And what a race it was

| Photographer Credit: Bruce Jenkins

Bob McMurray writes from the third round of the 2016 toyota Racing Series….


A couple of things from yesterdays race.

Nicolas Dapero was unable to take his place on the grid for race #1 due to an electrical problem that was traced to the steering wheel….sort of.
It was a lack of communication, either from or to the wheel, that prevented the car from running.

How did that come about?
Answer….No idea.

Whose responsibility was it?
Answer… idea.
How was it fixed?

Change of wheel.
We shall leave it at that!

The car of Artem Markelov went strangely sort of ‘quiet’ during the race as he seemed to lose power and consequently positions.
Apparently the ‘Lambda’ sensor WARNING NOW!! TECHNICAL BIT COMING ALONG…

(An oxygen sensor (or lambda sensor) is an electronic device that measures the proportion of oxygen (O2) in the gas or liquid being analysed. It was developed by the Robert Bosch GmbH company during the late 1960s under the supervision of Dr. Günter Bauman. By sending a signal to the control unit it can initiate a change to keep the fueling system operating within the very tight tolerances required. This is known as a closed-loop control system). So there, got it Lambda lovers?

Anyway, this Dr. Bauman’s Lambda thingy came loose from it’s proper position, fell on to the hot exhaust and melted so it couldn’t relay the information correctly as it was being slowly turned to Lambda goo, this in turn blew the circuit which also supplies the cam control.
At 6000rpm the engine switches to a second larger cam shaft but in this case it was not able to do so and the engine was then restricted to running on just smaller camshaft. Hence the rather quiet running sound and the lack of power for Markelov to utilise.
And so it panned out……

It is a huge task to feed and water the troops from all the teams, the drivers and their supporters, TRS and TNZ staff and unnamed ‘guests’ of all of those groups.

Add to that number the TF 86 Championship crews, drivers and supporters when they are racing on the same card and the numbers grow.

Although the lunchtime session is largely taken care of by outside caterers, it is still a huge task to keep the food flowing and to vary the menu each day.
Add to that the preferences of drivers and crew from nations around the world and it is not a cheese and pickle sandwich sitting on the pit wall deal any more.

All of that catering and cooking and a decent proportion of the preparation, comes out of the specially designed and built Toyota Racing catering trailer.
The husband and wife team of Gary & Julie Timms are the couple responsible for getting all of those menus out of that trailer on time and looking great.

They started in the business 1n 1989 and since then have worked in international sportscar racing and international formulae racing throughout the world.
From the UK, they come out to New Zealand and in particular the Toyota Racing season, each year as a sort of ‘busman’s holiday’, they leave soon after the 2016 season ends to return to Formula 3 testing in Europe.

A busy old life one has to say.

Another Julie, this time Julie Sellens, is responsible for the merchandising trailer situated in the paddock area (always) and near the Lexus display.
She gives up her weekends to man the trailer and is the husband of the Toyota Racing Lexus safety car driver Brent.

After yesterdays race #1 of the weekend, winner Lando Norris was obliged to select a marble from a hat to determine the number of cars whose finishing positions are to be reversed for race #2.

He made himself enormously popular by selecting the marble #8.
Well, popular that is with Antoni Ptak who finished 8th in race #1.

Not so popular with his fellow podium place getters Daruvala and Piquet who will start from 7th and 6th places.
Two events in a row where the #8 marble has been pulled out.


The grid set as the finishing order of race #1 except the top eight reversed (see above).

If it was exciting restarts that make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up then they must have been at attention all through this race with three safety car periods including two red flags….and what racing it was.

As I was doing the live commentary for the race it is probably best that you read the race report from John Coker for a more accurate assessment of the race as a whole.

Suffice to say it was exciting and incident packed with some great overtaking, defending and the odd coming together.
Lando Norris, James Munro, Antoni Ptak, Nicolas Dapero, Artem Markelov and Julian Hanses all had a visit to the pits. either briefly or terminal.

Good stuff though and will make good ‘telly’.

Qualifying for the main race of the day, the New Zealand Motor Cup, was held yesterday.
A very happy Pedro Piquet came out on top with a frankly spectacular time of 59.680 seconds.

That time is some way beneath the existing FT50 lap record of Arjun Maini at 1:00.154 sec
Of course, the lap record can only be set in a race, not qualifying, so if conditions are right then who knows?

There is another historic trophy on offer for this weekend and that is for second place.
No shrinking violet this cup as it has a list of names almost rivaling the NZ Motor Cup.

The Lewis Eady Challenge Cup, first awarded in 1954.
Names of the greats on there of course but this cup also has the name of 1970 posthumous F1 World Champion Jochen Rindt.
Impressive silverware to be won.

And what a race it was.
After a delayed start due to problems with the car of Devlin de Francesco, which was then pushed to the back of the grid but sadly had to come into the pits after just one lap to have a problem sorted out, the race was shortened to 19 laps.

A great start from Pedro Piquet and a headlong dash to turn one by the following pack threatened a major incident but all the cars came out of turn 1 racing hard.

That racing continued with gaps opening and closing but Piquet was in masterful form and extended then maintained his lead until a safety car, then red flag, was called to retrieve the car of Julian Hanses, comprehensively damaged after contact with the wall.

On the restart the front two rows, plus one or two more, all seemed to be abreast the track with four or maybe even five wide at one stage but Piquet kept his cool and the lead while all scrapped behind him.

Sadly a multi car accident just a couple of laps from the race finish meant the race had to finish under that safety car but that did not dim Piquet’s pleasure at the win one little bit.

James Munro came home second after a race long battle for the place with Jehan Daruvala who finished third.

The new ‘F1 style’ podium was awash with talent both old and new as three time F1 World Champion Nelson Piquet, beaming from ear to ear and taking photos like the proud Dad he was, had Howden Ganley for company presenting the awards and TRS commentator Jonathan Green as MC.

In some ways it was good the race finished when it did.

I was part of the commentary team in a booth adjacent to the podium where all the many champagne bottles were waiting for the various class winners.

The bottles, just out of the fridge, had been sitting in the heat for some minutes and that, combined with the vibration from the cars, meant they kept popping off.

The podium area was awash with champagne before the drivers had completed 16 laps!

A good finish to a great weekend’s racing.

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