The first wins in the inaugural Toyota Finance 86 Championship have gone to Angus Fogg and Jamie McNee. The category has its first lap record of the seven-round series, a 1:52.191 by Callum Quin.
Multiple touring car champion Fogg, driving the Gulf Foods car, won the morning’s race by .516 of a second from Christchurch’s Tom Alexander. He said afterward the competition was intense.
“These young chargers are not holding back. The cars are so evenly matched that if you make even the smallest mistake you are instantly on the defensive. Miss a gear and two cars will be past you. It’s great racing,” he said.
Ash Blewett hit the wall on the second lap and was out of the race.
The podium for the first race was Fogg ahead of Tom Alexander and Matt Gibson.
Fogg says the new Highlands Motorsport Park circuit is “fantastic”.
“This place is unlike anything else in New Zealand motor racing, it’s truly superb. We were doing 1:52, I’d expect those times to come down as the circuit ‘rubbers up’ over the next few races.”
Callum Quin’s race lap record of 1:52.191 was set on the sixth lap of eight in this race and was more than half a second quicker than Fogg’s best from the qualifying sessions of 1:52. 712.
Race two was a partial reverse grid with the number of rows of the grid to be reversed decided by marble draw.
Fogg, as winner of race 1, drew the marble to decide how many of the lead cars from race one would have their positions reversed for the second race – and was dismayed to pull the number eight from the hat, meaning he would start off row four.
Matt Williams and Tony Houston were the front row for this afternoon’s second race, but that all changed on the first lap when Houston spun backwards off the circuit and into a gravel trap, narrowly missing other cars as he went.
The race start was red flagged to enable his car to be retrieved and when the field restarted Jamie McNee was immediately chasing Williams for the lead and swept past after a lap. The front of the race became a battle for second place between McNee, Matt Gibson, Tom Alexander and Callum Quin.
Not long after the race resumed, race one winner Fogg slid off the track and into the wall, damaging bodywork and suspension as he went. He was able to continue and finish sixth, improving two positions on his start order.
Into the final laps of the race McNee, a graduate of the single-seater Toyota Racing Series, had extended his lead out to seven seconds and at the flag held an advantage of 7.712 seconds over Gibson, who was in turn .454 seconds ahead of Alexander.
The third and final race of the weekend, over 12 laps, starts on Sunday morning at 10.43 NZDST.
The new Toyota Finance 86 Championship uses the TR 86, a racing version of Toyota’s acclaimed 86 sports coupe.
The championship is exclusively open to drivers using the TR 86 race car, which features an FIA-approved multi-point competition roll cage, adjustable competition suspension, racing brake rotors and calipers and 18-inch Speedline alloy wheels.
The cockpit has competition seats, racing harnesses and steering wheel, with data provided to the driver by a Motec colour screen digital dash.