Cockerton to debut in Toyota 86 Series

| Photographer Credit: Bruce Jenkins

Fresh from a top ten finish in the 2016 Toyota Racing Series, Pukekohe’s Taylor Cockerton will make a one-off debut in the 2015/16 Toyota Finance 86 Championship over Easter. Now in its third season, the final weekend of the six-round series will be held at the Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park in Taupo. Over the summer racing season each round has continued to attract large and competitive fields.

“It’s my first time racing a tin-top and the big difference is in the grip,” commented Cockerton. “The TRS (single seater) cars are insanely quick, especially at Taupo, because they have massive aero.

“The TR 86 can be driven differently because its grip is mostly mechanical, so the racing will be even closer. You can certainly hit the kerbs harder in an 86 than a TRS car.”

The Pukekohe teenager has just completed a day’s testing at Taupo and quickly got up to pace in the #98 Northland Toyota car previously campaigned by Australian based Kiwi Jaxon Evans.

“For me the day was all about learning and adapting from single seater to tin-top. Andy Neale came up from Christchurch to engineer us for the day and his advice was really valuable, he made a real difference as I got used to the car and once we put some fresh tyres on we were definitely on the pace.”

After finishing ninth overall in the 2016 Toyota Racing Series Cockerton and his team have been keen to stay race fit as he builds towards competing in another TRS series next January.

“We were looking for a short term race involvement after TRS, a way to stay race-fit and the final round of the 86 championship was a perfect fit.

“We talked to Toyota Racing’s Barrie Thomlinson and Geoff Short sorted out the deal to run at the final. It all happened really quickly which was great. We’ve been able to test at Taupo going into race weekend so we know what we are doing.”

Current series leader Auckland driver Callum Quin is aiming to close the gap on leader Ash Blewett. Blewett dominated the first two rounds in late 2015, but Quin is currently second on points. The points gap is 156 with 75 points available for each race win. John Penny trails Callum Quin by a further seven points. There are three races at the final round, which takes place at Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park, Taupo, March 26-27.

With a record championship entry of 18 drivers and a further seven who have raced one or more rounds, the third year of the Championship looks set to be the most successful yet. Drivers can buy cars outright, race in an ‘arrive and drive’ package with a recognised team, or lease cars for part or all of the championship at attractive rates.

Benjamin Carrell is a freelance motorsport writer and currently edits He writes for a number of Kiwi drivers and motorsport clubs. That's when he's not working in his horticultural day-job or training for the next road or mtb cycle race!

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