Simon Evans is the latest high-profile name announced for this year’s Best Bars Toyota 86 Championship ahead of this weekend’s season opener.
Evans is a multiple national touring car champion, securing titles in 2015, 2016 and 2017. Last year also saw him clinch the Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy in a final-round showdown in Berlin.
Returning home amid the global pandemic, Evans sat alongside 16-year-old Marco Giltrap in the inaugural Toyota 86 endurance championship late last year.
The duo scored three podiums across the four races in a sublime effort from the two 86 rookies.
Evans and Giltrap will be teammates in the five-round Sprint Series, which has races across all of the North Island’s circuits.
“There’s no question it’s one of the most competitive championships available to drivers in New Zealand and there is a huge amount of young talent on display in the category, so it’s always going to be challenging for any driver, whatever level,” Evans said.
“It’s great to reconnect with our New Zealand Partners Wet & Forget, Smeg, Total Property Worx, Far North Roading and Giltrap Group for a tilt at another New Zealand title.”
A field of 16 drivers is expected to turn to out for the opening round at Hampton Downs this weekend. It will also be the first time the series runs on the longer International circuit.
“We live in strange times and I’m grateful to be going racing,” he added. “I’m fully aware of the quality of the drivers in the Toyota field and I look at that and regard it as a very worthwhile challenge to try and win the title.”
Round two will be staged on the shorter Hampton Downs national circuit in conjunction with the annual Toyota Fest.
Meetings at Manfeild, Pukekohe Park and Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park conclude the season.
This year also has a $100,000 prize pool on offer for its drivers.
The title winner receives the choice of a test in the current-spec FT60 Toyota Racing Series car and a $50,000 contribution towards a TRS campaign or $25,000. Second place will secure a $15,000 TGRNZ credit or $7,500 and third overall a $10,000 TGRNZ credit or $5,000.
Further driver announcements for this year’s 86 championship are set to be revealed over the coming days.