Opshop lead singer Jason Kerrison takes to the track this morning with the Toyota Racing Series for a lap of the Taupo race circuit.
Kerrison’s band has gone double-platinum in New Zealand, was the recipient of the 2008 APRA Silver Scroll music award and went to number one on the MacIntosh web music site iTunes. Their singles “No Ordinary Thing”, “One Day” and “Maybe” have all had major chart success in this country.
The Invercargill-born singer and guitarist will be driven in the innovative TRS2 “biposto” dual-cockpit single-seater car by TRS graduate and first ever TRS race winner Brendon Hartley.
Hartley, the youngest-ever race winner in TRS history and its most successful graduate to date was third in his debut season in the tough British Formula Three Championship, has tested in Formula One for Red Bull and is heading into a 2009 European Formula Three season with the leading Carlin Motorsport team.
Other TRS graduates present at the track this weekend include the New Zealand A1GP team’s Earl Bamber and Chris van der Drift.
Bamber, Hartley and van der Drift were rated among the top 20 “drivers to watch in 2009” by UK magazine Autosport. Motorsport commentators including former F1 driver Chris Amon say these results and more show the importance of TRS as a true incubator of new driving talent.
Opshop is a New Zealand music success story with a double platinum album behind them. The band was formed by Invercargill born, Christchurch raised singer/songwriter Jason Kerrison, who joined guitarist and old school friend Tim Skedden and another old school mate and long time jamming drummer, Bobby Kennedy (also from Christchurch).
Guitarist Matt Treacy (yet another Cantabrian) was also living in Auckland and became the fourth member of the band, with English-born Ian Munro arriving to become the band’s bass player.
The band produced an album, You are Here, in 2004 and the single No Ordinary Thing secured chart position for the band.
The second album, Second Hand Planet, was produced in 2007 and has gone double platinum thanks to the popularity of the single “Maybe” and also the use of the band’s song One Day in television advertising.
"Maybe" took the band to prominence nationally and internationally on the iTunes electronic music web site. OpShop were the first New Zealand band to go to the #1 position on iTunes New Zealand in its history, beating out Mika, Regina Spektor, Avril Lavigne, Beyoncé and Shakira.
Notes on the Toyota Racing Series:
The Toyota Racing Series is New Zealand’s premier single-seater category.
Now in its fifth season as New Zealand's premier single-seater category, TRS is designed to identify and develop New Zealand’s rising racers. It uses a “one-make” chassis design, race developed versions of a Toyota production engine, and gives drivers their first experience of true “wings and slicks” racing.
The 2008 Toyota Racing Series went "green" last year with a switch to whey-based E85 ethanol biofuel. It was the first category in New Zealand motorsport to do so, and the 2008 Championship included the first bio-fuelled Grand Prix in the global history of motorsport – a race won by Andy Knight, the 2008 Champion.
After the A1GP weekend at Taupo, the teams have a month’s break before heading to Manfeild to race the 2009 New Zealand Grand Prix – once more using E85 ethanol biofuel in the only FIA-recognised Grand Prix to run a "green" fuel.