• Wed. Sep 28th, 2022

ProKart Aces Sample TR86 for the first time

ByRandall B. Phelps

Aug 26, 2022

Karting trio Rhys Tinney, Mitchell Sparrow and Tony Walker shone on their circuit debut earlier this week when they enjoyed a full day at the wheel of a Toyota 86 race car.

A big day this week for the best ProKart racers. Photo Andy Kruy

The award-winning tests followed their impressive performance in the 2022 ProKart series supported by TOYOTA GAZOO Racing New Zealand. Despite having limited – or in Mitchell’s case – zero previous experience in a manual car, all three were quickly up to speed.

Proving that there is a lot of talent rising through the ranks, all three recorded competitive times on the day and impressed Team TGRNZ with fastest laps that were well paced with the lead riders during of events organized on the short but delicate national circuit.

“It was a great opportunity,” said 12th grade student Sparrow. “It’s another stepping stone for me. It’s a big eye-opener. I’ve never driven a race car or been on a race track like this, to have the opportunity. I started timidly in learning the ropes and the feel of the car, but by the end of the session I felt very comfortable and was able to start aiming for some decent times.

Tinney was also delighted with the weather and the track experience, adding: “Having an engineer for the day was top notch and I had a great day. Thank you to everyone involved, it was just a great day in every way.”

All three said they learned a lot from the experience and thought it was a great way to transition from karting to circuit racing.

“Today was also my first day in a car on the track and I was blown away how awesome the car was to drive,” concluded Walker. “The brakes were great, the engineering was amazing and I learned a lot.

Sparrow and Tinney were the stars of the KZ2 category this year while Walker shone in the KZ4 category. Sparrow, in his first year in the class and in senior competition, won the title with a quick and consistent performance and is the youngest champion in the 22-year history of the ProKart series.

Toyota’s 2022-2023 TR86 racing program kicks off with a non-championship weekend at the ITM Auckland Supersprint event in Pukekohe, before starting its proper season at Highlands Motorsport Park in January, the first of a six championship rounds in 2023.

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