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Late deal secures Toyota 86 seat for Vodanovich


Race and round winner last season, Peter Vodanovich returns this coming season to the Best Bars Toyota 86 Championship. Picture Bruce Jenkins

Peter Vodanovich will aim to build on some strong results last season as he aims to win the forthcoming 2019-2020 Best Bars Toyota 86 Championship.

He is the latest young talent to confirm for the championship, with more big names expected to confirm their entries in the next few days.

With last year being his first full year in the category, the 18 year old Aucklander finished fourth overall in the championship. An impressive campaign included pole position at Pukekohe, a race win and the round win at Highlands plus multiple other podiums throughout the season.

Now, with time at the iconic Norwell Motorplex under his belt and a late deal confirmed for him to run in the New Zealand 86 category again, he's ready to step up and mount a serious title challenge.

"My training at Norwell has been critical in my development as a driver. Being a part of the Paul Morris Academy means that I have not only been working with great drivers like Shane van Gisbergen, Anton De Pasquale and Paul Morris but I have also been teaching others how to get the most out of the car. This forces me to think at a technical level about every input and what effect that has on the car.

"Ultimately, I think I am continuously becoming a better driver because of it and I am really looking forward to putting that into practice in a type of car I know and on circuits I know. It's going to be a very interesting year. I have a lot of respect for the talent I am up against and they share the same goal, but ultimately I'm like any competitive race driver. I want to win.""

It's been a very busy period for Peter. As well as the Norwell experience, and competing in the Australian Toyota 86 Championship, he has been working hard at home on his academic qualifications too.

"I have just finished my first year of Engineering at the University of Auckland so racing preparation is in full swing. Outside of the car I have been preparing myself physically with the help of Sean Dowling at Champs Fitness. My martial arts background in Hsou Jing Do definitely helps with the mental side helping me to stay focused and calm under pressure. On top of this I also like to do a lot of visualisation before the race which is something I developed with the Elite Motorsport Academy.

"It's been a late deal to put the campaign together too," he added. "And I must really thank my dad Steve and Todd and Hayden from our team, as well as Nexen Tyre, DTM, CMC Markets, MacClures ITM, Connex Wire Limited, Creme Insurance, Loanwise, Champs Fitness, Racer Products, Sean Dowling and Castrol. It's genuinely one of those moments where I can say that if they hadn't all helped, I doubt we'd be in the field."

The Best Bars Toyota 86 Championship begins in Pukekohe before heading to the South Island for rounds at Highlands Motorsport Park and Invercargill’s Teretonga Park. It then moves to the North Island for the New Zealand Grand Prix meeting at Manfeild - Circuit Chris Amon and then onto Hampton Downs before concluding with a non-championship race weekend at the Virgin Australia Supercars event at Pukekohe Park in April.

2019-2020 Best Bars Toyota 86 Championship

Round 1: Pukekohe Park - 29 November - 1 December 2019
Round 2: Highlands Motorsport Park - 17-19 January 2020
Round 3: Teretonga Park - 24-26 January 2020
Round 4: Manfeild - Circuit Chris Amon - 14-16 February 2020
Round 5: Hampton Downs Motorsport Park - 27-29 March 2020
Round 6: V8 Supercars - Pukekohe Park - 24-26 April 2020 (non-championship)


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