The Australian Manufacturers Championship will be part of a world first next year with Bendigo-based Pedders Racing enter a brand-new Toyota 86 sports car in the championship.
It will be the first national championship anywhere in the world that the naturally-aspirated 86 will be used for circuit racing competition.
Having competed successfully in their ageing Proton Satrias in Class E in the Manufacturers Championship, team principal and lead driver Grant Phillips will campaign the rear-drive coupe in Class D next year.
Phillips says he had been keen to race the 86 ever since it first broke cover as a concept car at the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show.
“Right from the start, I felt the 86 would be a brilliant car to steer with its free-revving boxer engine, compact design, light weight and low centre of gravity,” Phillips said.
“We expect to run at the front of our class and have a damn good crack at winning straight out of the box.
“We expect the car’s performance and overall balance to be more than competitive, supported by Toyota’s famed reliability and an excellent team that has demonstrated its expertise in championship racing.
“We are excited and proud to be the first team in the world to enter the 86 in a circuit-based national manufacturers’ championship series.”
While the car is being privately entered, Phillips is receiving some technical and parts support from Toyota.
The race car will be built over the summer with its first testing scheduled for February ahead of the series opening round later in the year.
The final round of the Australian Manufacturers Championship is being held at Sandown Raceway this weekend as part of the Shannons Nationals.