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WAU locks in Toyota program

WALKINSHAW Andretti United has unveiled current Australian Formula Ford Series leader Matt Hillyer as its newest driver.

Hillyer, who works in WAU’s subassembly department as a first-year mechanic, will be behind the wheel for the team’s move into the Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia 86 Series this year.

That will make for three programs each with different marques, given it is aligned with Ford in the Repco Supercars Championship and runs Holdens in the Dunlop Super2 Series.

The Toyota 86 program forms part of the WAU Foundation Academy; a pathway to the top for staff members in various roles.

“The WAU Foundation Academy aims to aid the progression of young talent in motorsport in Australia, and that is everything from drivers to mechanics, engineers, and commercial staff,” said team principal Bruce Stewart.

“A pathway to bring these people to the elite level is essential to the future of our sport.

“Matt is a fantastic example of this. He’s not only an extremely talented driver who we see a bright future with on track but has been a real asset to us working with the team, so we are all really excited to see him on track this year.

“This also gives us the opportunity to give hands-on race experience to a number of younger staff across all areas of a race team, which is invaluable going forward.”

WAU’s Toyota 86 entry will be overseen by former rally/Supercars driver Rick Bates, whose son Zach is representing the Clayton squad in Super2.

Zach Bates. Pic: Supplied

Hillyer will start out in the new TGRA Scholarship Series, the opening round for which is April 14-16 at Sydney Motorsport Park.

Holding a top 20 points position across the first three Scholarship rounds is needed to qualify for the top series, which will run in support of Supercars at Townsville, SMP, The Bend, Sandown and Bathurst.

“I am really excited to be joining Walkinshaw Andretti United in the Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia 86 Series,” said Hillyer.

“To be a part of their debut entrance in the series is pretty cool, I’m really looking forward to seeing what we can do together this year on track.

“To be working here for the last 18 months has been amazing to experience to understand how the team operates.

“We know each other well, so we can really get to work from the start and see what we can achieve in the Scholarship Series first up.”

Hillyer won the 2022 Victorian Formula Ford title.

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