Renowned Kiwi racer Christina Orr-West and works Kawasaki motocross rider Seton Head have both confirmed their entries in next month’s Best Bars Toyota 86 season finale from Hampton Downs.
Both drivers took part in a recent 86 test session at the Waikato venue with levels of interest for next year’s 2020/21 season at an unprecedented high.
“With domestic motorsport and what it has to offer very much on the radar of a wide variety of drivers at various stages of their careers, it’s very heartening they are looking at the Best Bars Toyota 86 Championship, which offers the best platform for any race driver to come and test their skills against the best young talent coming through New Zealand motorsport,” said Category Manager Geoff Short.
“Toyota New Zealand has invested significantly to create the best touring car competition in New Zealand with outstanding TV and media coverage providing a professional environment for drivers to attract sponsors. As part of this Toyota New Zealand is giving away two new road cars as part of the prize fund for this season.”
As the associated costs of top-tier touring car and saloon car racing increases, New Zealand’s local domestic scene continues to offer an affordable, yet competitive, package of motorsport which has produced several of the country’s top talent.
Several drivers have already begun testing and development ahead on September’s final round, including provisional championship leader Peter Vodanovich who holds a slim two-point margin over Australian racer Jaylyn Robotham who has expressed his desire to travel to New Zealand and see out the season.
Class organisers have admitted they are targeting a field of 18 cars for the final event which will include a handful of series wildcards.
Joining the grid will be SsangYong front runner and GT ace Orr-West who was on hand at Hampton Downs earlier to help oversee the development of the 2020/21 car.
Sporting the Dayle ITM colours her racing career has become synonymous with, Orr-West says she will be using next month’s round as a precursor for the ambition of completing a full season in the 86 series next year.
“The times came down and we were all pretty happy with everything so it was great to be able to secure an entry for the final round with the view of competing in the whole championship next season,” said Orr-West.
“I have to thank Dayle ITM of course. They are long-time supporters of myself and motorsport and this is only happening because of their commitment during what is a very challenging time for everyone in motorsport, no matter where they are. It should be a lot of fun and I am looking forward to getting to the sharp end and mixing it with some of our top up and coming racers.”
Another surprise wildcard is Cambridge motocross rider Head who will trade dirt and two wheels for asphalt and four come his debut race.
“I’ve been riding dirt bikes since I was four years old and it has only really been in the last six months that I’ve become very interested in cars,” Head explained.
“My dad races Toyotas and I’ve wanted to race him for some time; this is a great way to do that and a great stepping stone to get into circuit racing. I am hoping it will go well at Hampton Downs and I’m definitely excited to be on the grid.”
Also present at the recent test was Toyota Racing Series veteran and Lamborghini Super Trofeo driver Brendon Leitch who could also still make a guest appearance in an 86 as the Invercargill-based racer looks to fill his racing calendar for the rest of the year.
The Toyota 86 season finale will headline the revised Speedworks final round slated for September 4-6 from Hampton Downs.
Main Image: Bruce Jenkins