Promising Kiwi racer Marcus Armstrong will return to the Toyota Racing Series this summer as the championship's marquee signing.

The 17-year-old was one of three Kiwis competing in last year's series and has secured a deal to return after a successful year racing in Europe to have a second crack at New Zealand's premier racing category.

He is the second New Zealander confirmed for the 2018 series, joining the experienced Brendon Leitch.

"It is fantastic," Armstrong told The Herald. "I had so much fun last season in TRS. The guys I was working with were obviously from Europe and they were very experienced. All my teammates were great guys.


"Obviously we didn't win the championship, which wasn't ideal but it is perfect now because we can come back and try again."

Armstrong has turned heads this year having won the Italian Formula 4 Championship as well as finishing a close second in the German Formula 4 Championship. He is contracted to Ferrari and has spent the year as part of their Young Driver Academy.

It is likely that he will make the step up to either F2 or F3 next year.

He proved competitive in Toyota Racing Series last year having won the season-opening race at Ruapuna and two others to finish fourth in the standings.

There will be expectation this season however.

"After this season I am used to it to be honest," the Christchurch-born Armstrong said. "It has been quite difficult in terms of that but to be honest any pressure they put on me won't be any more than the pressure I will be putting on myself.

"No issues in terms of that - I will just be driving fast."

Armstrong is clear around his ambitions for the championship - he wants to be champion.


"I want to win and just make progress. We have a long season coming up so to get a head start in TRS is fantastic.

"I think that is why we managed to hit the ground running in Europe [in 2017] is because we were racing against such good guys back in New Zealand so hopefully that is the case again this year."

He does have the benefit of having had a year's experience and has already found a couple of things that didn't work for him last time.

While he will put everything into winning the country's most famous race he won't get caught up trying to win each race meeting like he did last year.

"[I'll be targeting the] New Zealand Grand Prix for sure," Armstrong said. "But the other trophies was the mistake I made last time - was trying to win those races when I should have just settled for second and third and taken the points.

"Had we done that we would have won the championship.

"The New Zealand Grand Prix is the one I am looking to win but every other race is no different from the others because that is what cost us the championship."

The five-week long series starts in mid-January.