Top rookie back for New Zealand motor series
British driver Jann Mardenborough, this year's top rookie, is returning to contest New Zealand's premier single-seater championship next month.
Mardenborough took a different route to get into the sport - he won an online motor racing competition in 2011.
The winning prize was a coaching programme and a competitive drive as part of Nissan's GT Academy and that has propelled him all the way to a drive in this year's Le Mans 24-hour endurance race.
Cardiff-based Mardenborough raced in the 2013 Toyota Racing Series, winning the rookie title and finishing 10th overall in his first championship outing in a 'wings and slicks' single seater race car.
He finished third in the LMP2 class at Le Mans and ended the year 12th in LMP2 in the World Endurance Championship.
Mardenborough has also been racing in the European Formula Three series along with many other TRS graduates and finished sixth in the British F3 championship's international series.
He heads back to New Zealand to race with multiple TRS champion team Giles Motorsport.
Joining Mardenborough on the grid in the Giles team cars are Ryan Tveter (US), Alif Hamdan (Malaysia), Matt Rao (UK), Matteo Ferrer (Italy) and Martin Rump (Estonia).
Giles Motorsport has been TRS champion team four times, twice with Mitch Evans (2012 GP3 champion, now racing GP2); once with Nick Cassidy and once with Mitch Cunningham.
Thirteen countries will be represented in the 2014 championship which is contested at five circuits over five consecutive weekends, starting at Teretonga, the southernmost race track in the world, in Invercargill on January 10.
Five New Zealand-based teams will between them field 22 drivers in a series that finishes with the New Zealand Grand Prix at Manfield.
Toyota Racing Series 2014
Round 1 Jan 9-12 Teretonga Park, Invercargill
Round 2 Jan 16-19 Timaru International Raceway, Timaru
Round 3: Jan 23-26 Highlands Motorsport Park, Cromwell
Round 4 Jan 30-Feb 2 Hampton Downs, South Auckland
Round 5 Feb 6-9 Manfeild, Feilding (NZ Grand Prix)