Six years of karting competition and two Formula Ford championships have paved the way for Christchurch student Ryan Yardley to step into a drive in New Zealand’s leading single make sports car championship.
Yardley, 17, will race as part of a new two-car team racing in the 2015-2016 Toyota Finance 86 Championship under the CareVets Scholarship banner.
With a record 16 cars taking the start, Yardley knows his speed and race craft will be crucial to getting good results, particularly on the fast and bumpy Pukekohe circuit where the championship will share track time with the V8 Supercar series and a host of other categories.
“I’ve had good testing time on Pukekohe in the CareVets TR 86 but that’s never like racing, it’s never going to be as intense. The cars are so evenly matched you can’t afford to make even the smallest mistake, it will cost you big time in track position. I will be aiming for some podium finishes from the first weekend,” he said.
The 16-car grid has three races this weekend at the Pukekohe V8 Supercars event: an eight lap race on Saturday, another on Sunday morning and a 12 lap final race in the afternoon.
Further rounds are at Hampton Downs on November 28 and 29 and then the category joins three rounds of the Toyota Racing Series international championship at Ruapuna: Christchurch on January 16 and 17; Teretonga, Invercargill, January 23 and 24; Manfeild near Palmerston North on February 13 and 14. The final round of the championship is at the Taupo circuit on March 26 and 27.
Now entering its third season, the Toyota Finance 86 Championship has propelled drivers into a range of other categories including 2013-2014 champion Tom Alexander, who steps up to the New Zealand V8 series this summer.
All six rounds of the championship are televised on TV3 and SKY Sport, a one hour programme airing a week after each round. On race weekends, live race timing is at www.toyotaracing.co.nz with updates including race schedules on the championship’s Facebook page and real-time race narratives on the Toyota Racing NZ Twitter feed.