Multiple karting champion Jacob Cranston is the latest young gun to commit to the 2018-2019 Toyota 86 Championship and the talented racer and soccer player has one goal in mind for the coming season - to get inside the top ten on a regular basis in his first season racing cars.
Ten years in karting have yielded impressive results for the 17 year old Palmerston North apprentice Electrical Engineer. He has raced in all of the major junior and senior categories and will compete this weekend in Hamilton in the final round of the KZ2 class for 125 cc karts. He has five National titles, three North Island titles and last year qualified for the international Rotax Max Challenge.
As well as being one of the country's top karters, he's also a very accomplished soccer player and has years of experience under his belt in this sport too. A mid-field player and striker for Hokowhitu F.C. his fitness is at an exceptionally high level. He excelled in the physical tests when he ran the CareVets Scholarship test day earlier this year, the first time he had driven on a circuit and the first time he had been in a Toyota 86.
Jacob will race with the support in the pit and paddock from his father Andrew, who was a long-time racer in the Bridgestone Porsche series. Significant support is also expected to be confirmed from one of the category's most experienced teams as well. Backing for the season is coming from Best Bars Auckland, Burne Aluminium, custom doors and windows specialists Altus and Harris Race Radios. Additional sponsors are also likely to be confirmed before the season begins.
Jacob is hoping to get further miles under his belt in the car - the ex-Jacob Smith machine - between now and the first round, and is optimistic that everything is heading in the right direction to spring a few surprises.
"It's going to be hard as the other drivers all have experience on the circuits and aside from some time on Manfeild and at Hampton Downs, I'm starting fresh," explained Jacob.
"We're still super excited about the season ahead and we definitely think we can get on the pace pretty quickly and be top ten challengers and runners on a regular basis. That's the goal and we are pretty busy working towards that."
The Toyota 86 Championship season begins at the Supercars Championship event at Pukekohe Park in November before joining the Speed Works Motorsport NZ Championship for round two on Pukekohe's original 'short course' configuration. The championship then heads south for weekends at Highlands Motorsport Park and Teretonga before heading to the New Zealand Grand Prix meeting at Manfeild Circuit Chris Amon in February. It concludes at Hampton Downs in March with a non-championship endurance racing weekend in Taupo a month later.