Auckland-based racer Taylor Cockerton has ended day three of Castrol Toyota Racing Series testing at Mike Pero Motorsport Park in Christchurch as not only the fastest New Zealander on the grid, but also the fastest driver overall.

"It feels really good. Obviously this is the best time to be on the pointy end, right on the edge of qualifying," Cockerton told Herald Sport.

"All week we've been chasing our set-up a little bit and chasing our tails. It's been more of a frustrating start to be honest, but we made quite a drastic set of changes for the last session and it paid off.

"It was sort of 50/50 whether it was going to work, and neither my engineer or I were too confident, but the car was completely different and it felt really good. I think we matched the best time that we did last year, so I think we're there or thereabouts."


The MTEC Racing pilot set a quickest time of 1:17.383 to top the timesheets, pipping Australian driver Thomas Randle, morning pace setter Enaam Ahmed, and series favourites Ferdinand Habsburg and Jehan Daruvala.

It's the second day in a row where a New Zealander has ended up on top, after Marcus Armstrong showed competitive pace during Thursday testing.

After making his debut in the season last year - ending it a commendable ninth in the points - Cockerton hopes to build towards bigger things this season.

"The car felt a lot like it did last year - every session I'm starting to drill back into how to drive this thing," he said.

"I said to myself before that I want to start here where I finished off pace-wise and where I was at mentally last year. And I feel we definitely have the potential to do that.

"So to start off top eight, top six, and then progressively work from there I think will be really good."

Qualifying and the opening race of the 2017 Castrol Toyota Racing Series take place tomorrow, with two more races scheduled on Sunday. ​