ProKart aces sample TR86 for the first time

ProKart 2022 (940 x 450)

Karting trio Rhys Tinney, Mitchell Sparrow and Tony Walker shone on their circuit racing debuts earlier this week when they enjoyed a full day behind the wheel of a Toyota 86 racing car.

The prize tests followed their impressive performances in the 2022 TOYOTA GAZOO Racing New Zealand-supported ProKart series. Despite limited - or in Mitchell's case zero - previous experience in a manual car, all three were quickly up to speed.

Proving there’s plenty of talent coming up through the ranks, all three recorded competitive times during the day and impressed the TGRNZ team with best laps that were well on the pace of front runners at events held on the short, but tricky National circuit.

"It’s been an awesome opportunity,” explained Year 12 student Sparrow. “This is another stepping stone for me. It’s a big eye opener. I’ve never driven a race car or been on a race track like this, to have the opportunity has been amazing. I started tentatively as I learned the ropes and how the car felt but by the end of the session I felt very comfortable and was able to start targeting some decent times."

Tinney was also thrilled with the track time and experience, adding: "Having an engineer for the day was top notch and I've had an absolute blast of a day. Thanks to everyone involved it was just a great day all round."

All three said they had learned much from the experience and thought it was a great way to make the step up from karts to circuit racing.

“Today was also my first day in a car on track and I was blown away how awesome the car was to drive,” concluded Walker. “The brakes were great, the engineering was amazing and I learned a lot.”

Sparrow and Tinney were stars of the KZ2 class this year while Walker shone in the KZ4 class. Sparrow, in his first year in the class and in senior competition, took the title with a fast and consistent performance and is the youngest champion in the 22 year history of the ProKart series.

Toyota's 2022-2023 TR86 racing programme gets underway with a non-championship weekend at the ITM Auckland Supersprint vent at Pukekohe, before beginning its season proper at Highlands Motorsport Park in January, the first of a six round 2023 championship.