Sportscar racer Arjun Maini drove the new Toyota FT-60 car for the first time in Italy ahead of its debut in 2020 Toyota Racing Series (TRS) New Zealand.

One of the premier winter single-seater competitions, the Toyota Racing Series New Zealand, will see a brand new car from the 2020 season onward, which is an upgrade from the FT-50 to a T-60, being overseen by both Toyota and Tatuus.

The new car had its on-track debut in Italy, with a former TRS driver, Maini, in the cockpit. The Indian currently races in the and currently racing in the LMP2 class of European Le Mans Series with RLR MSport as he completed over 900 km in the three days of testing.

The tests took place on three different track in Italy, which were Vairano, Cremona and Franciacorta. The car has new two-litre 285 horsepower (212 kW) engine based on the 8AR FTS engine used in both Toyota and Lexus models, with Hankook tyres fitted.

“It was a very positive first test,” said Maini. “It went very smoothly with the engine. Everything went to plan so that was very good. The engine is powerful and the driveability is very good. The gear change is good and the downshift particularly feels really nice in combination with the new engine.

“We were running in the very hot conditions being experienced all over Europe currently but temperatures were very stable. From a driver’s point of view it was nice to drive and rewards a style young drivers will need to develop as they move up the single seater ladder. The engine and the Tatuus chassis make for a good combination.

“It feels like a much more modern car and is a bigger, turbocharged car in keeping with the direction formula racing is now heading, right up to and including F1. It’s definitely the right choice for the next era of TRS in my opinion. This is a good way to prepare your driving style for the bigger formula cars.

“For a young driver it’s very important to be in the car as much as possible developing all of the skills they need and this next generation of TRS will only add to the quality of the experience drivers will have in the New Zealand series. Overall after three days of driving I think a really significant and relevant step forward.”

The testing in New Zealand will begin at the end of August with the 2020 series to kick-start at Highlands Motorsport Park on January 17-19. Teretonga Park will be next, followed by Hampton Downs Motorsport Park, with Round 4 venue to be confirmed and the finale at Manfeild (February 14-16).

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