Karting star on the rise crosses over to Toyota championship

Published 5 November 2015

Christchurch schoolboy Caleb Cross is on a fast track to motorsport success as the 16th entry in the 2015-2016 Toyota Finance 86 Championship in a drive only confirmed mid-week ahead of this weekend’s first round.

Just 15 years old and still studying at Christchurch Boys’ High School, Cross started his motor racing career at age 8 in karting. He is a young man in a hurry.

Among his racing accomplishments to date are two New Zealand sprint championship titles, three North Island titles and three New Zealand school karting championship wins.

Cross, son of former Toyota Racing Series competitor Hamish Cross, made his first foray out of karting last year, moving into Formula Ford at 14. He led that championship until the final round and finished third.

The car he will drive is owned by the McKenzies, who run Albany Toyota and have long supported New Zealand motorsport. Cross intends racing the V8 Supercar championship in future and has strong affiliations with the New Zealand team Super Black Racing. The TR 86 he will drive carries the Super Black race number, 111.

Organisers of the 2015 Toyota Finance 86 Championship say interest in the category is at record levels with a starting grid for the first round of 16 cars.

Drivers and race fans have been able to view the New Zealand-built TR 86 race cars used in the championship at the CRC Speedshow where its first driver commitment, Reid Harker of Albany, was announced. Aspiring race drivers from all over New Zealand have taken every opportunity to test the race cars at Manfeild, Hampton Downs and Ruapuna.

Championship coordinator Geoff Short says the championship stands alongside the Toyota Racing Series for its potential to help rising race drivers achieve their career goals.

“The cars are purpose-built for racing, very evenly matched and the championship is affordable, with team, car ownership and lease options available,” he said.

The 2015-2016 Toyota Finance 86 Championship starts at the Pukekohe round of the Australian V8 Supercar series on November 7 and 8. It continues at the end of November with a second round at Hampton Downs and then shares several rounds with the Toyota Racing Series in early 2016. The championship has its own TV coverage package with a one hour time slot on TV3 a week after each round.

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