Race winner Pitt focussed on consistency in 2023
Toyota 86 race winner Dion Pitt is shrugging off the tag as one of the 2023 championship favourites and says it’s a big step from winning a race to winning a title.
The 25 year old transitioned to the class from success in domestic club racing last season. This week he confirmed he will be back on the grid again for 2023 with the new RaceLab Driver Academy team with backing from Ultra Interiors, Robert Cunningham Construction, Timberworld, Crème Insurance, Korok and Capri Construction.
His first season in the most competitive closed wheel motorsport series in New Zealand saw him step on the podium no fewer than four times and he came close to victory on several occasions.
Although a first win in the category eluded him in the 2022 Championship, he did take a win in one of the three races at the recent non-championship Supercars weekend and he was a pace setter throughout. It marked him out as one of the clear contenders for 2023.
Pitt, however, says the championship is simply too competitive for anyone to go into it expecting to win and he is no exception. “It’s nice that a few people are talking about me amongst those with a shot at the title but really all it shows is that I had a decent season last year,” he said.
“Winning at Pukekohe recently doesn’t make that much difference to me. It just means I have that weight of taking my first win off my shoulders. Every driver knows how important that is. It gives confidence to carry into the season and build on what I learnt from last year.
“My focus is simply to be fast and consistent and to be able to put together good results from each of the six weekends. If you look back at the championship in recent seasons, that’s by far the most important aspect for a title challenge. I am hoping for a slice of better luck this time around though, I had few mechanical issues and other unlucky situations that hurt my overall result in the championship. So I definitely hope Lady Luck is a bit more sympathetic this time around.
“I’ve also been lucky enough to have the opportunity to join the newly formed RaceLab Driver Academy. I have to thank Shane Helms for the opportunity and I am really looking forward to working with Neil Garner and the rest of the team on the engineering side.”
Pitt will begin his campaign with the rest of the Toyota 86 Championship field at the Highlands Motorsport Park in January, in two months time. The South Island leg of the championship includes the second round at Teretonga Raceway before it moves North for the remaining four rounds that will decide the championship. The series includes being the major support category on the card for the 67th New Zealand Grand Prix, which takes place at the Hampton Downs International Motorsport Park over the weekend of February 3-5.