Champion returns to defend Best Bars Toyota 86 title

Christchurch racer and current Best Bars Toyota 86 Champion Rowan Shepherd will defend his title next season.

Rowan will race a Toyota 86 entered by race promoter Speed Works Events and he will be aiming squarely at retaining his title and securing a Supercar test in Australia and another test in Toyota’s FT60 single seater.

Shepherd (29) – who took three wins and no fewer than 13 podiums on his way to the 2020-2021 title – came out on top in an epic battle for last season’s title, only securing it on the last lap of the last race when he took the chequered flag ahead of Simon Evans.

He had been in an intense three-way battle with Evans and Ryan Wood for much of the championship. With a minimum 22 cars lining up for this year’s title fight, he’s looking forward to more door to door action.

“The coming season is looking to be great with some attractive prizes and a very strong number of competitors,” said the champion. “It’s great to see NZ Motorsport building momentum again after a tough couple of years and am glad to not only be part of it but racing against some of our best up and coming drivers.

Shepherd says it’s a big bonus for him that he will also get to race on his home track following the confirmation that the championship will return to the South Island for two rounds.

“Last season was one of my most enjoyable championships so it’s an easy decision to come back and defend the title. It’s awesome to see the unique South Island tracks back on the Toyota 86 calendar and adds another element for many drivers that have not driven on these tracks. Once again I’m excited for the challenge and look forward to being back with the team soon.”

The 2021-2022 Best Bars Toyota 86 Championship begins at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park over the weekend of November 12-14 before a short trip to Pukekohe Park three weeks later over the weekend of December 3-5.

After the Christmas break the teams and drivers will head south to Cromwell for the Highlands weekend on January 14-16 and then move to Christchurch for the Ruapuna weekend on January 21-23. Three weekends later it’s back to Hampton Downs on February 11-13 for the New Zealand Grand Prix meeting before the season finale at the Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park, Taupo on March 25-27.

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