Armstrong eyes Wigram Trophy in homecoming

RISING STAR: Marcus Armstrong aims to win New Zealand's premier single seater racing series before beginning his first season competing in the European formula 3.

Marcus Armstrong is a young man well and truly entrenched in the pursuit of his dream to race in formula one. To date he’s on track to make it a reality.

This weekend the Europe-based Christchurch driver will get a rare chance to show off his talent in front of his home crowd at the opening round of the Toyota Racing Series at Ruapuna. He starts his second campaign in the series as a title favourite.

After finishing fourth in last year’s TRS, Armstrong won the Italian formula four championship, finished runner-up in the German F4 series, and was part of the Ferrari Young Driver Academy.

His stellar season in Europe has seen the Christchurch driver picked by Prema Racing to compete in the formula three European championship this year. The racing category is one of the most highly-regarded feeder categories into formula one.

“Last year I won F4, this year I need to win F3 and then win F2. It’s a continuous cycle,” said Armstrong.

The European formula three championship starts in May and has 10 rounds, running until October. Armstrong will get to compete on some iconic tracks, including Spa, Nürburgring and Silverstone.

On Sunday, Armstrong has a chance to add his name to the Lady Wigram Trophy. Famous names on the trophy include Jack Brabham, Stirling Moss, Bruce McLaren, Jackie Stewart, Jim Clark and Jochen Rindt.

“There’s certainly an extra pressure that comes with racing in front of a home crowd,” said Armstrong.

“Maybe that’s a mistake I made last year. I really wanted to win that race. At the moment, I’m not even thinking about the names on the trophy. If I can win it, then I’ll get a chance to take it in.”

Round one of the TRS at Ruapuna starts with a practice session tomorrow. Saturday will feature qualifying and race one, with races two and three (Lady Wigram Trophy) on Sunday. Christchurch’s other entrant is 19-year-old Ryan Yardley, who is making his TRS debut after winning the Toyota 86 sports coupe series last summer.