Toyota 86 Champs head to Hampton Downs for penultimate round – The show must go on

| Photographer Credit: Bruce Jenkins

The fifth and penultimate round of the 2023/24 Toyota 86 Championship heads to Hampton Downs this coming weekend and promises more of the intense racing of the first four rounds.

This weekend, however, will be different. The tight-knit and close community that is the championship will be racing with its thoughts not just on the competition but also on the missing space in the pitlane that belonged to Brooklyn Horan.

The motorsport community as a whole is still reeling from the tragedy on the Acadia Rally Sprint and that sense of loss will remain acute when Brooklyn’s team mates and rivals take to the national circuit for what promises to be three very closely fought races.

“It will be tough but we cannot think of a better tribute than to go out there racing and remembering that Brooklyn was a big part of this season,” said TOYOTA GAZOO Racing New Zealand Motorsport Manager Nicolas Caillol.

“There will be a championship tribute and we know lots of the drivers and teams will be active in remembering their friend and rival over the weekend too. We very much hope the weekend will serve as a racer’s tribute to a real racer.”

On track the battle at the front is as intense as it ever has been in the Toyota 86 Championship, with Hunter Robb and Tom Bewley locked in tight combat at the top of the points table with William Exton, Jackson Rooney and a number of others looking to break their stranglehold on the championship with a late charge to the title.

“It’s close enough that this weekend could be a pivotal one in the chase for the championship before it concludes in fitting style at the Supercars round at Taupo next month,” added Caillol.

New additions to the field this weekend include another rising young star out of Australia, 2023 EFS Australian Excels champion, Tyler Collins. A wild card for the weekend, Tyler has been working on putting the deal together to run a round in the NZ championship since a test last August. Also debuting this weekend will be Christchurch driver Caleb Byers, a rising star in the New Zealand Formula Ford scene.

Action begins on Friday with three official test sessions as the drivers limber up for qualifying on Saturday morning and racing Saturday afternoon, and Sunday morning and afternoon.

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