Toyota will distribute $125,000 for the one-make Australian Toyota 86 Racing Series that will debut in 2016.
After New Zealand was the first to arrive with a dedicated series for the Toyota coupes last year, the Australian version is set to run at selected V8 Supercars events from next year.
The attractive prize kitty will see $50,000 cash given to the series champion along with a $20,000 ‘international VIP experience’.
The runner-up in the series will receive $30,000 with $15,000 going to third.
A driver who finishes outside the top three and who is deemed a rising star will be awarded with entry to a round of the New Zealand Toyota Finance 86 Championship.
While the calendar remains unconfirmed after organisers were left off the Clipsal 500 program, the series is expected to now start in May with other rounds at Sydney Motorsport Park (August), Sandown (September), Bathurst (October) and Sydney Olympic Park (November).
Toyota Australia executive director sales and marketing Tony Cramb said the series aims to provide a launching pad for rising talent.
“The Toyota 86 Racing Series is a great way for young amateur drivers to advance their careers, competing against and learning from professional drivers – all under the gaze of motorsport decision-makers and team owners,” Cramb said.
“Drivers will also perform in front of substantial race-day crowds and large TV and internet broadcast audiences, which should assist them in gaining sponsors.
“The Toyota 86 Racing Series is the most cost-effective road to competing in Australia’s premier motorsport weekend at Bathurst in October.
“The front-engine, rear-drive 86 is ideally suited to close racing due to its superb handling and expected maximum speeds down Conrod Straight of about 230km/h.”
Toyota says that $1,500 is the entry fee for a round which is designed to fit a larger range of budgets.
“If there’s another (Mark) Skaife or (Tony) Longhurst out there, we’ll find them,” Cramb said.
The grid at each round will accommodate a maximum of 32 cars, including up to five cars driven by professional drivers or other guests nominated by Toyota.
The nominated drivers will not be eligible for points or prize money.
Competition will generally include three 20-minute races – one on the Saturday and two on the Sunday with grids determined by two practice sessions and a qualifying stage.
Draft sporting and technical regulations for the series have been issued by the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport (CAMS).
They provide details of control specifications including engine ECU, tyres, exhaust, brakes, suspension, roll cage and aero kit.
Neal Bates Motorsport developed the control specifications with a focus on safety and reliability while keeping costs as low as possible.
Category management is by AirTime Autosport, run by leading motorsport commentator and former racer Neil Crompton.