Toyota drivers use endurance racing to hone skills for coming championship

Published 30 June 2016

New Zealand race drivers are using their TR 86 sports coupes to hone their skills in winter motor racing – no matter how foul the weather – and setting their goals for the coming summer race season.

Reid Harker and Tom Stokes contested the 2015-2016 Toyota Finance 86 Championship, and both plan to grid up for the 2016-2017 series starting in November with the V8 Supercar event at Pukekohe.

In the meantime, they are gathering valuable ‘seat time’ and sharpening their race skills in the North Island Endurance Series where their TR 86 race cars are proving more than competitive.

Reid Harker won his class and finished sixth overall in teeming rain at the latest one hour race, held at Hampton Downs circuit in the north Waikato on June 25. Tom Stokes had run as high as tenth overall but went off close to the end of the three hour race. Harker said the enduro required different pacing and a different race strategy.

“Driving an enduro is different from the intensity of racing in the championship, but the seat time – and the chance to run extensively on the good soft wet tyres - is invaluable. Hampton Downs in the wet was awesome.

“The TR 86 has the balance and brakes to match the bigger cars in the corners and we were able to stay on the lead lap for most of the race,” he said.

Though both say the race time is more important that the results, Harker enjoyed a series of close battles with more powerful open class race cars at Hampton Downs and was close to a top five finish when the race ended. While at the Taupo opening round he was side-lined in while leading his class when he picked up a late race puncture. Consistent performance has him second in class for the series.

“We’ve only had a limited time with the TR 86, some of the guys we were up against in 2015-2016 had more experience, so it’s important to use the off-season well as we get ready for the championship. I’m really enjoying the racing and looking forward to November,” he said.

Harker has now confirmed he will contest the 2016-2017 TR 86 Championship and is finalising sponsors to support his long-time backer Washworld. The team will also attend the coming CRC Speedshow July 16-17.

Toyota TR 86 Championship 2016 - 2017 race calendar
Round 1
04 – 06 Nov 2016 Pukekohe Park Raceway, Pukekohe (V8 Supercars)| Round 2 09 – 11 Dec 2016 Taupo Motorsport Park, Taupo | Round 3 13 -15 Jan 2017 Mike Pero Motorsport Park, Ruapuna, Christchurch | Round 4 20 - 22 Jan 2017 Teretonga Park, Invercargill | Round 5 10 - 12 Feb 2017 Manfeild, Feilding (New Zealand Grand Prix weekend) | Round 6 10 – 12 Mar 2017 Hampton Downs

Reid Harker’s racing career is here:
https://www.driverdb.com/drivers/reid-harker/

Tom Stokes’ racing career is here:
https://www.driverdb.com/drivers/thomas-stokes/

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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Peter Vodanovich DSC_5966 web article listing size Vodanovich takes the fast way forward

Published 8 January 2018

Peter Vodanovich joins the 2017-2018 Toyota 86 Championship with a mission.

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