WAU confirms Toyota 86 plans
Thursday 23rd March, 2023 - 6:00pm
Walkinshaw Andretti United has announced details of its expansion into Toyota 86 competition, with one of its own mechanics as the driver.
The Clayton-based operation will field Matt Hillyer in the one-make category as part of the establishment of the WAU Foundation Academy as “a pipeline for young talent, from mechanics and drivers to commercial staff and engineers.”
Hillyer fits the bill, given he is currently a first-year apprentice in subassembly for the operation.
However, he is also proving to be adept behind the wheel, winning the recently completed first round of the Australian Formula Ford Series, and last year’s Victorian Formula Ford Championship.
He will compete initially in the new Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia (TGRA) Scholarship Series, the Super2 of the category, with the plan being to progress to the top tier TGRA 86 Series.
“I am really excited to be joining Walkinshaw Andretti United in the Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia 86 Series,” said Hillyer.
“To be a part of their debut entrance in the series is pretty cool; I’m really looking forward to seeing what we can do together this year on track.
“To be working here for the last 18 months has been amazing to experience to understand how the team operates.
“We know each other well, so we can really get to work from the start and see what we can achieve in the Scholarship Series first up.”
WAU has this year returned to the Dunlop Super2 Series with a two-car attack.
One of those ZB Commodores was driven to a pole position by Ryan Wood on his debut in the series in Newcastle, where Team Principal Bruce Stewart teased the 86 programme during the telecast.
Stewart has said now, “The WAU Foundation Academy aims to aid the progression of young talent in motorsport in Australia, and that is everything from drivers to mechanics, engineers, and commercial staff.
“A pathway to bring these people to the elite level is essential to the future of our sport.
“Matt is a fantastic example of this. He’s not only an extremely talented driver who we see a bright future with on-track but has been a real asset to us working with the team, so we are all really excited to see him on-track this year.
“This also gives us the opportunity to give hands on race experience to a number of younger staff across all areas of a race team, which is invaluable going forward.”
Toyota will hold its series launch on April 13 at Sydney Motorsport Park before Round 1 of the Scholarship Series at the same circuit over the following three days.
WAU will aim to qualify for the 86 Series by finishing inside the top 20 in the Scholarship Series over the first three rounds.
Meanwhile, Chaz Mostert occupies top spot in the Repco Supercars Championship after officially being classified second in both races at the Thrifty Newcastle 500 in his Mobil 1 Optus Ford Mustang.
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