Toyota 86 title protagonist Jaden Ransley has admitted he is not planning to contest the season-finale at Hampton Downs in September with an eye on securing a TCR Australia drive once the strict border restrictions are lifted.
Ransley was sitting comfortably in third in the standings before the coronavirus pandemic saw the final two events from Hampton Downs and Pukekohe Park scrapped earlier in the year.
But with the pandemic beginning to abate, series promoters have confirmed a revised season-finale will be staged at the Waikato venue on September 4-6 and will play host to the final showdown between kiwi and Australian rivals Peter Vodanovich and Jaylyn Robotham.
However, after two seasons in the single-make series, the young Cantabrian admits he is ready for a promotion in his career and says TCR offers the most competitive, and affordable, package to do so.
“We aren’t planning on doing the last round of the 86 series,” Ransley told Velocity News. “We are trying to do TCR Australia instead.
“The thing that makes TCR so appealing would have to be how quickly the category is growing and the high calibre of drivers. And, only being in its second year it has gained some huge exposure and has given some drivers some great opportunities to test BTCC or even WTCC.
“There are not many series in Australia that have five ex-Supercar drivers in it as well so it’s a great category to try and better your skills.”
Unfortunately, with New Zealand requiring anyone returning from overseas to enter managed isolation for two weeks, Ransley admitted that should he land a drive in the series he would be forced to pack up and live across the ditch.
“The hard thing for us is actually getting over there to race. With the borders still not being fully open, I will have to go and live over there for the whole of the TCR season so we are working on that at the moment.”
Despite the problematised living arrangements, Ransley is set announce where his future intentions lie shortly.
For now, the 18-year-old is competing with reigning TCR Australia champion Will Brown at the HMO Customer Racing outfit for the inaugural virtual TCR sim-racing competition.
Snaring a podium in last week’s opening round around a virtual Albert Park, Ransley will head to Mount Panorama tomorrow night for a simulated race at the hallowed Bathurst circuit.
The TCR Australia championship is slated to kick start at Sydney Motorsport Park on August 15-16.