Whakatane’s Christina Orr-West is hoping to make it third time lucky in the chase for one of New Zealand motorsport’s most closely contested series, the Toyota 86 Championship.
After two solid seasons in the Toyota 86 Championship where she grabbed the occasional eye-catching result, Christina is looking for a much more consistent season for her third championship campaign.
Dairy farmer Orr-West – who this season also qualifies for Master class points – was one of the front runners throughout the non-championship Supercars round recently.
She was a contender for the outright win in Sunday’s feature race as she chased down race leader Callum Hedge before making a tiny error under braking that left her out of time to catch and pass him. The fighting second place was her best performance in a Toyota 86 to date however, and she is hoping that form can make her a contender for the 2023 title.
“I was just as surprised as everyone with my pace at Pukekohe but I did feel stronger in every area and I understand the car way more than I ever have before,” explained the vastly experienced former Formula Ford, Indy Lights, Castrol TRS and GT racer.
“We’ll be back with Dayle ITM again and James Marshall will prepare the car and run it for me during the race weekends so that’s going to be a plus in helping me be competitive in every session and in every race, and that’s what it’s going to take to be a championship contender.
“After leaving Pukekohe I do believe I’m better prepared than ever to take some race wins and be a real pain for those eyeing up a championship challenge. I’ve never been more determined and I’m going to put everything I know to good effect this coming season and drive the car like I stole it.”
Christina and her team will head south for the first round of the 2023 championship, which takes place at Highlands Motorsport Park in Cromwell in January. Five more rounds, including supporting the 67th New Zealand Grand Prix, will take the 20 plus car field to the best of New Zealand’s circuits before the 2023 champion is crowned.
2023 Toyota 86 Championship Schedule:
|1||Highlands Motorsport Park||January 13 – 15|
|2||Teretonga Park Raceway||January 20 – 22|
|3||Hampton Downs International Motorsport Park||February 3 – 5|
|4||Taupo International Motorsport Park||March 17 – 19|
|5||Manfield Circuit Chris Amon||April 14 – 16|
|6||To be confirmed|
Main image: Bruce Jenkins