Toyota 86 Racing Series Tailem hut

The Toyota 86 Racing Series hits Tailem Bend for round 3

Chances are you have no idea what you’re doing behind the wheel of a car.

That is, when compared to the likes of some of the youngest and most talented rev heads the country has to offer, all of whom gather at the annual – and national – Toyota 86 Racing Series that tours the country.

In what is a six-round-strong drive-off around the country on some of the nation’s most prestigious tracks, Toyota throws its weight behind the young and budding drivers, putting them on the fast track to awesomeness behind the wheel of the classic, but revamped, Toyota 86 car.

With the latest round three taking place in Tailem Bend, Adelaide, the three-race showdown puts the drivers to the test, especially on a track that looks like a ‘B’ with a helluva lot more twists ‘n’ turns.

Toyota 86 Racing Series Tailem winners 2

Throw-in the added pressure of the mentorship of the likes of racing big guns, Jason Bargwanna, and driving alongside the likes of supercar champs Jamie Whincup and Andre Heimgartner, it’s no easy task.

For the young drivers, though, it’s something that most dreams are made of, something that most families fully get behind and something that, especially when you’re die-hard enough to compete, either makes or breaks your career in or passion for driving fast cars around a track.

The guy who runs the track, Sam Shahin, said “The circuit configuration for the 86s will be 4.95km with 18 challenging turns – a fast and flowing layout.

Toyota 86 Racing Series Tailem car

“It will be a rewarding technical circuit, with terrific overtaking opportunities – whether at hairpin corners or the end of the 15 metre-wide main straight.”

It’s not the sort of thing you’d just want to jump into, but as Jason Bargwanna, coach and mentor of the T86rs said, they all come from a place of great passion, do it for the fun and the love of it and have a great time doing it.

Spread over two days about an hour out of Adelaide, Tailem Bend played host to the diverse grid of racers. They’re a huge range of drivers, from high-school students to racing veterans and established motorsport teams using the series as a development program; but one thing unites them: the love of racing cars.

Toyota 86 Racing Series Tailem car 2

It’s an all-in affair, commanding a lot of time from the young drivers. And, in a time of the year so close to Father’s Day, you can guess how a lot of them spent their bonding time with Dad.

Toyota rally driver Harry Bates, for example, roped his old man Neal Bates – a rally driving champ – into a dar car-side, tinkering under the bonnet and working on his ride.

“On Father’s Day we have a test planned in my rally car, so Dad’ll be my ‘chief mechanic’,” he laughed.

But such is the dedication of these young drivers. Most of them haven’t even moved out of home yet and here they are, hurtling down a strait at well over one hundred kilometres an hour. It instils you with a lot of awe, a lot of fear for them and a lot of admiration when you consider this is – or very quickly will be – their life.

Harry says they’ve even quickly found themselves in a bit of an ‘all work, no play’ bubble, with driving taking precedence, but he always makes time to catch-up with the folks and his brother, Lewis Bates.

The Toyota 86 Racing Series kicks on after Tailem Bend to Sandown 500, September 14-16; Bathurst 1000, October 4-7 and Newcastle 500, November 23-25. See more at the T86RS website.

Toyota 86 Racing Series Tailem winners

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