Hawke’s Bay racer Harry Townshend is the latest addition to the 2023 Toyota 86 Championship after debuting in the category at the non-championship Supercars round last September.
Despite the Pukekohe outing, the 19 year old Design and Marketing student will compete as a rookie but will be one to watch after showing at that event that he has the ability to quickly adapt and learn.
Townshend joins Winger Motorsport to partner Tim Leach. He’ll also continue to race in karts in order to gain further seat time during an important phase of his motorsport career.
The youngster has plenty of experience behind him in karting with almost six years of competition in both Rotax and DVS classes. He’s also ran in Superkart which races on the same circuits as the Toyota 86 Championship.
He says this experience will benefit his 2023 campaign.
“The team on the TR86 is really good and we’re at the point where we are refining my driving and how we can make the car work better,” he says.
“I’m enjoying it so much. It’s a bit like karting in that we are working as a team and going through the process of analysing data and footage which of course doesn’t lie. I’ve have to get my head around it all with the car rather than the kart of course as there are plenty of new things to learn but we are definitely getting there and it’s working well.”
He also says the experience he gained back at Pukekohe will help as he continues to develop behind the wheel.
“My nerves were a bit on edge at Pukekohe of course as it was a massive stage and I was disappointed with how I qualified, but I made a step up every race. For 2023 I would love to be battling near the front of the midfield.
“We’ve got a little way to go to be targeting the absolute front but that’s obviously where we would like to get to. I am aiming to learn a lot from my competition and it’s a great place for rookies, I can’t wait for Highlands.”
He’ll first be in action in Round 1 at Highlands Motorsport Park in Cromwell over the weekend of January 13-15.
Image: Harry Townshend will be one to watch in 2023. Picture Bruce Jenkin