Young Christchurch racer Jaden Ransley has big plans for his return to the Toyota 86 Championship.
Ransley was just 14 years old when he contested last year’s Championship, making him one of the youngest ever. Before making his debut in the Toyota 86 Championship, he had never driven a manual-shift car and as he goes into this year’s six-round series he is 15, still too young to hold a road licence.
This is no recent arrival in motorsport though: Ransley has raced karts for six years, winning two national KartSport titles and another pair in the South Island.
Now 15, and with the opening round of the 2017-2018 Toyota 86 Championship a few weeks away, Ransley has been attracting national attention. He told the New Zealand Herald he is boldly taking aim at the title.
“Last year I was fighting for the rookie title. This year I want to be in the top-three at most rounds and a contender for the main title.”
Ransley has received support and advice from Christchurch-based race engineer Andy Neale, who has worked in Formula One and took Singaporean Andrew Tang to the Toyota Racing Series title in 2014. Neale has been coaching the youngster throughout his pre-season preparation.
When the championship kicks off as a support category for the V8 Supercar weekend November 3-5, Ransley will go up against another mentor, Tom Alexander. Alexander won the Championship in 2015 and has been racing in the NZV8s since but returns to drive Kenny Smith’s TR 86.
Totally sold on single-make racing, Ransley says he wants to contest the Australian Toyota 86 Racing Series in 2018 and then move to the Porsche Carrera Cup.