Every Kiwi racing driver’s dream will become reality for Jack Milligan when he races a Toyota 86 sports coupe at the Bathurst 1000 next month.
The 21 year old Christchurch driver has had a challenging few years battling his way through karts and RX7 racing to secure the second CareVets Scholarship car in last season’s Toyota 86 Championship. A win and a brace of podium finishes marked him as a stand-out talent and he finished his first season in the category as the 2016-2017 Rookie of the Year.
Fellow Kiwi racers Scott McLaughlin, Fabian Coulthard and reigning Supercar champion Shane van Gisbergen will likely be hogging the limelight for Kiwi fans, but Milligan hopes to turn a few heads himself with his first trip to the ‘Mountain’.
He will be the only New Zealander in the 36-plus car field of Toyota 86s, which is one of the main support classes for the V8 Supercars. He secured the trip to Bathurst to compete in that round of the Aussie 86 series as part of the New Zealand Toyota 86 Championship prize pool.
Milligan will have just two 20 minute practice sessions and one 20 minute qualifying session which will set the starting grid for the first of three six lap races over the weekend. The Australian cars are slightly different to the New Zealand specification.
“It’s a huge challenge, but I am used to those,” explained the 21 year old.
“I’ll also have to learn the circuit, but it’s a place we all dream about racing and I still pinch myself that I have this opportunity. I will focus on learning the track, settling into the car and making sure I get a little bit quicker every lap. Hopefully I will then be able to put together a decent qualifying lap and set myself up for some good race performances.
“I’m still a long way from the top, but racing at Bathurst gives me a clear view of the summit and where I want to be. It’s a golden opportunity and one I intend to take with both hands.”