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Huge off-season effort likely to push Mallard into contention

Intense preparation on and off the track in the off-season could put the ever-improving Thomas Mallard in the frame for a title challenge in the 2023-2024 Toyota 86 Championship.

Mallard was one of the stars in the second half of the 2023 championship, gaining confidence and speed and ending the season as a solid top ten runner.

He’s been hard at work to maintain that rate of improvement and begin the new season in November as a title contender in his RaceLab run TR86.

“We have been doing a lot of testing in the off-season going to all the tracks that the championship will visit next season,” he explained.

“I have also been doing a lot of work fitness wise as that is one of the things that I struggled with most last season. We are also working with RaceLab full time this year after we saw significant improvement from when they started to run me last year.

“I have been and will continue to develop my driving technique with Callum Hedge too. He’s been a huge help.”

In a category as closely fought as the Toyota 86 Championship has always been, qualifying has often been the key factor in a title winning campaign and that’s not lost on Mallard, who admits it was an area he needed to improve on.

It’s all adding up to Thomas being one of the key drivers to watch when the season begins at the Taupo International Motorsport Park in November. Improvement in that area is one of his key objectives for the new season.

“One of the key things that I learned in last year’s championship was how important getting your qualifying lap in was,” he added.

“When I looked back on 2023 I saw that people like Brock Gilchrist were very consistent in qualifying and with a championship this hard if you don’t qualify well you don’t have the chance to get to the front as the competition is too good. Analysis of data too is critical and I’m very focussed on stepping up my ability in both areas.”

With Crème Insurance, 24Red and Dayle ITM behind him for the forthcoming season, Mallard could well be set for an impressive summer campaign.

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