Northern Beaches racing team, CGR Performance has recruited an international driver for this weekend’s Australian Toyota 86 Racing Series opener at Phillip Island, New Zealander Jaden Ransley joining team owner-driver Dylan Thomas and production car racer Tom Muller in a three-car attack backed by Hi-Tec Oils, CXC Global and Royal Medical.
Ransley is no stranger to Toyota 86 racing, having scored a race win in the 2017-18 New Zealand series on his way to fifth in the standings.
“I’m extremely excited to be racing in the Australian series, and thanks to some fantastic support from some very generous supporters I have been able to arrange a drive in Round 1,” Ransley said.
“I tested at Phillip Island a couple of weeks ago, and worked really well with the CGR Performance team. Phillip Island is a real drivers’ track and I can’t wait to race there this weekend.”
Thomas was impressed with Ransley’s form in pre-season testing.
“Jaden’s performance at the test was very strong – Phillip Island is a circuit where you need to be committed through the high-speed corners, and he was recording competitive lap times straight away,” Thomas said.
“The Australian-spec 86s are a bit different to the New Zealand cars, and he had never been to Phillip Island before, so I was pleased with how quickly he came up to speed.”
Muller has raced in state-level categories over the last couple of years, punching above his weight in an elderly Mitsubishi Evo V in the NSW Production Touring Car Championship.
“Tom has demonstrated his talent behind the wheel, and definitely has the potential to go a long way in motorsport with the right opportunities,” Thomas said.
“It was a very late deal for him to drive our third car this weekend, so we’re keeping our expectations realistic, given he hasn’t tested the car and has no prior experience at Phillip Island.”
Thomas is aiming to be a title contender in 2018, after finishing third overall in his season debut last year.
“In 2017, our main goal was to learn as much as we could about the car, and I was actually surprised to be as high as third in the points at the end of the year,” Thomas said.
“Our main strength was consistency; even on weekends where we were down on speed, we managed to bank points which worked to our advantage.
“This year, I’d like to see us qualifying towards the pointy end on a more regular basis, having the speed to contend for race wins and hopefully being in a position to fight for the championship.”
The Toyota 86 Racing Series will again support the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, and will benefit from extensive coverage including live broadcasts of all races on FOX Sports.
Round 1 Schedule
Friday, 20 April
10:10 – Practice 1 (20 min)
13:20 – Practice 2 (20 min)
Saturday, 21 April
10:40 – Qualifying (15 min)
13:45 – Race 1 (8 laps)
Sunday, 22 April
9:30 – Race 2 (10 laps)
11:50 – Race 3 (8 laps)
Toyota 86 Series 2018 Calendar
Round 1. Phillip Island 400, 20-22 April
Round 2. Townsville 400, 6-8 July
Round 3. The Bend SuperSprint, 24-26 August
Round 4. Sandown 500, 14-16 September
Round 5. Bathurst 1000, 4-7 October
Round 6. Newcastle 500, 23-25 November