Another new driver has been announced for the Best Bars Toyota 86 Championship, in the form of versatile talent Rowan Shepherd.
The Christchurch-based racer brings experience from a smorgasbord of different domestic championships, ranging from the North and South Island Endurance Series circuit, to a title in national Formula First competition, to the SsangYong Race Series, to overseas exploits in TCR-based formulae.
While it’s Shepherd’s series debut, he did compete in the single-make category’s spin-off endurance season with the Dayle ITM squad, alongside Christina Orr-West.
“I’m really looking forward to the sprint style of racing again. It feels like a very long time ago since I last competed in this style of racing since moving my focus to endurance events,” says Shephard.
“I’ve always wanted to compete in the 86 series so between Toyota and my sponsors we have managed to secure a full season that fits nicely with our budget. You really need to be able to squeeze all of the performance you can get out of these cars due to the field being so tight.
“Being a tenth off in qualifying in the endurance series put you in the middle of the grid so it’s a great challenge and I look forward to continue to try a lot of things to understand the setup changes of this car.
“Reliability and crossing finish lines have to be obvious ‘must do’s’ to try and secure the championship. There is plenty of talent in the class so as normal I will aim to be consistent and aggressive where I need to be and to try and find a little extra.”
Shepherd makes his debut in the series at this weekend’s 86 event at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park, which runs on the support card of the 66th New Zealand Grand Prix.
2021 Best Bars Toyota 86 Championship
Round One: 22- 24 January 2021 – Hampton Downs Motorsport Park
Round Two: 29 – 30 January 2021 – Hampton Downs Motorsport Park
Round Three: 12 – 14 February 2021 – Circuit Chris Amon Manfeild
Round Four: 5 – 7 March 2021 – Pukekohe Park Raceway
Round Five: 26 – 28 March 2021 – Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park, Taupo