Bob McMurray writes from the second round of the 2016 Toyota Racing Series……
TERETONGA FRIDAY JANUARY 2016
A dry start to the day, mild temperatures, a bit of sun and a bit of cloud……so far that is at 08.00am.
See above !!!!
The track is active with what seems to be clouds of black smoke travelling around it.
That smoke is attached to some large trucks practicing for the weekend.
A social comment coming up here so those with a tender disposition please turn away now.
The world of motorsport is forever trying to become more ‘green’, ecologically more responsible and and make the public face of the sport more acceptable to modern demands.
Formula 1 engine manufacturers now have a thermal efficiency from the power plants that was unheard of just a few short years ago.
The TRS itself pioneered the use of E85 fuel and that is now the norm in many branches of the sport.
I know that truck racing has an enormous following in NZ, especially in the South Island, as well as in many countries around the world and is a very valid form of sport, no question.
However, anybody who has been near a truck race, or walked around the paddock when they are warming up, or simply stood and watched a race from a downwind position becomes all too aware, all too quickly, of eye watering fumes and smoke from these behemoths of the track.
Is it not time to reign these truck racing engines in so that they may join the green movement?
Make no mistake, when the time comes that racing cars are all electric, as in Formula ‘E’ at this time, then that will be the last time I bother with the sport.
I am no apologist for using fuel in racing cars.
The amount used is insignificant when compared to airline travel, ship travel and a million other uses around the world.
The sound and sight of racing cars at ‘full noise’ beats anything else I can think of, almost, and that cannot happen without using fossil fuel to a greater or lesser degree.
The truck companies around the world have, like the car manufacturers, made huge strides on fuel efficiency in recent years.
They had to for purely economic reasons, so why then cannot those efficiencies now translate to the trucks on the track.
They simply must and as soon as possible.
OK, you can turn back now …….and I apologise for my rant.
Another small incident from yesterday.
The car of Bruno Baptista required an engine change as it was found that he had a broken bell housing after the last practice of the day.
It was a concern that the engine had a small crack in it as well so, better safe than sorry, it was changed.
The team are not sure if the problem was initially caused by an off track incident last weekend at Ruapuna and then made worse by similar incidents here at Teretonga, or new kerb incidents during practice yesterday.
Whatever, some work was needed.
Julian Hanses, Devlin de Francesco and Brendon Leitch all visited the Teretonga track marshals clubrooms for an informal chat and briefing during Thursday evening.
Without those marshals and thousands like them, there would be no motorsport.
F1, WRC, Indy…TRS….whatever.
So it was no hardship for the drivers to give a little time back.
Drivers briefing, more specific to the Teretonga track, was held at 09.00am but was delayed slightly as some drivers were stuck on the wrong side of the track.
As those who have visited this exciting track will know, the road into the paddock has to cross the racing track and when the track is active the access to the paddock area is closed.
After the TF 86 cars finished their rain affected session the V8 muscle cars had a practice session and a kind yellow Camaro managed to complete three laps with a severe gearbox oil leak spreading not only clouds of smoke around the track but a nice sheen of oil on top of the soaking wet surface.
Colourful it was but slippery it also was.
Much too slippery in fact.
That was the end of any running for the rest of the morning and the TRS cars had their first practice re-scheduled until later in the day.
Which was wet!
No real times were set as the track stayed damp with the cars on wet weather tyres throughout.
Two red flags in the session.
The first for Daruvala and the second for de Francesco.
No damage just a decent car wash required.
TRS practice #2 started in damp conditions with all cars on wet tyres. With ten minutes to go the M2 team called Lando Norris in and quickly fitted slick tyres and he immediately went two seconds faster.
That prompted a certain amount of ‘organised’ chaos in the pit lane with the lane resembling Queen Street in Auckland on a Friday night as the rest of the M2 cars, the Giles team cars and all the rest piled in, eyes a’blazin, with parking slots at a premium, wheel guns flying from car to car, front and rear jacks whizzing hither and thither, the odd ‘Latin’ driver coach acting as if it was the last lap of the Indy 500 with arms flailing and panic in his own eyes.
It was, after all, only practice session #2 of the weekend.
Calme, calme, calme, boys. There is a long way to go.
The times were therefore a little mixed but Norris and Merkelov were the top two.
The final session of the day started at 4.30pm in dry conditions with a dry track and dry weather tyres fitted to all the cars.
The rain, for once, arrived just a couple of minutes after the end of the session.
That session ended prematurely for Kami Laliberte.
He came into the pits with some smoke from the cockpit and proved to all that the ‘5 second cockpit exit’ regulation is entirely possible.
In fact I think it was about 3 seconds for him.
The power box, situated behind and slightly below the driver’s rear end, somehow had short circuited.
So, this session provided the quickest lap times of the day.
Daruvala 54.169, Habsburg 54.190, Laliberte (pre conflagration) 54.524, Markelov 54.276, Norris 54.315, Ptak 54.326,Hanses 54.365, Munro 54.366, Baptista (B) 54.386, Leitch 54.392, Buret 54.661, Piquet 54.731, Cockerton 54.751, Zhou 54.768, de Francesco 54.792, Dapero 54.998, Bean 55.010, Baptista 55.067 then Owen on 55.067.
A quick glance at those times will show that all the cars are within one second.