The draw of home and the desire to test his competitiveness against the best up and coming talent in New Zealand were enough to convince Australian-based Kiwi Tony Austin to commit to the Toyota 86 Championship.
Kiwi-born Tony competed in Super GT in a turbocharged Mazda back in 2009 before heading over to the UK to head up web giant Ebay’s UK automotive sales marketing effort. Although not racing, he couldn’t keep away from the sport and was the man behind Ebay’s sponsorship of Kiwi Dick Bennett’s West Surrey Racing team in the British Touring Car Championship.
Eight years in Luxembourg followed, working for Amazon. He kept his driving skills sharp during his time in Europe with regular track day participation at events at two legendary circuits – Spa Francorchamps and the Nurburgring. He’s going to be aiming for consistency and improvement throughout the season.
He recently made a move to Sydney to head up Amazon’s Global Store operation in Australia and be a little closer to home. Close enough in fact, to be part of this year’s Toyota 86 Championship where he will be aiming for consistency and improvement throughout the season. And although one or two of the circuits have changed a bit since he last raced in New Zealand, he’s relishing the challenge in what will be a family run team.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun and it looks like it’s going to be extremely competitive, which is always what you want as a driver,” he explained. “I’m not too worried about the commuting and am excited about competing on circuits I have not raced on before like Hampton Downs and the revised Pukekohe layout. Consistency will be our first goal and getting into the top ten regularly. After that, we’ll see!”
Tony will be one of a field of 20 Toyota 86 racers beginning their championship on November 2-4 at Pukekohe Park for a six round season that will include a round at which Cromwell’s Highlands Motorsport Park for the first time since 2013.
The full schedule for the Toyota 86 Championship is as follows:
- November 2-4 – Pukekohe (with Supercars)
- December 7-9 – Pukekohe short track (no back straight chicane)
- January 11-13 – Highlands Motorsport Park, Cromwell (with Castrol Toyota Racing Series)
- January 18-20 – Teretonga Park, Invercargill (with Castrol Toyota Racing Series)
- February 8-10 – NZ Grand Prix at Manfeild, Manawatu (with Castrol Toyota Racing Series)
- March 9-10 – Hampton Downs Motorsport Park, North Waikato