Well its not as easy as that! Our driver feature story this week is about an UK racing driver who has travelled to Australia to compete in the Toyota 86 series, his reason for and just how he has “made it down under” to one of the most competitive one make series in the world.
This weekend Cam Walton (yes there is a UK flag on his car) will be just one of 39 Toyota 86 racers on the grid via for points in a series that pays cash if you win!
Tell us about your racing in the UK?
I only started racing arrive and drive karts when I was 19, and cars when I built my own at 22, so I don’t have the quotable success of a lot of others. Still, I’ve been on the podium in the UK Toyota MR2 Championship at every entry for the past 3 years, with podiums also in the Roadsports Endurance Series and a class win (4th overall) at the 2017 Birkett 6hr Relay at Silverstone GP in a Toyota GT86.
Karting for Brunel University London in the incredibly competitive 2-stroke British Universties Karting Championship, I won 5 of my 10 races in 2016 to help take the uni to a best ever 4th out of 60 teams.
Why have you chosen to race in Australia?
Aside from the weather? Honestly I love the motorsport culture over here with the V8s, street circuits and huge following. It’s unique, exciting and a different challenge from what’s available in the UK. Specifically, I believe the Toyota 86RS is one of the best feeder series in the world at the moment when you consider how competitive it is and the reputation it has. The best drivers from the past 2 years have proven if you can make it in the T86RS, you can make it anywhere.
What are your aspirations for 2018?
I say I’m here to have fun and enjoy the weather… but we’re working hard to come away with more. This weekend marks the start of the season but for us it’s also the culmination of 6 months of hard work – I had to uproot my life from England (and sell my race cars) before even starting to test and develop our car over here after all.
All things considered we’ll be happy to be around the top 10 this weekend and work up from there during the rest of the year.
Who is sponsoring you this year and do you need more?
Currently nobody! Haha
So far it’s all savings, revenue from selling up in the UK and profits from trading on cryptocurrency. We’ve been so flat out just to get to the first race we haven’t have time to do anything on the sponsor side so we have still have a plain car with plenty of sponsor space which we need to start making the most of soon. Either way, going forward it’s important to me to use the medium of motorsport to promote a charity and encourage whoever our sponsors are to do the same. That will be top of my list to work on after Round 1.
Have you done any laps here at Phillip Island, and if so how was it?
I actually drove at Phillip Island before last year in a very under-the-radar appearance in T86RS. It was so last minute I barely knew where the track went and I’d never driven a Toyota 86 before… and the results showed it. Since then I’ve done 1 test day.
It’s probably most like a European circuit of all the tracks in Australia, but it’s still quite different. The camber on the corners makes it even higher speed and the range of corners makes it a real challenge to get the most out of both from car and driver. With so little running our aim is to keep improving throughout the weekend and hope that puts us somewhere near the pointy end.
And in closing?
I should give a well-deserving mention to all the legends I’ve met here who’ve helped me settle in and get to this point with the 86RS. From Luke buying a road 86 for me while I was in England and taking it to Neal Bates with Gerry, to Terry letting us use his workshop and the guys at DPO letting us borrow their corner-weight scales… it wouldn’t have happened without everyone pulling together and I absolutely owe it to them all.