It’s been confirmed that Mark Mallard will return to the Best Bars Toyota 86 Championship for the forthcoming season, his second attempt in the single-make series.
Mallard made his debut in the series during its 2019 endurance season before committing to the full championship for the following season.
With the aim to learn from the rising talent that will join him on the grid, Mallard is looking forward to the new season.
“I’m a bit old to focus on the big field,” Mallard said.
“I’ve found that the major thing is to take care of yourself and the rest will follow, but honestly I think it’s the fans that should be excited because from the entry list I’ve seen this will be the best touring car championship in New Zealand for a long time.
“Although I’ll be racing in the Masters class, I consider all of the drivers – even the young ones – to be hardened race veterans who have done considerable time in karts and on simulators.
“We’ll have the highest level of drivers ever and I just hope they can teach this old dog a new trick or two.”
Through the off-season Mallard raced in the Golden Homes North Island Endurance Series alongside Callum Hedge, winner of the 2019 Toyota 86 Championship, while also working on his fitness.
“Yeah there has been a lot of gym work which unfortunately in lockdown has been largely replaced with a more holistic approach consisting of a more fruit – and particularly grape-based diet,” Mallard said.
“I’m a bit like the dad of the grid so my goal is primarily to help the next generation of drivers who come through the series to have a good time and learn from the important lessons that such a competitive class gives.
“Sometimes that’s riding the highs with them and sometimes it is helping them up through the lows. And beat John Penny, that’s always a top goal.
“On a more serious note, my family has been involved with the NZ Motor Cup for many years through my grandfather Eric, my dad Neil and brother Paul so I always try to race at the GP round and try to make Pop proud because if he’s watching any motorsport up there it will be the New Zealand Grand Prix. So that will be a big, big weekend for me and my crew.”