New Toyota Racing Series champion, Mitch Cunningham, says he took a strategic approach to last weekend’s first two heats in the series-decider at Pukekohe
And then, with the title locked up and nothing to lose, he went for it, taking the race three win and one of New Zealand motor racing’s prime trophies, the NZ Motor Cup.
Already in the 22-year-old’s trophy cabinet was the Denny Hulme Trophy for winning the series-within-a-series international championship in January.
Michael Burdett won the opening two races last weekend, and was chasing Cunningham hard when he slid off in the NZ Motor Cup.
“Our aim this year was always to win the championship, so my primary goal has always been to score points,” says Cunningham.
“That doesn't mean I wasn't trying in the first two races – I think that's reflected in the lap times – but because Michael got better starts the races were his to win or lose.
“After the second one, though, when the championship was out of anyone else's reach, I had nothing to lose so I just went for it.
“Michael got another good start but mine was just as good and though he might have got his nose in front he was on the outside so I just held a clean line until I was in front and took it from there.”
The series win was Cunningham's first major one in open-wheeled single-seater cars after a successful local and international career in karts.