Brock Gilchrist says his maiden win in the Best Bars Toyota 86 championship was a long time coming, with the youngster hoping the win marks the start of something big.
The 17-year-old claimed his first-ever win in the championship last weekend at Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park in Taupo.
In his third full season in the category, Gilchrist had been sniffing around the fringe of his first win for most of the season. He had scored five podiums over the year in the lead-up to the Taupo finale.
But grabbing his debut win in the penultimate race of the season has Gilchrist left feeling over the moon.
“To get that first win felt so damn good,” Gilchrist told Velocity News. “It has been a long time coming for me.
“This year has probably been the best season for me in the 86, just because we were up the front awesome every race.
“We have always had a lot of speed this year, but we were never quite at the very front. So, yeah, I was stoked to get the win.”
With no international drivers in the 86 field this season, a handful of experienced Kiwi drivers filled up parts of the grid.
Notable inclusions were multiple NZV8 champion Simon Evans and international TCR ace Rowan Shepherd.
Gilchrist says racing against such knowledgeable drivers played a pivotal role in his development across the season.
“It has been a tough year with experienced guys like Simon and Rowan racing in the championship.
“Trying to race up the front against those guys has been difficult. But getting to race against them has also been a massive learning step for me.
“Just by following them in some of the races, I have learnt how to make the car as wide as possible and hard for others to get past.
“My racecraft and passing have improved as well just because I have been able to watch and learn from everyone else.
“Definitely a fun season for sure.”
The Westlake Boys High student currently does not have a firm plan for the rest of the racing year. However, he says he would like to have another crack in the 86 if the opportunity arises.
He hopes that having lifted the burden of clinching the first win will mark the beginning of the next significant milestone in his career.
“I would like to think so,” Gilchrist said. “I just have to keep pushing.”