Evergreen Penny targeting championship challenge
Ultra-experienced racer John Penny is set for another season in the Best Bars Toyota 86 Championship and the veteran says he's never been in better form as the clock ticks down to the championship's biggest ever season.
Penny is a long-time campaigner in his familiar Penny Homes Toyota 86 and was the Master Class winner in last season's championship, as well as catching the eye with some great performances which showed he has the speed and racecraft to match the top contenders. He will be part of a four car team run by Action Motorsport for the 2021-2022 season.
John is arguably one of the most experienced racing drivers competing in New Zealand today, having raced for almost two decades in New Zealand and Australia in major championships. He is a former winner in the Toyota 86 category too, including a victory in the 2015-2016 season which combined with a further nine podium finishes gave him an impressive third overall.
The Taupo racer is a veteran of multiple New Zealand V8 and V8 Ute racing seasons over the years, as well as the Australian Toyota 86 championship and Porsche Carrera Cup Australia. A career highlight was racing alongside Craig Baird at Eastern Creek in a Porsche endurance event at the time when Baird was arguably one of the finest Porsche 911 drivers in the world.
It's not all about the power and the lap times though and as a pure racer 'JP' is relishing the opportunity to shine again in the most hotly-contested saloon car championship in New Zealand.
"Yes, I'm definitely looking forward to how competitive it's going to be this season," said the 54 year old. "I love that side of it and using the experience I have from all those years of racing to test myself against these youngsters. We've got a lot of talent in New Zealand and it's great to be in amongst those current and future champions right now. A big grid of more than 22 cars is just going to be awesome.
'I just love my racing and that's why I keep coming back. For parity and affordability there's no series to match this currently in my opinion and the racing is always top notch. Every time I do a race I get out afterwards - wherever I’ve finished - and I have a big smile on my face. That's what racing is all about for me.
"I know all the tracks and hope to be on the pace in every single session and to fight for the title. That's the goal for sure. We really found the sweet spot with the car towards the end of last season, including getting fastest lap at Taupo. I'm really confident we can go out there and race with anyone."
John will join the biggest ever field in the history of the New Zealand championship when at least 22 cars hit the track at Hampton Downs over the weekend of November 12-14. As well as its biggest ever field there's also a massive prize package that will include a V8 Supercar test with Tripe Eight Race Engineering and the biggest cash prize pool ever offered to a domestic New Zealand motorsport championship.