When the 2020 Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia 86 Series gets underway, Erebus Academy’s standout recruit Jobe Stewart will be raring to go.

The youngster who has been supported by the Academy since 2017 as a 12-year-old karting protege, Stewart first stepped into a Toyota 86 as part of the squad’s Karts to Cars program in June 2019.

The now 16-year-old from Mount Gambier then participated in the tryouts in November 2019 and was guided to make the step up.

“I took part in the Karts to Cars program, then the Toyota 86 tryouts day run by the Erebus Academy and I was really pleased with how I went,” Stewart said.

“The guys at Erebus Motorsport have supported me over my Karting days and they suggested it might be time to take on the Toyota 86 series as the next step in my racing pathway.

“It’s been so good to have that sort of guidance from people you trust so that’s what we are aiming for this year.”

Barry Ryan, CEO of Erebus Motorsport, was pleased with Jobe taking the step up in his motorsport pathway with the support of the mentors at the Erebus Academy as it is exactly what the program is designed for.

“A lot of kids and their parents just need that advice and guidance to help them along especially when you have so many people giving you their opinions,” Ryan said.

“We are passionate about helping kids and giving them honest advice and helping to steer them in the right direction because its an expensive sport and every opportunity counts.

“Jobe is an impressive young driver and wants to learn. We are looking forward to continuing our support of Jobe and young drivers like him in all facets of racing.”

Whilst the 2020 Toyota 86 calendar is yet to be announced, the series is still hopeful of running the intended five round Championship it had planned to start in June and Stewart is more than ready.

“Since I got my car last year I have done practice at Tailem Bend about six times, Winton and Sandown and I am really enjoying it.

“It is so different driving the Toyota 86 after coming from Karts. You are so enclosed and can’t see much. It was kind of claustrophobic at first. It took a bit of getting used to because the car just moves around so much more. Also, the gears are a new thing, so you have to concentrate really hard, but I’m getting there.

“It’s heaps of fun and a big step up for sure. I was able to get back out on track last weekend at Tailem Bend and that really got me keen to start this year’s series.”

Like all of his mates, the Year 10 Grant High School student has spent the last few months home schooling and getting some practice on the home sim.

He also took part in the Erebus Academy’s inaugural Junior Esports Competition last month, scoring a podium in the 16-18 years age group.

“The Esports comp was fun and gave me something to do in competition against heaps of other kids. It was good to do something different.”