The 34-year-old Kiwi will make a rare appearance on home soil, most his racing career having been spent abroad in a range if open-wheel and GT categories.
He'll team up with former CART team owners Steve and Christine Horne running under the Tasman Motorsports Group.
“As a New Zealander I’ve never done a lot of racing here," said van der Drift.
"I did some karting here, a little bit in Australia then went off to Europe. Up until this year, all I’ve done in New Zealand was the Grand Prix in 2006, an A1GP round and two V8 SuperTourer rounds.
“Just as much for me as for Steve and Christine, [winning the Grand Prix] is a box I would like to tick. I’ve had just one shot at it in the past. Now to have another chance, I’m pumped. And clearly the record of Steve and Christine and what they have achieved speaks for itself.
“There are some very good drivers who are going to be out there too. I’m going for the win. This is my chance to do it, I feel good and I’m driving well. Once the entry list is finalised, I think it’s going to be quite a spectacle.”
Steve Horne added that an NZGP title is a bucket list item.
"My father George was on the original New Zealand Grand Prix committee back in the early 1950s," he said.
"I watched my first Grand Prix back in 1957 when it was won by Reg Parnell, that’s probably what ignited my passion for the sport.
"We’ve followed Chris’ career closely. He knows how to win, and he’s proven that in nearly everything he’s raced in. We’ve won some big races in the US with some great world-class drivers, but we’ve never entered the Grand Prix here.
"To win it, would be pretty special for Christine and I – it’s a bucket list race for us, we are excited to put a car on the grid."
The van der Drift car will carry a throwback livery paying tribute to the LCI-backed Reynard run by the squad in CART in the mid-1990s.
Van der Drift will be joined on the NZGP grid by the likes of Shane van Gisbergen, who now has the green light to compete thanks to a travel bubble between NZ and Queensland, and Kiwi racing legend Kenny Smith.
Chris van der Drift, Tasman Motorsports Group
Toyota Racing Series