|James Penrose is the winner of Castrol’s search for its 2022 New Zealand Grand Prix ambassador and will compete for the brand in a fully supported Toyota FT-60 in this February’s big race.|
Twenty-five-year-old Penrose was confirmed as the winner following a rigorous evaluation process which saw candidates assessed on a wide variety of on-track and off-track abilities concluding in individual interviews. He also therefore becomes the first driver to be officially confirmed as an entry for the 2022 New Zealand Grand Prix.
Callum Crawley emerged from the process a narrow second in the overall evaluation, and in an additional move has been awarded a $15,000 prize to go towards securing him a seat in the Grand Prix.
An initial application list of 66 drivers was refined to a short-list of seven in November. All drivers had to demonstrate raw speed, a strong racing track record and the ambassadorial skills required by one of the sport’s major sponsors. Candidates were also assessed across a broad range of off-track variables, including generating social media engagement.
Penrose – the current National and South Island Formula Ford champion and a multiple title holder in karts – excelled in all areas, but it was his conviction and passion to progress his racing career which caught the judging panel’s attention.
“In the final review of some phenomenally talented young drivers, James was just what we were looking for,” explained Castrol Brand & Product Manager Jan Willink.
“We were amazed with the overall quality calibre of applicants. Picking a single winner from such a deserving field was a greater challenge than anticipated, but James’ authenticity and genuine ambition to take his career to the next level convinced us that we want to be part of that journey with him too.”
“We now move to the next stage with James. He’ll be testing again and working with us as we build towards a reveal of the car livery for the GP. We cannot wait to see James out on the grid as the latest in a long and successful line of New Zealand drivers to carry Castrol colours.”
Jotika Prasad, Castrol Marketing Director (ANZ) agreed adding, “Between James, and runner-up Callum, we’ve got two drivers that have the capability and mindset to succeed on the biggest stage in New Zealand motorsport, and we’re thrilled to have them as part of the Castrol family.”
Penrose himself was absolutely delighted with the news, but quick to pay respect to the quality of the drivers in the final selection process.
“I knew – like all the drivers – that I had a shot at winning but it’s amazing to have actually been selected by Castrol to represent them in the Grand Prix. They’ve gone the extra mile to make this happen and I am determined to deliver on the faith they have shown in me.
“When you see who was on the shortlist, let alone in the bigger 66 strong application list, I know that the opportunity could have easily gone to another driver such is the quality in that group. It’s very exciting for me to be the guy selected from that group to race in these iconic colours. I can’t wait.”