In just his first season competing in the Toyota Racing Series, Pukekohe’s Taylor Cockerton has finished a credible ninth overall and third rookie home after the completion of the final round at Manfeild Park, Feilding. Finishing in the points for all fifteen races, Cockerton continuously improved throughout the series culminating in a solid sixth place in the New Zealand Grand Prix.
“I’m really happy, really stoked with the way the season has gone,” commented Cockerton. It’s been a dream season finishing every race and achieving sixth place in the Grand Prix.
“It’s been way above our expectations from the start of the season.”
UK’s Lando Norris convincingly won the series with six race victories including the prestigious NZ Grand Prix.. Second was fellow countryman Jehan Daruvala with Southland’s Brendon Leitch third and first Kiwi home.
Having won the NZ Formula Ford title last season, Cockerton made the step up to the faster TRS category with ETEC Motorsport for 2016.
“It’s been a series where I’ve learnt heaps. How to drive these Toyota’s, how to maximise your tyres and how to race hard and fast against these top European drivers.
“It’s been a big step up but now we have the confidence to come back in 2017 and compete for wins and the overall title.”
With five consecutive race weekends making up the series, all drivers faced a full on program of testing and practice followed by qualifying and three races for each round. Right from the start Cockerton showed consistency in finishing races and increasingly got faster as the series evolved. This resulted in a total of ten ‘top ten’ finishes.
“Sixth in the NZGP would have to be a highlight. We didn’t get the best of qualifying so started ninth. In the end this was irrelevant as it was such a long race (35 laps).
“I was more aggressive at the start and restarts and was able to pick off drivers in front of me. Once you can do this it is easier to maintain your position and drive your own race.”
Now it’s back to work for Cockerton as his team turn their attention on to the year ahead and more opportunities as they work towards the the 2017 Toyota Racing Series next January.