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Bakkerus spreads wings with season in Toyota 86 Championship

Formula Ford class winner Hayden Bakkerus is making the switch to the Toyota 86 Championship for the forthcoming season as he aims to open up motorsport career opportunities outside of single seaters.

The Auckland 18 year old won the North Island Formula Ford Class 1 Championship and the rookie of the year title in 2021. He’s also a former North Island karting champion and has always been fast in single seater racing machinery.

Last year he was invited to compete for a place in the elite Ferrari Driver Academy at the Sepang GP circuit.

Hayden has also tested and raced Toyota’s FT-50 extensively in Formula Open, but his move to the super-competitive Toyota 86 Championship has been carefully considered.

“I have been getting plenty of seat time in an FT-50,” he explained. “However I made the decision to transfer over to tin tops due to future career opportunities and to have a broader skill set outside of just single seaters.

“The Toyota 86 Championship is a professionally run series which offers the driver the ability to develop their brand and media skillset as well as their on track abilities.

“It will also be my first time working with a professional race team, this being priceless experience for my future career.

The final year Glendowie College student will continue to be supported by long-term backers Endless Metals, MI-IT and NZ Spouting Services for his campaign, which will be run by the experienced Mackenzie Motorsport squad.

He’s been hard at work in the gym getting ready for the first round later this month at the Taupo International Motorsport Park and spending lots of time with team engineers reviewing videos and data to sharpen his skills ahead of the first track action.

“I know how competitive it’s going to be but my focus will be constant improvement in each session at each round and hopefully if I succeed that’ll put me at the pointy end of the field as the season progresses.”

A record field of 25 cars will compete over the six rounds which make up the 2023-2024 Championship. It will include rounds in the North and South Island and being one of the main supports for the 68th New Zealand Grand Prix which will be held at the Highlands Motorsport Park for the first time in February.

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