Brazilian GT Sport world champion Igor Fraga has got off to a great start in the real world Toyota Racing Series after the first two rounds in New Zealand.
The five round championship has always been a popular proving ground for new drivers during a quiet period in race schedules in the rest of the world. So you get a mix of top drivers from New Zealand and nearby countries racing against top talent from the northern hemisphere.
And Igor Fraga has got off to a great start, currently just 18 points behind M2 Competition team-mate Liam Lawson following the first two rounds.
For his debut, Fraga qualified fourth and finished second after a time penalty for the original race winner. Ironically the lap record at the Highlands Motorsport Park was set in 2013 by the familiar name of GT Academy graduate Jann Mardenbrough.
In Race 2, the reverse grid saw Fraga finish sixth, with a fourth place finish in Race 3. But the GT Sport champion also achieved the first ever sub 1:28 lap at the circuit in qualiying to round out a strong first weekend in the series.
The second round at Teretonga saw Fraga take pole position in an unusual three-minute session following a crash for Chelsea Herbert. Fraga went on to take the podium in third, and managed a solid sixth in Race 2. And the Brazilian took his best result so far with a second place in the final Feature race of the weekend.
With Fraga currently on 135 points following four podium finishes, just behind team-mate Liam Lawson (153), and 17 points agead of third Gregoire Saucy, it’s yet more evidence that virtual motorsport talent can certainly also mean great ability on real Tarmac.
Previous series winners include Mitch Evans, Lance Stroll and Lando Norris, with Norris and Stroll both driving for the same M2 Competition team as Fraga and reigning champion Lawson.
Highlights of each race are being published on the Toyota GAZOO Racing NZ Youtube channel if you can’t get access to watch the action live.
2020 Castrol Toyota Series Round 1 Race 1 Highlights
2020 Castrol Toyota Series Round 1 Race 2 Highlights
2020 Castrol Toyota Series Round 1 Race 3 Highlights
2020 Castrol Toyota Series Round 2 Race 1 Highlights
Handy evidence the next time someone tells you that virtual motorsport is just a game, and doesn’t help with real world racing.