternoon.