** Lachlan Gibbons wins Kaizen Award and an 86 race drive in Japan **
** Aaron Borg, Luke King, Tim Brook finish the 2019 season in top three places after 15 races **
** 2020 Toyota 86 Racing Series kicks off at Winton in June **
Twenty three-year-old Lachlan Gibbons has scored himself a drive in the Toyota 86 race at the Toyota GAZOO Racing Festival to be held at Fuji Speedway in Japan next month, after taking home the coveted Kaizen Award in the 2019 Toyota 86 Racing Series.
The Kaizen Award is presented to the driver who embodies the Toyota philosophy of continuous improvement, both on and off the track.
Gibbons said it was a great honour to receive the award and he was thrilled to be representing Toyota GAZOO Racing Australia in Japan.
“This really is fantastic and the whole team has put in an enormous effort this year to help me continue to improve my performances,” Gibbons said
“From starting the year at Phillip Island finishing in the mid-field, I have worked hard to improve my results both on and off the track. With a lot of help and guidance from the mentors in the series, I achieved top ten finishes for most of the races since Bathurst, where a third place in race one was my best result for the season,” he said.
Toyota Australia Vice President Sales and Marketing Sean Hanley said the Kaizen Award reflected the essence of Toyota GAZOO Racing as a brand that used the learnings of motorsport for continuous improvement to push the limits of performance.
“This award is not only about improved and consistent performance on the track, it’s awarded to the driver who demonstrates they have the social, communication and commercial skills to succeed in the demanding world of motorsport and in their wider life,” Hanley said.
“Lachlan Gibbons is very worthy winner of the award having shown considerable development as a race driver with an exemplary conduct off the track being gracious, respectful and humble.
“We wish him the best of luck for his race at Fuji next month and can’t think of a better ambassador to represent Toyota GAZOO Racing Australia at a festival that celebrates the rich and successful heritage and global success of Toyota’s ongoing performance in motorsport at all levels,” he said.
Gibbons received the Kaizen Award at a season wrap dinner at Newcastle, where Toyota also presented a number of other awards and cash prizes to the season finalists worth $150,000.
As 2019 Toyota 86 Racing Series champion, Aaron Borg took home $50,000 with Luke King receiving $30,000 for his series runner up and Tim Brook netting $15,000 for third place for the 15-race, five-round season.
The Best Presented Team award for professionalism went to Jaden Ransley, who immediately put his prize (Dunlop tyres to the value of $1000) up for auction and raised $2800 that he donated to the NSW Bushfire appeal.
For his extensive use of social and other media to promote the series, Luke King was also awarded the Publicity Star.
Best First Year Driver was won by rookie Peter Vodanovich while the Most Unbreakable Race performance went to Luke van Herwaarde (Vanna) who together with his team, had to rebuild his car overnight in Townsville after a massive crash in practice and went on to qualify the next morning in fourth place.
While the Toyota 86 Racing Series continues to mentor, teach and assist aspiring professional race drivers, it is also a showcase of affordable grassroots motorsport for those more mature drivers who simply race for the passion and comradery.
This year, the Masters Award for the greatest consistency throughout the season went to Dylan Thomas, who finished the season in fifth place.
A final The Toyota Way award was presented to George Gutierrez for embodying the principles of Toyota in its goal of continuous improvement and respect for people.
The 2020 Toyota 86 Racing Series will kick off next year as part of the Supercars Championship event at Winton in Victoria on 5-7 June.
There will again be five rounds with 15 races in total and $150,000 prize pool up for grabs.
THE TOYOTA 86 RACING SERIES
The Toyota 86 Racing Series is designed to provide an entry point and training ground for up-and-coming drivers, offering a prize pool of $150,000.
Top-three place rewards for the year are $50,000, $30,000 and $15,000. The coveted Kaizen Award for continuous improvement now includes prizes valued up to $35,000 including a fully funded trip to compete in an overseas round of the 86 racing series.
Open to variants of Toyota’s cult-classic sports car, the series is part of the support program at selected rounds of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship.
2020 Toyota 86 Racing Series Calendar
|June 5-7:||Winton, Victoria|
|June 26-28:||Townsville, Queensland|
|August 28-30:||Sydney Motorsport Park, NSW|
|October 8-11:||Bathurst, NSW|
|December 4-6:||Newcastle, NSW|