By qualifying for the Chase for the Crown Cup, Vldišav Šnajdrov's contract was automatically extended one year through the 319AP season, locking him in to the No. 5 car for the 318AP season. Šnajdrov was offered, and signed, a separate contract addendum that extended his stay at Allen-Stayton Racing through the end of the 320AP season. Pad Kinthurris' contract carried him through the 317AP season only, but he was offered and signed a one-year extension to remain in the No. 95 Veron after guaranteeing continued sponsorship from Somerish soft drink company Malumade.
No changes are expected to the driver lineup at Black Star Racing Syndicate for the upcoming 318AP season as both drivers are locked in contracts through at least the coming season. Team officials signed Piet-Maria Caniz to a two-year contract extension in the No. 97 car based on his performance the past two years. VexMart has been replaced by Petroline as the primary sponsor on the No. 97. Team officials have confirmed that they have been approached by Whilandic automaker Gazelle about switching away from the team’s traditional Parmiyon cars and joining with fellow Whilandic team Manaar Motorsports. And most recently the team has also been approached by Kalisth'iziran automaker Saqlain about switching, hoping the move would help Saqlain win their first Orb Cup manufacturer title. In the end, it was an impassioned plea from Caniz that helped seal the deal in favor of a switch to Saqlain. Caniz's contract extension was lengthened to three years with a guaranteed one-year extension for each season he makes the Chase for the Crown Cup, carrying him through 320AP, after Saqlain agreed to help fund part of the expense of contract extension.
With the release of Johan Weinhauss, the team decided to move in a new direction, hiring Caledonian rookie and ICARA veteran Richard Westleigh a one-year deal to pilot the No. 62 car. Sponsors and car manufacturer will remain the same through the upcoming season.
Both teams did quite well for Burgium Racing Syndicate in 317AP, with one making the Chase for the Crown Cup and one just barely missing the cut for it. Harvey Dundeinburg is already signed through 318AP, but was offered an additional season on his current contract, which he immediately accepted. Rookie Eric Cavagne had an amazing year competing for the Rookie of the Year title, and was offered a two-year deal from Burgium Racing Syndicate. However, he turned that offer down to pursue one with the factory-backed Saqlain Werks Team. Instead, Zartanian driver Giskard Reventlov was signed to take over the No. 67 vacated by Cavagne's departure.
It was another terrible year for Caffeine Addicts of the Speedways, with both drivers finishing in the bottom five of the 110 drivers in the Crown Cup standings. It would surprise no one to see both drivers released by the team, and possibly the end of their racing careers. The bigger question is whether or not the team will continue to participate in the RZOEAZ in 318AP, or if it might be sold to a newcomer, bringing new blood into the motor racing series. And it turned out that the answers to those questions fell within the RZOEAZ's decision to reduce teams to no more than two cars. In the wake of that decision, and looking at the poor performances by both drivers, Caffeine Addicts of the Speedways elected to reduce to just a single car in order to facilitate and focus efforts to improve the on-track performance. And it was Gillister that they chose to keep, prompting expressions of surprise from even Gillister himself.
Keithro Trevizant has been re-signed to a one-year deal with Calé Racing in the No. 20 car for 318AP. The contract, however, comes with an automatic termination clause that says that the team will not renew the contract with Trevizant if he finishes worse in points than he did in his rookie season.
It was another typical season for Cinq-Mars Racing, with one driver clearly a cut above the other. Once again, Kukuria's Rudyard Gandalf made the Chase for the Crown Cup, finishing 8th and clearly justifying the team's likely desire to offer what should be a very lucrative contract extension. Eastern Zartania's Astyn Belcher, though, performed much as the team's other drivers have in the past, managing only two Top-5 finishes and ending up 78th in points. The question now is whether or not the team plans to honor the second year of Belcher's contract or terminate it early (along with the hefty fine that would be incurred for breach of contract) and search for a new driver for the No. 58.
It was, overall, a mediocre year for Driisbahk Motor Sports. Kalisth'izira's Joaqim Kendezal once again made the Chase for the Crown Cup, thus earning himself an automatic one-year extension on his contract and keeping him in the No. 51 car through at least 318AP. Eastern Zartanian veteran and the first-ever RZOEAZ Rookie of the Year, Darrell Allen, had his worst season of his venerable career, qualifying for only 16 events and finishing 106th in points despite picking up a win in the AgriCove 300 in April. With his contract expired at the end of the 317AP season, most pundits believe that Driisbahk Motor Sports management will likely release the 46-year-old Zartanian in preference for some younger blood to team with Kendezal into the future. It remains to be seen if sponsors Exqot Motor Oil and Rain or Shine outdoor apparel will stick with the team, follow Allen, or chart their own path into 318AP.
David Cromwell's season would be considered mediocre at best. The Utanian veteran finished 80th overall in points with only a single Top-5 finish to show for his troubles. However, he does have a year still to go on his contract with the team. The RZOEAZ rumor mill currently has Falcon Ridge Motorsports as a leading candidate to fold or sell-out should a new owner or ownership group be interesting in forging their way into the sport in 318AP. If that were to happen, it remains to be seen if said new team would simply buy out FRM's belongings, including Cromwell, or attempt to start fresh. For now, Cromwell remains penciled into the 318AP lineup in the No. 59 car.
"For Poppy" Racing had a rough sophomore season in the RZOEAZ. Neither driver really lived up to the team's expectations, which means it may be a good thing that each had only been signed to a single-year deal. Davenporter veteran Charles Kain-Joffrey took over the No. 4 car after a year without racing in 316AP, and proved again why he may just hang up the helmet for good if he can't find a ride for 318AP, finishing 71st of 110 drivers with two Top-5 finishes. His teammate, Eastern Zartanian veteran Wesley Morann did slightly better, finishing 51st in the points standings and grabbing an extra Top-5 finish beyond Kain-Joffrey. However, the 48-year-old Morann's steadily advancing age in the face of new, young talent may mark the end of his tenure with FPR and perhaps the end of his career. On the other hand, if the team is looking to build on 317AP's performances, they may be inclined to keep the veteran to pair with a rookie or sophomore driver at least for the upcoming season. Both sponsors have yet to announce their plans for 318AP, as well.
It was yet another rebuilding year for Gem-Mountain Racing, with on solid, middle-of-the-road driver and one driver solidly in the basement. Draconia's Ned Drake took the helm of the No. 84 car for the first time, and utterly failed to impress. Qualifying for only 19 events and grabbing only a single Top-5 finish, Drake finished 88th of 110 drivers, and is likely out of a job for 318AP. His Westrian teammate, Jeroen Yeolant, however, was a solid mid-performer, making only one event more than Drake, but making more of the races he did enter, coming home with four Top-5 finishes and wrapping up the season 52nd overall. Given GMR's history, most RZOEAZ-watchers feel the team is likely to offer Yeolant a one-year extension to remain in the No. 90 and attempt to improve his performance in 318AP while seeking a new teammate to pair with him in the No. 84. Both Carnation Road and WOLFF Motion Pictures have expressed their desires to sponsor "winning teams, teams that run up front week-in and week-out," and are expected to leave the team prior to 318AP.
There will be no change to the driver lineup at this team, as the team exists solely for HRH Prince Karl vun Q'Leist, the younger brother of Zartania's HRM King Bruno II, to race in the RZOEAZ. HRH will continue to drive the No. 75 car as long as HRM continues to fund the team. The only potential rumored change is that of the sponsor, with Veron possibly leaving the sponsorship role to focus on providing more technical and engineering support to their RZOEAZ and ICARA race teams, and leaving the hood of the No. 75 car vacant for the time being. It is unclear what sponsor may grace the hood and quarterpanels of the only "royal" car in the field, though some rumors have pointed to the possibility of a rotating sponsorship highlighting top companies from each of the Greater Zartanian Empire's Federated Dominions: Eastern Zartania, Western Zartania, Whiland, and Elafites & Zufites.
With yet another run in the Chase for the Crown Cup, Utanian veteran Gordan Marapae has again justified his team's decision to opt for a multi-year contract. Marapae's current contract carries him through the end of the 318AP season with James Donovan Motorsports, keeping him behind the wheel of the No. 47 car for another season. Primary sponsor Eclipse Homegoods took some convincing to return for the 317AP season, and it's currently unclear if they'll return for 318AP or force the team to search for a new sponsor on the iconic gold and green Kunghai.
Rumors abound that the team could fold prior to the 318AP season, especially if there is interest from another potential owner or ownership group trying to enter the sport. Eastern Zartanian conglomerate Keltzin purchased a controlling share of Harrysun Motorsports four years ago in an attempt to increase their brand recognition through RZOEAZ team ownership and sponsorship. For the past 3+ seasons, Keltzin has been single-handedly bankrolling the team and sponsoring the cars, resulting in a veritable tidal wave of cash leaving the company each year for an intangible return-on-investment. In the meantime, teammates and spouses Nadjia Kiji and Amanda Takanagiwa announced their joint retirement from the RZOEAZ following the end of the 317AP season, leaving the team to search for replacements to fill the No. 24 and No. 42 cars for 318AP.
In reference to the team's uncanny ability to mount a serious challenge for the Crown Cup in 317AP, owners Lloyd and Wendell Logg elected to change the organization's name to Challenger Racing starting in 318AP. Sanxian veteran Giladis Kücking, coming off her career-best performance, was offered a three-year contract extension, with an additional two years guaranteed if she could help lock in Bossenfokker as primary sponsor during that same period. She did.
Melanian Sea GP is a new team, backed mainly by Mohammed Gomez (he's been having these plans for some years already, running his own team...). Probably Gomez will race for a season or two before committing himself to management only. The team will have some key partnerships with Corley Motors - this means they'll likely use Corley Motors chassis, ex-Corley pit crew and the like - until they get enough know-how and important sponsorship deals to. They'll be looking for a second driver as well.
From Ordland, we have Orca Sylvestra, owned by old OrdCar company. They will remain a single-car operation for this season at least due to budget concerns. The team signed Tak rookie mǷѳѳŋ Ɣaap to be their first driver, signing a one-year deal with the team to drive the No. 120 car.
The 317AP season turned out to be the breakout season for Albion-Merité's Boltzer automaker and Pattie-Badenburg Racing Group. Rookie Calvin Trellis not only made the Chase for the Crown Cup, but finished 13th in points with Boltzer's first race win in the RZOEAZ. Trellis is still tied to the No. 80 car for the second year of his two-year contract, but what comes of him in 319AP is anyone's guess at this point.
Team Ichi Brzo wishes to join the fray using the GuwimithianTvornitsa Vozilo Harahvamidzi (TVH) cars, or at least this is their hope because TVH own half the team and there isn't a team without them. TVH is well known for luxury and sports cars of the old Empire, often just stealing designs made in Gronk, and though they have moved into more mainstream cars since losing access to Savant and the three other "mainland" car companies, they still seek to sell custom fancy cars. Their name does not reflect their high-end ambitions. Their high-end cars are just known by the TVH acronym. The team's two cars will be driven by Guwimithian rookies Zvonimir Tomich and Srjan Nemanyich, who will both compete for RZOEAZ Rookie of the Year honors.
While car numbers and sponsors have yet to be named by rookie Team Vendurion Racing, their lead driver has already been hired. Porto Capital's Louiz Caloni will move to the team for the 318AP season and possibly beyond. Still no word yet on Caloni's possible teammate.
Thackery Hastings is signed with the team through 318AP based on the terms of his original contract. It remains to be seen, however, if Yanni Kitschenrotsch will return for another season with the team, or if his career has come to an end. Likewise, there has been no word from the team on sponsors for either the No. 60 or No. 61 cars for next year.
The team has yet to decide what to do with their now-sophomore driver from Tak, leaving both the drivership and sponsorship of the No. 49 in the air for the moment. Meanwhile, with the mandatory reduction to two cars per team, Hector Ginshee and the No. 50 moved from Saqlain Werks Team back to their original home at Yaman-Kotzebue Racing with no additional changes. Ginshee and Chillicoffey Associates are both signed through 318AP.