The first Toyota 86 Racing Series champion is crowned
Dec 5, 2016 By Toyota Australia.
The inaugural Toyota 86 Racing Series champion Will Brown.
Eighteen-year-old Queenslander Will Brown has been crowned inaugural Toyota 86 Racing Series Champion at an awards dinner following his dominant performances during the weekend’s final round at the Sydney 500.
Winning seven of the scheduled 15 races at five tracks in the one-make series’ first year, Brown took podiums at every round to finish the series with 1278 points, 126 points clear of his nearest rival.
Writing history and capturing the attention of motorsport teams around the world, the new champion receives $50,000 cash and a $20,000 “money can’t buy” international experience.
Brown will be flown to Germany to attend the legendary Nürburgring 24 Hour race with special access to all the teams and a tour of Toyota Motorsport GmbH (TMG). He will also drive an exclusive session in the Toyota Le Mans simulator.
“This is such a great category. Toyota has done a great job,” Brown said at the Toyota 86 Racing Series’ official presentation ceremony last night.
“It’s something Australian motorsport needed – a series that’s run at an affordable price with the Supercars category.”
A treble of wins at Mount Panorama was the Toowoomba-based teen’s high point in a year that also saw him take out first in the Australian Formula 4 Championship and second in the Australian Formula Ford Championship.
“Racing at Bathurst was the highlight of the year for me. Winning three out of three races at Bathurst was a dream come true,” said Brown.
Flying to the USA for testing in the F2000 open wheel series today, Brown hopes to step into the Supercars Dunlop Series or Porsche Carrera Cup in 2017.
With a total prize pool of $125,000 available to drivers, second place-getter in the 2016 Toyota 86 Racing Series Dave Sieders won $30,000 while third place-getter Cameron Hill received $15,000.
Toyota Australia’s executive director sales and marketing Tony Cramb congratulated all the drivers and said he expected the series to encourage even more car-racing enthusiasts.
“The Toyota 86 Racing Series is an affordable, grassroots motorsport category designed for anybody with the passion and the talent to compete in a national series,” Mr Cramb said.
He said the series would help top-tier drivers break through to the next level.
“They have been competing in front of Supercars team owners and scouts from other categories. Many drivers from this series will be stepping onwards and upwards.”
The Toyota 86 Racing Series was contested by 48 drivers during the debut season, 10 of whom were invited to both mentor and compete with the grid.
Competitors were joined by two-time Bathurst winner Steve Johnson, touring car legend Tony Longhurst, 2016 Formula Ford Champion Leanne Tander, Supercars Hall of Famer Glenn Seton, Supercars racers Cameron McConville, Dean Canto and Steve Owen, and most recently motorsport legacy Matt Brabham, sports car ace Alex Davison and reigning Bathurst champ Jonathan Webb.
Missing second in the championship by only 14 points, Canberra native Hill said the Toyota 86 Racing Series represented a genuine prospect for aspiring drivers.
“Toyota has provided the best opportunity for young drivers like myself, and enabled us to do it with Supercars and in front of our family and friends,” he said.
Bathurst local Dylan Gulson won the Kaizen Award. A Japanese word meaning “continuous improvement”, the Kaizen award is awarded to a driver who finishes outside the top three and is judged a ‘rising star’ based on results, consistency, hard-charging ability, clean passing and personal presentation.
Gulson wins an entry to a round of New Zealand’s Toyota Finance 86 Championship, including flights and accommodation, valued at $10,000.
Other winners announced included Daniel Rein Ooi for best car livery, Calum Jones for best use of social media, and Cameron Hill took out the publicity star award.
Australia’s best-selling sports car for the past three years, Toyota 86 race cars are based on the GT manual with key specifications controlled to ensure their suitability and reliability while keeping costs as low as possible.
The series is managed by prominent motorsport identity Neil Crompton’s AirTime Motorsport, which is the main contact for budding competitors and others keen to be involved in the series.
Development and testing of the race package – including suspension, brakes, extractors and exhaust, ECU, oil cooler, rims and tyres as well as mandatory safety gear – was conducted by four-time Australian rally champion Neal Bates and his team at Neal Bates Motorsport.
The Toyota 86 Racing Series has confirmed a five-event schedule for 2017, with the series again running as a key support category to the Virgin Australia
The provisional calendar is: Phillip Island SuperSprint (April 21–23), Townsville 400 (July 7–9), Sydney SuperSprint (August 18–20), Bathurst 1000 (October 5–8), Newcastle 500 (November, date TBC).
The Toyota 86 Racing Series
The Toyota 86 Racing Series is designed to provide an entry point and training ground for up-and-coming drivers, offering a confirmed prize pool of $125,000.
Open to all manual variants of Toyota's cult-classic sports car*, the series is part of the support program at selected rounds of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship.
In 2016 the Toyota 86 Racing Series has run over five events: May 20-22 (Winton SuperSprint), August 26-28 (Sydney Motorsport Park SuperSprint), September 16-18 (Sandown 500), October 6-9 (Bathurst 1000) and December 2-4 (Sydney 500).
For regular updates and more information go to toyota.com.au/86/racing-series.
* Must be Australian Design Rule (ADR) compliant, fitted with Neal Bates Motorsport mandatory race package, and equipped with Confederation of Australian Motorsport mandated safety equipment.