Drivers show their form as 2023-2024 championship gets underway

Friday test Taupo

The 2023-2024 Toyota 86 Championship got underway in challenging damp conditions at Taupo International Motorsport Park today.

While there was plenty of set up work and brake bedding in going on, there were a few interesting pointers on form and some consistent names at the pointy end of the timesheets for the day’s three practice sessions.

William Exton (pictured above), Tom Bewley and Hunter Robb all shone in the changeable weather and were the pace setters in the second and third sessions. Tayler Bryant hit the ground running and was top of the timesheets in the first.

Exton was fastest in the second session, while Bewley – a race winner last season - topped the third session ahead of Exton and Robb. Australian Lockie Bloxsom also had a good day after going fastest in the Thursday test. Still getting used to the car, he improved steadily throughout Friday to round it out with a top five time in the last session.

It was a good day for the Master Class drivers in the championship this season too. Reigning class champ John Penny was a regular in the top ten and was joined in the leading pack by class rival Christina Orr-West, the latter backing up a strong performance in the previous day’s unofficial test at the circuit.

Also looking fast were Justin Allen and rookies Hayden Bakkerus, Jackson Rooney and Brooklyn Horan.

The serious action begins Saturday morning with the first qualifying session of the season followed by Race 1 on Saturday afternoon.