His focus this weekend will be on the Toyota 86 racing at Pukekohe, but former Te Puke High School student Michael Scott could be forgiven for having one eye on the future.

By winning the 2015-16 New Zealand Formula Ford series, the 21-year-old mechanical engineering student secured a place on the grid of a one-race shootout in the US. The winner will secure a spot in the 2017 USF2000 series - a prize estimated to be worth about US$200,000 ($270,000). That race takes place at California's Laguna Seca Raceway next month.

As well as the single-seat Formula Ford championship, Scott last year finished second in his first season in the Toyota 86 one-make sports car series.

After a frenetic 2015-16 motor racing season, when he did double duty at several meetings, he will just race in the six-round Toyota 86 series in 2016-17.


"Last year we were very lucky. Even though we had committed to do the Formula Fords, we won a scholarship with the (Toyota 86) CareVet team to run with them, so we ran both the 86 and the Formula Ford," said Scott.

Both classes raced together at three meetings last season.

"So we'd run in one car, run over to the other and jump in that - and away we'd go, it was intense. Sometimes there wasn't even a race in between."

Scott won three Toyota 86 races in taking fourth place in the series, despite some bad luck.

"To come out fourth when all the guys in front of us had done a few seasons, and to win the second most races, and to be at the pointy end in two championships, we were just absolutely stoked."

Scott said that while the racing lines were similar in both classes, the two cars were "like day and night".

"You jump into the saloon car, you have ABS, you have slick tyres, you have the gear shift on the left. In the Ford, it's very light and very nimble, but you've got the gear shift on the right, no ABS. But it was a fantastic chance to get good at adapting and getting a lot of seat time."

Scott's Pukekohe weekend began yesterday with practice. The Toyota 86 series is one of the supporting classes at the ITM Auckland SuperSprint.


"This round is going to be a pretty tricky one with only the one practice and qualifying on Friday instead of the Saturday. This round, I've just got to get through to make sure we get some good points and I don't hit the wall. From there we will hopefully be set up well at having a good crack at winning the championship.

"A lot of work has gone into getting the car ready, and I can't wait to get back behind the wheel."

In preparation for the shoot-out next month, Scott raced at the Laguna Seca track earlier this year. His goal for next year is to secure that spot in the USF2000 series and, from there, to progress into IndyCars.

Scott is sponsored by Northland Toyota, Ara Institute of Canterbury, Eastpack, and Southern Cross Hort