The first driver pairing for the upcoming Toyota 86 endurance series has been announced with Christina Orr-West joining forces with Rowan Shepherd.
Orr-West got her first taste of the 86 series during the final round of the 2019/20 season, scoring a hat-trick of top-ten results across the three races of the weekend. She will be making her first full season in the series in 2021.
Shepherd, meanwhile, has been driving alongside TCR endurance ace Lochlainn Fitzgerald-Symes in a Track Tec Racing Audi RS3 TCR LMS in the South Island Endurance Series.
Together, Orr-West and Shepherd will contest the two-round series in the Dayle ITM-backed 86. They both were teammates during a handful of SsangYong endurance races and were a racing winning combination.
Orr-West says she is hoping the form from her debut 86 weekend and her experience alongside Shepherd will make the two a formidable combo.
“Rowan and I went well together as a team and we were able to win, so I’m pretty happy to be teaming up with him for these two races at Hampton Downs and Pukekohe,” explained Orr-West.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun and we hope there’ll be plenty of competition for us to measure ourselves against.”
“The call from Deborah Day at Dayle ITM was definitely a nice surprise and I have always wanted an opportunity to race in the Toyota 86 class,” added Shepherd.
“It’s great to teaming up with Christina in another series and of course I’m excited to take on the challenge of learning a new car.”
The two-round series will include four one-hour races across Hampton Downs on October 30-31 and Pukekohe on December 4-6. The first round from the Waikato venue will be over a condensed two-day weekend with qualifying on Friday and both races on Saturday.
The two events will not form part of the 2021 sprint series but as a stand-alone championship designed to encourage current 86 drivers to team up with a new competitor from outside of the series to run a two-driver team.
Main Image: Bruce Jenkins