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TRS: Irishman Ryan Cullen joins the growing five-car M2 Competition squad in 2013

October 25, 2012

Irish driver Ryan Cullen has confirmed his entry into the Toyota Racing Series programme with the series continuing its tradition of attracting burgeoning international open-wheel competitors.

Cullen will drive for the M2 Competition squad which earlier this month announced plans that it had struck an alliance with UK-based talent identification squad Strakka Performance.

The 21-year-old finished sixth in the highly competitive British Formula Ford series this year punctuated by three podium finishes.

Currently the young racer is testing for the Status GP team at Jerez in Spain where he is cutting laps in the new generation and more powerful European GP3 car.

“I am doing four days of official post-season GP3 tests with Status GP this week at Jerez
in Spain and will continue in Portugal in early November. I have done two days British
Formula 3 testing, with more planned in late November and early December, and then it’s
into TRS in January,” Cullen explains.

Kiwi star Nick Cassidy, the reigning Toyota Racing Series champion is also testing for Status at Jerez this week.

Cassidy is highly rated in New Zealand motor racing and confirmed his potential by making a dynamic cameo appearance when he replaced Greg Murphy in the V8 SuperTourer enduro at Taupo last month.

Along with Aussie racer Jack Perkins, Cassidy helped lift the #51 Mike Pero Mortgages Commodore win the opening 200km race at Taupo.

Cullen is well aware of the high level the New Zealand TRS has attained in its eight years and is ready for the challenge of the competition of a learning new circuits.

“Coming from the northern hemisphere I am relying on completing some limited simulator
work to get to know the circuits.

“I know I’m going to have to get to grips with that fairly quickly and be prepared to learn quickly. I am going down to NZ because I know it will be tough. You never get an easy win in the southern hemisphere in any competitive sport”.

Graduates of the 2012 TRS have made quite a name for themselves in UK and European
championships this year and the endorsements from some of these racers helped drive his
decision to commit. In particular Jordan King and Josh Hill enthusiastically recommended
TRS to Ryan and his father Patrick, who will also travel to New Zealand for the series.

Cullen’s GP3 tests are with the Status GP team, which has strong links with Mark Pilcher
and Jonathon Moury of M2 Competition.

Pilcher says for Status, the opportunity to see drivers placed in a high-pressure short-duration championship during the northern hemisphere winter is invaluable.

M2 Competition has confirmed it is planning to run five cars in the 2013 championship.

Toyota Racing Series category manager Barrie Thomlinson says the 2012 series delivered
young racers like Ryan into a range of championships in Europe and the UK and many of
them have gone on to produce some impressive results.

“We welcome Ryan onboard and hope that he enjoys his TRS experience and his time
spent here in New Zealand as so many have over the past eight years,” Thomlinson said.



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