2023 TGRA 86 Series Season Opener Lines up on the Grid at Townsville
July 3, 2023
The TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Australia (TGRA) 86 Series is set to kick off this weekend (7-9 July) as 34 Toyota 86s line up on the grid as a support category for the NTI Townsville 500 Supercars Championship event.
The final grid for the main 2023 TGRA 86 Series will see previous competitors and new young hopefuls battling it out through 15 races over five rounds, culminating in a thrilling final round at the iconic Mount Panorama circuit at Bathurst in October.
Following three rounds of the TGRA Scholarship Series, that doubled as pre-qualifying events for the main TGRA 86 Series, 21 drivers – including 12 who will be making their debut in the TGRA 86 Series – were offered a place to compete in Townsville and for the remainder of the 2023 season.
These drivers join 11 previous Toyota 86 drivers that had received an automatic entry offer after finishing in the top 20 in the 2022 TGRA 86 Series.
Toyota Australia Chief Marketing Officer Vin Naidoo congratulated those new and returning drivers that made it through the tough pre-qualifying Scholarship Series that saw plenty of thrilling wheel-to-wheel racing action at Sydney Motorsport Park and Phillip Island in Victoria.
“As the TGRA 86 Series kicks off its eighth season, we’re excited to see the racing action this weekend at Townsville with plenty of young new drivers set to challenge the old guard for the chequered flag,” Mr Naidoo said.
“It’s really great to see the enormous demand to get a drive in this series as our goal has always been to provide an affordable grassroots series for those that just love to race, along with a great learning environment for aspiring professionals to gain experience and hone their racecraft.
“On behalf of Toyota, I’d like to wish all teams and drivers the best of luck for the 2023 season and look forward to plenty of thrilling action on the track for drivers and fans alike,” he said.
Those drivers returning for another season and hoping to take out the $50,000 prize money at the end of the 2023 TGRA 86 Series season include 2022 season award winners Jarrod Hughes (Kaizen Award) and Campbell Logan (Best First Year Driver).
Also back for a second season will be third generation driver Clay Richards – grandson of Jim and son of Steve – who won the Toyota Way Values award for the 2022 TGRA 86 Series.
Among the newcomers hoping to top the podium are 15-year-old Gold Coast karting star and one of the finalists in the 2022 FIA Girls on Track Rising Stars program Alice Buckley, and 20-year-old grandson of the late five-time Australian Touring Car Champion Ian “Pete” Geoghegan, Max Geoghegan.
Also on the grid will be 17-year-old Oscar Targett and 18-year-old Matthew Hillyer, who will be racing under the banner of Supercars teams Grove Racing and Walkinshaw Andretti United respectively, as part of their junior development programs.
Over the past seven years, the TGRA 86 Series has become one of Australia’s premier Supercars support categories and a recognised pathway into the premier competition with former Toyota 86 drivers racing in Supercars this year including Broc Feeney, Will Brown, Cameron Hill and Declan Fraser.
Following the season opener in Townsville, the TGRA 86 Series heads to Sydney Motorsport Park as part of the Beaurepaires Sydney SuperNight, the OTR SuperSprint at The Bend, and the Penrite Oil Sandown 500 Supercars events before culminating in a thrilling season closer at Bathurst.
For those drivers and teams that didn’t make it into the main game, the TGRA Scholarship Series continues with a round at Queensland Raceway in August as part of the Motorsport Australia Trophy Series and then the final round at the 2023 Master Blast at Sydney Motorsport Park.
After the final round in September, five drivers from the Scholarship Series will be selected for an “evaluation day” where they will battle it out to win a fully funded drive in the TGRA 86 Series event at Bathurst.
2023 TGRA 86 SERIES CALENDAR
|7-9 July||NTI Townsville 500||Townsville, QLD|
|28-30 July||Beaurepaires Sydney SuperNight||Sydney Motorsport Park|
|18-20 August||OTR SuperSprint||Tailem Bend, SA|
|15-17 September||Penrite Oil Sandown 500||Sandown, VIC|
|5-8 October||Repco Bathurst 1000||Bathurst, NSW|