Sixteen cars line up for opening round of Toyota 86 championship
New Zealand’s leading single-make ‘tintop’ championship has attracted its strongest entry going into this weekend’s opening round, at Pukekohe.
Conceived as a stepping stone to greater things, the Toyota Finance 86 Championship is a competitive six round championship that attracts rising racers and some of the highest profile names in New Zealand motorsport.
Going into its third year the championship farewells 2014-2015 champion Tom Alexander and welcomes a fresh draft of talented racers expected to make the racing at each of the six rounds a close-fought battle.
2013-2014 Toyota Finance 86 Championship winner Jamie McNee leading Callum Quin at Pukekohe. Picture/Veritas Communications.
A record grid of 16 cars will line up for the opening round at the V8 Supercar event.
New to the championship are Aucklanders Jacob Smith, Thomas Stokes and Mike Lightfoot, Christchurch drivers Tiff Chittenden, Mathew Hamilton, Ryan Yardley and Paul Kelly and Pukekohe local Alex Sherie, who has his sights set on rookie honours. John Penny is in the Neil Allport car.
Returning racers this year include Australian-based Bruce Thomlinson, Albany racer Reid Harker, Aucklanders Ash Blewett, Callum Quin and veteran campaigner Kenny Smith, who takes over the wheel of Tom Alexander’s championship-winning car.
Fought out over six rounds on circuits from Auckland to Invercargill and back to a series finale at Taupo, the 2015-2016 championship is designed to enable drivers to gain skills and experience in modern race cars on New Zealand’s most exciting circuits.