First woman to contest Toyota FInance 86 Championship
Tiffany Chittenden, the first woman to contest the Toyota Finance 86 Championship comes to the sports car series with a wide range of experience, and a family history steeped in motorsport.
The 33 year old started in go karts as a 12 year old and has represented both Great Britain and New Zealand at the World Karting Championships.Her father Mike Chittenden was a former touring car driver and her mother was associated with the Vanwell Formula One team in the 1960's.
Tiffany Chittenden. Picture/Supplied.
But until now she has never done a whole season of motor racing. “It’s a great opportunity with the Lighting Plus team,” said Chittenden.
“It’ll be a steep learning curve, but I’m looking forward to it.”
Chittenden came to New Zealand early last year with her partner Mathew Hamilton, initially for a holiday, but liked it and decided to stay on.
The pair had met at the World Kart Championships several years ago, where Hamilton was representing New Zealand and Chittenden was racing for Great Britain.Now Christchurch based, Chittenden sees her greatest achievement in the sport so far as winning the British 125cc DD2 Kart Championship in 2007 and going on to represent her country.
After arriving here she competed in the125 cc Rotax Challenge Championship and finished runner-up over the six rounds.
“I forfeited my European license, so I could race for New Zealand at the World Champs in Spain last November,” she explained.
Despite finishing the top Kiwi and placing sixth, Tiffany was disappointed with the result. “We were lying third, but it rained for the last race and I didn’t do quite so well.”
And while she knows her way around several of New Zealand’s kart tracks she has only had brief test sessions in the Toyota 86 coupe at Ruapuna and Hampton Downs motor racing circuits.
“I’ve got to get used to the car and the tracks, so I know a lot of the competition have more experience of both than I do.”