The Toyota Finance 86 Championship makes its Ruapuna debut this weekend with plenty of exciting racing in store.
Toyota’s acclaimed 86 sports coupe enters its second season of championship racing this year. With two rounds completed in late 2014, the Toyota Finance 86 Championship is a close-fought battle between new and returning drivers.
Defending champion Jamie McNee is back for a shot at a second title, but Ash Blewett, Callum Quin, Tom Alexander and Matt Gibson are locked in battle for race wins and valuable points and the championship outcome could swing to any of the leading drivers. After two rounds, Ash Blewett has a lead of 14 points over McNee, with Tom Alexander – a proud Cantabrian now living in Bombay near Auckland – well placed in third, just two points adrift of McNee.
This year more than ever, regional pride is at stake as the championship: prominent Cantabrian businessman Rick Armstrong joins son Marcus (14) for this third round of the championship. Marcus Armstrong contested part of the inaugural championship and has been making a name for himself in karting at national level. He won his first 86 race at in the inaugural round of this year’s championship.
Another young driver, Australian Luis Leeds (14) will run this weekend with the ETEC team. He is a promising Australian driver and a TRS prospect for 2016 who is looking to get some experience on NZ’s circuits.
Fought out over six rounds with a substantial prize purse at stake for the winners, the 2014-2015 championship is designed to enable drivers to gain skills and experience in modern race cars on New Zealand’s most exciting and spectacular circuits as they advance their careers.
All TR86 race cars used in the series are proudly New Zealand built. The cars’ specification includes an FIA-approved multi-point competition roll cage, adjustable race suspension, racing brake discs and calipers and 18-inch Speedline alloy wheels with Michelin tyres.
The cockpit features a Motec colour data dashboard, competition seats, racing harnesses and race steering wheel.
Only TR86 cars built by Toyota Racing New Zealand are eligible for the championship, and cars are available in managed drives, or can be purchased or leased.
The 2014-2015 championship has its own TV coverage and includes races at circuits from Auckland to Invercargill.