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Steven Johnson joins Toyota 86 field for SMP

Steven Johnson

Steven Johnson will return to the Toyota 86 Racing Series field at the Sydney Super Sprint while Australian Rally Championship leader Harry Bates will make his circuit racing debut.

Johnson and Bates fill the two invited driver roles as Jason Bargwanna, who drove as an invitee in Round 1 at Phillip Island, takes on the non-driving mentor position.

Johnson contested three rounds of last year’s series as an invited driver with a best race result of second in Race 3 at Bathurst.

Toyota-backed driver Bates, who has won two of the first three rounds of this year’s ARC, made his rally driving debut in the NSW Rally Championship at Batemans Bay in 2014 but has not yet competed in a circuit race.

“I am sure there will be some rally experience that will help, but there are new techniques to learn,” said Bates.

“For the first time, I’ll be racing door-to-door with other cars instead of against the clock.”

Jimmy Vernon leads the series despite Cameron Hill’s dominance of Round 2 in Townsville.

Hill holds the lap record at Sydney Motorsport Park, the first circuit to which Toyota 86 will make a repeat visit for a round of the series, and won the round at the Western Sydney circuit in 2016.

“Last year was a really good meeting for us with pole position and two wins and a third,” said Hill.

“Hopefully we can score another strong result there, especially coming off a successful run at Townsville.”

Round 3 of the Toyota 86 Racing Series runs on the Red Rooster Sydney Super Sprint support card on August 18-20.


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