Fifteen cars will be on the grid for the first round of the 2021 Best Bars Toyota 86 Championship and it’s a field brimmed with both proven and up and coming talent.
The championship has for some time been one of the toughest to win in New Zealand motorsport and it’s no surprise that most of the winners have used it as a stepping stone to other categories in their careers. This season promises even more on the track due to a generous helping of winners added into the mix.
For proven talent look no further than Simon Evans. The multiple V8 and endurance champion was last year’s international FIA Jaguar I-Pace champ but with the pandemic curtailing practical international travel for many NZ racers, Evans has decided to keep his hand in this year with a campaign in the super competitive TR86 series.
Evans will be a fantastic benchmark for the young drivers and the more experienced racers to measure themselves against and if his pace in the mini enduro series held at the end of last year is anything to go by, he’ll be a race winner and championship contender as well.
Then there’s the vastly experienced Christina Orr-West in one of Dayle ITM Racing’s cars and John Penny back in the Penny Homes Toyota 86 he ran a few seasons back. Former V8 Ute race winner and BNT V8 racer Alexandra Whitley is another with plenty of miles under her belt too. She’ll be behind the wheel of the Tony Richards Toyota entry. All of these racers are likely to shine during the season and will be keen to make a mark at the Grand Prix meeting and get their seasons off to a winning start.
The list of young guns is also impressive. A standout name on that list is Rowan Shepherd who is one of the best saloon car racing prospects in New Zealand. But he’s not alone…Ryan Wood, Brock Gilchrist and Ronan Murphy will all be eyeing victory while the likes of Marco Giltrap and Tayler Bryant – who both impressed in the mini endurance series – will be looking to make the top step of the podium in the sprint series.
Add in the likes of Justin Allen who could upset the establishment and Todd Foster who should make a leap forward this season running again with International Motorsport and the scene is set for a great weekend and a great championship.
No Name Team
3 John Penny John Penny Homes
4 Simon Evans Giltrap Racing
6 Alexandra Whitley Tony Richards Toyota
8 Mark Mallard Creme Insurance
18 Brock Gilchrist CareVets
34 Rowan Shepherd Rowan Shepherd Racing
40 Ryan Wood Ryan Wood Motorsport
53 Brian Scott Giltrap Racing
55 Christina Orr-West Dayle ITM Racing
71 Tony Austin Genweld NZ Ltd
75 Tayler Bryant MTF Finance
84 Marco Giltrap Giltrap Racing
91 Ronan Murphy Dayle ITM Racing
99 Justin Allen Allen Racing Team
222 Todd Foster International Motorsport