Multiple motorsport champion Simon Evans is aiming to go one better in this season’s Toyota 86 Championship, after the 2020-21 runner up confirmed he’ll be on the grid once again.
Evans’ relatively late inclusion in last year’s championship line up could have been a challenge to the inexperienced, but the popular Auckland racer grasped the opportunity with both hands and steered the Wet and Forget car to several wins and consistent results. That, and his ability to turn an average qualifying run into a podium or strong race result meant he was in with a shout of the title going into the last few laps of the championship.
It ultimately went the way of champion Rowan Shepherd, but Evans enjoyed the fight and is looking forward not only to another title shot, but also a rematch with Shepherd.
“The racing last year was just brilliant and it looks like it is going to be even better this coming season with another bunch of talented young guys and girls added to the mix, a bigger field and the reigning champion as the benchmark for everyone,” said the former V8, endurance and international Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy Series champion.
“It really is looking like a tremendous field and I’m very happy to be part of it and grateful to my sponsors for their ongoing support. There are at least ten drivers I’ve put a circle around so far who should be fighting for wins on a regular basis, so it’s going to be close.”
Last season Evans also undertook a mentoring role for rookie Marco Giltrap and hopes that will continue.
‘Marco is on the mend from his Taupō crash earlier in the year and I am hoping we will see an announcement very soon about his 2022 racing plans. He made great progress last season and will be a bigger threat this time if he runs.”
The new-look livery on Evans car will be revealed before Christmas, and he will be supported throughout the coming season by existing sponsors SMEG, and Wet and Forget, Far North Roading, the Giltrap Group and Colin Waite Panelbeaters.
The team will be managed by Owen Evans with engineering support provided by Stephen Giles and Matt Houston, with support from Nathan Pilcher. In a new initiative the team will also provide an opportunity for young mechanics from the Giltrap Group to gain race car experience by working as part of the crew during race weekends.
The team will have to wait until the New Year to go racing, with the first round of the championship set for January at Highlands Motorsport Park in Cromwell, following the latest Covid 19 disruptions to the calendar.
After the Highlands opener, the championship moves 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. Pukekohe now shifts from its early December date to March 4-6 to become Round 4 before the category heads to the Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park, Taup on March 25-27. The season concludes at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park over the weekend of April 22-24.
Toyota 86 Championship 2021 – 2022
Round 1 – Highlands Motorsport Park – January 14-16
Round 2 – Mike Pero Motorsport Park, Ruapuna – January 21- 23
Round 3 – Hampton Downs Motorsport Park – February 11-13
Round 4 – Pukekohe Park Raceway – March 4-6
Round 5 – Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park, Taupō – March 25-27
Round 6 – Hampton Downs Motorsport Park – April 22-24