** Canberra's Cameron Hill led every lap, took pole and both race wins
** Vernon leads the championship with a consistent performance
** 2016 Toyota 86 Racing Series alumni Brook, Klein, and Grice close out the top five
A tantalising championship battle is emerging at the head of affairs in the Toyota 86 Racing Series with Cameron Hill proving the best way to stay out of trouble is to stay out in front, with the young Canberran claiming a brace of race wins, pole, and the fastest lap of the weekend.
Race two was over before it started after a multi-car incident on turn two on the first lap blocked the track and prompted a red flag, and ultimately an end to the race.
From the incident, a number of cars sustained otherwise weekend-ending damage, if not for what is quickly becoming the hallmark of the series - camaraderie between the teams - with a number of crews lending tools, hands and parts to those impacted by the weekend's hard racing.
When the lights went out in race three, Hill, championship leader Vernon, Brook, and Grice began to extend a lead over the chasing pack, before a spectacular incident on lap four at the hairpin corner saw Callum Jones' car turnover on its roof, triggering a safety car.
Attention shifted immediately to the wellbeing of Jones, but the young-driver emerged unscathed, much to the relief of the thousands of onlookers at the Reid Park circuit.
When the safety car eventually pulled in with five laps remaining, Hill was back out in front with Jimmy Vernon hot on his tail. Unable to close the gap, Hill took his final win for the weekend, 1.185 seconds ahead of second-placed Vernon who retains his series lead. 2016 Toyota 86 Racing Series alumni Tim Brook, Jake Klein, and Ben Grice closed out the top five.
Weekend winner Cameron Hill commented, "We had a really great weekend, a clean sweep with pole and both race wins. It's been a credit to the team, making it all happen behind the scenes."
Race three second place getter and series leader Jimmy Vernon said "This weekend was pretty interesting. Cameron (Hill) was really fast, I was able to stay with him for some of the last lap and learnt a few things. I think second was the best we could have asked for this weekend, so I thought it was best to settle for second and make the most out of the points that way."
Invited Drivers Dean Canto and Alex Davison placed 8th and 14th respectively. "I made some spots on the start, then the safety car stopped any sorts of gains anyone had made. On the restart I had a bit of pressure behind me. I finished 8th today around a good bunch of smart drivers, who knew how to protect their line correctly", said Canto.
Impressed with the driving standard at the top of the field, Davison said "The cream rises to the top, especially in one make categories. Cameron Hill in particular seems to drive the car exceptionally well."
The next Toyota 86 Series Race will be held at Sydney Motorsport Park, August 18-20.
To follow the action throughout series, visit:
Facebook: Toyota Racing Australia
For download of race hightlights go to dropbox
THE TOYOTA 86 RACING SERIES
The Toyota 86 Racing Series is designed to provide an entry point and training ground for up-and-coming drivers, offering a confirmed prize pool of $125,000.
Open to variants of Toyota's cult-classic sports car, the series is part of the support program at selected rounds of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship.
In 2017 the Toyota 86 Racing Series will run over five events: Phillip Island 500 (April 21-23), Townsville 400 (July 7-9), Sydney SuperSprint (August 18-20), Bathurst 1000 (October 5-8) and Newcastle 500 (November 24-26).
For regular updates and more information go to https://toyota.com.au/86/racing-series
In 2017, Toyota marks the 60th anniversary of its first international motorsport entry (and the first by a Japanese car manufacturer), when it contested the 1957 Round Australia Trial. This is why many people consider Australia to be the birthplace of Toyota motorsport. Today, Toyota contests the FIA-sanctioned World Rally Championship (WRC), World Endurance Championship (WEC) which features the famed 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the gruelling Dakar Rally. Closer to home, the Toyota 86 Racing Series seeks to develop the talent of tomorrow as Australia's premier grassroots circuit-racing category.
For more information, please contact:
Manager Public Affairs
Tel: (02) 9710 3994
Mob: (0433) 385 996
Senior Lifestyle and Motorsport PR Coordinator
Tel: (02) 9710 3215
Mob: (0427) 821 429
Manager Public Relations
Tel: (02) 9710 3341
Mob: (0418) 447 064