Current Toyota 86 Champion Ryan Yardley has announced he will contest the Australian Toyota 86 Racing Series, which begins at the Phillip Island Racing Circuit in Victoria on April 21-23.
Yardley, 18, took his New Zealand title racing for the two-car CareVets team. His share of the championship’s $100,000 prize fund has helped make the Australian drive a reality.
He will race in Australia with Brian Hilton Motorsport, driving the car raced last year by Drew Ridge, who finished 13th in the series. Ridge was one of two Australians who also contested the opening round of the New Zealand championship in November 2016.
Part of Yardley’s prize – in addition to the share of the prize fund – was an opportunity to race overseas. Toyota 86 Championship Category Manager Geoff Short said securing a drive in the Australian championship was the logical pathway.
“This gives Ryan a chance to race on the same programme as key rounds of the Australian V8 Supercar Championship. The Aussie series puts racers in front of massive audiences and top teams at the V8 rounds and it is a great way to get noticed,” said Mr Short.
The 2016 Australian 86 series champion, Will Brown, has now progressed to a V8 drive.
Yardley’s opportunity has come about on short notice as he completes a move from Christchurch to Auckland to work with leading karting supplier Right Karts.
“So we are still finalising support and sponsorship for the whole series, but we’re committed. It’s a very exciting chance to race at some very high profile events,” Yardley said. He will commute over to races from his new base in Auckland.
Yardley says the Australian cars have a different specification and he will be going into the first round with little chance to adjust. The series runs a ‘DOT’ road-spec tyre where New Zealand’s cars run on Michelin slick tyres with a wet weather option; brakes and suspension also differ meaning the cars have less ‘mechanical’ grip in corners.
“I think the adjustment will be fine, I’m looking forward to seeing how the tyres work compared to our slicks and of course will have to work on how the cars behave in the wet because we don’t have a wet tyre option,” he said.
Yardley is staying race-fit with a return to his karting roots in the meantime and flies out to Australia for round one on Wednesday 19 April.
Ryan Yardley’s racing career
For further information please contact:
Steve Boyce, Toyota New Zealand Motorsport Manager,
Phone (06) 350 3455 or 0292 442 754 or email firstname.lastname@example.org