Returning champion Alexander revs up Toyota 86 Championship

Published 1 November 2017

The return of 2015 champion Tom Alexander (23) will fire up the 2017-2018 Toyota 86 Championship when it kicks off at Pukekohe this weekend.

Alexander, of Bombay in south Auckland, will drive Kenny Smith’s #11 car in the six-round, 18 race championship. He faces stiff opposition from other experienced one-make racers and from two Australian drivers.

2017 rookie of the year Jack Milligan (Christchurch) is back, this year as the senior driver in the two-car CareVets team and facing an Australian challenge. Milligan scored a podium finish in his Australian Toyota Racing Series debut, competing at Bathurst as part of an ongoing relationship between the Australian and New Zealand championships.

Two Australian racers are crossing the Tasman to contest the opening round of the New Zealand Championship: Bathurst local and race winner Dylan Gulson and Cameron Hill of Canberra, who is currently second overall in the Australian series.

Milligan says he is undaunted by the prospect of going wheel to wheel with Gulson and Hill just a month after they met on-track at Mount Panorama.

“The Australian cars are a different specification to ours, and Panorama is unlike anything I have ever driven before. Scoring a podium there in my first Aussie outing was fantastic. Now these guys have the tables turned – I’m back in the CareVets car on a circuit I know and really like racing on,” he said.

Reid Harker of Albany is making a one-off return to the Toyota 86 Championship for the first round at the ITM Super Sprint, November 3-5. Harker, 22, finished second in the most recent championship and says he enjoys the challenge of Pukekohe, which he describes as a ‘hustle circuit’.

“If you’re not always right on the line, hitting your braking points, and balancing the amount of kerb you use, you’re not in the hunt,” he said.

The secret to a fast lap? Getting the best launch out of the hairpin and carrying all possible speed over the top of the ‘mountain’ onto the front straight.

“Getting the kerbs right is crucial too – not enough kerb and the lap time is down; too much risks damage to the suspension or underside of the car.”

The 2017-2018 Toyota 86 Championship kicks off Toyota Racing New Zealand’s summer of premier motor racing action this weekend. The championship is open to purpose-built TR 86 racing versions of Toyota’s acclaimed sports coupe. There are two races for the championship on Saturday 4 November at 10.45 am and 3.00 pm; the final race of the weekend is at 1.20 pm on Sunday 5 November.

Connor Adam BJP-8863 300x170 listing Connor Adam aims to rebuild 86 lead at Teretonga

Published 19 January 2018

International Motorsport's Connor Adam will look to rebuild his Championship points lead this weekend as the Toyota 86 Championship rolls into Teretonga for round four

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BJP-0014173 Jayden 300x170 Connor Adam hangs on to Toyota 86 Championship lead

Published 14 January 2018

Halfway through the Toyota 86 Championship, the title could go to any one of a half dozen drivers.Auckland's Connor Adam came to Ruapuna with the Championship lead, and leaves it still leading - but the pack are closing in.

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Jack Milligan 300x170 Jack Milligan is new Championship leader

Published 13 January 2018

Christchurch driver Jack Milligan has sprinted into the lead in the 2017-2018 Toyota 86 Championship with victory in today's race at Mike Pero Motorsport Park, Ruapuna, Christchurch.

Milligan dominated the race from the start and was able to dictate pace over the distance to the chequered flag, though behind him Michael Scott had forced his way through the field to a podium and International Motorsport's Connor Adam hung on to maintain his title hopes.

On his charge through the field, Scott tangled with Tom Alexander mid-corner, the latter spinning off into the infield before regaining the track. Scott also set fastest lap of the race, a 1:37.949 on lap 3.

Another local, Jaden Ransley, was quick in the opening laps and showed true racecraft to hang on as the podium battle swept over him. He finished fourth, two second clear of leading rookie Jordan Baldwin.

Tom Alexander dropped tothe rear of the field while rejoining the race and finished eighth. The former Cantabrian has been battling illness and had missed free practice during the week. 

New inductee Sam Wallace made a clean start to the championship, finishing behind Alexander and ahead of Sam Wright, the Championship's youngest competitor, in the Tony Richards Toyota car.

Toyota 86 Championship round four, race one

1 Jack Milligan

2 Michael Scott

3 Connor Adam

4 Jaden Ransley

5 Jordan Baldwin

6 Bramwell King

7 Peter Vodanovich

8 Tom Alexander

9 Sam Wallace

10 Sam Wright

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