Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search


Best Bars Toyota 86 Champ Keen For More After Prize FT60 Test

Kiwi racer Rowan Shepherd has completed a full day of testing in Toyota’s FT60 TRS car at Hampton Downs, impressing TOYOTA GAZOO Racing New Zealand engineers with both his speed and his rate of improvement throughout a rainy and difficult day.

Best Bars Toyota 86 Champion Rowan Shepherd in his prize FT60 drive. Picture Andy Kruy.

The official test in the current generation Castrol Toyota Racing Series car was part of Shepherd’s prize as the 2021 Best Bars Toyota 86 Championship winner and despite wet track conditions and unpredictable weather, he enjoyed the opportunity and the test immensely.

“It’s been a long time coming,” said Shepherd afterwards. “I’ve wanted to test a junior formulae car like this for a long time and it was great to get out there and have a full day with it, even in the wet. It took a while to get used to the lack of ABS after four or more seasons driving cars with that, but it came bit by bit and I was able to make some great strides with Chris van der Drift giving me plenty of good advice and input.

“It’s only really made me want more now. I am really keen to see what I can do with it in the dry and also to drive the car at a speed when it is generating all of its downforce, which you don’t get when it’s wet of course. Overall though a great day and I loved it.”

The full day test saw the 29 year old Kiwi complete around 80 laps of the National circuit at the North Waikato facility under the guidance of the TGRNZ test team led by Castrol TRS category manager Nico Caillol. Despite difficult conditions for what was his first junior formula wings and slicks test, Caillol was impressed.

‘There’s always a bit of adjustment to make to get used to the way the car brakes and feels compared to a saloon car, especially in the wet,” he said “But Rowan gained confidence after each of the sessions and improved throughout the day. He’s obviously very talented and it would be great to see him compete in the full series on circuits he knows extremely well.”

With testing dates every month for the next five months at the North Waikato track, there is a great opportunity for more Kiwis to test the car as well as Australian drivers.

The next test is later this week at Hampton Downs with additional dates also available in July, August, September and October. Whilst all are scheduled for the popular North Waikato circuit, it is also possible TGRNZ will test at other circuits in New Zealand during the same period once its 2022 championship calendar is confirmed.

The FT60 testing opportunities represent incredible value for money in terms of track time and engineering support from TOYOTA GAZOO Racing NZ. Half and full day options are available and in both cases drivers get practice runs with full engineering and data analysis support, driver coaching and a fresh tyre run at the end of their session.

The programme will also feature testing opportunities for the Best Bars Toyota 86 Championship.

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing New Zealand FT60 test day schedule – Hampton Downs

17 June 
21/22 July
19/23 August
15/17 September
12/13 October


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis: Emerald Fennell's Promising Young Woman'

The Guardian needed not one, but three reviews to do justice to Fennell's unsettling approach, which indicates exactly how ambiguous and controversial its message really is. More>>

Howard Davis: Jill Trevelyan's Rita Angus

Although Angus has become one of Aotearoa’s best-loved painters, the story of her life remained little known and poorly understood before Jill Trevelyan's acclaimed and revelatory biography, which won the Non Fiction Award at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards in 2009, and has now been republished by Te Papa press. More>>

Howard Davis: The Back of the Painting

Painting conservators are the forensic pathologists of the art world. While they cannot bring their subjects back to life, they do provide fascinating insights into the precise circumstances of a painting's creation, its material authenticity, and constructive methodology. More>>

Howard Davis: Black Panthers on the Prowl

A passionate and gripping political drama from Shaka King, this is an informative and instructive tale of human frailty that centers around the charismatic Chicago Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, who was murdered at the age of twenty-one during a police raid. More>>

Howard Davis: Controlling the High Ground

Stephen Johnson's raw and angry film not only poses important questions with scrupulous authenticity, but also provides a timely reminder of the genocidal consequences of casual bigotry and xenophobia. More>>

Howard Davis: Dryzabone - Robert Conolly's The Dry

After the terrible devastation caused by last year’s bushfires, which prompted hundreds of Australians to shelter in the ocean to escape incineration and destroyed uncountable amounts of wildlife, The Dry has been released during a totally different kind of dry spell. More>>

Howard Davis: Hit the Road, Jack - Chloé Zhao's Nomadland

Nomadland is perhaps the ultimately 'road' movie as it follows a group of dispossessed and disenfranchised vagabonds who find a form of communal refuge in camp sites and trailer parks after the economic contraction of 2008. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland