Bob McMurray writes from the fourth round of the 2016 Toyota Racing Series…
Two test sessions today (Thursday) and apart from a reasonable amount of scoria sprayed onto the track from the odd errant car / driver combo, all was well.
The scoria, or pumice dust, that is used for the run off areas can be quite light and fine and tends to cloud up when it is dry and it is really quite dry today.
Anybody who has driven on this red substance knows that it can be like driving on small marbles, almost like talcum powder.
Some rain in the forecast (when is it any different?) but certainly not looking like it so far today.
I would say ‘benign’ is the day.
Ferdinand Habsburg was the fastest in session #1 with a time of 1.24.2 with the lap record for the FT50 chassis being set by Thomas Randle at 1:24.382 in 2015.
As is normal with the first couple of sessions of the weekend, there was lots of getting used to the track, bedding brakes and setting the cars up so times were not so indicative but many drivers were in the 1min 24 seconds bracket.
Once again the TRS hospitality area is situated in the ‘corporate suites’ overlooking pit lane and from there one can see virtually all of the track from the ample windows and balcony area.
One has to make sure the the big sliding windows are actually open before one attempts to walk through them though.
Either that or make sure there is nobody watching the ensuing headlong bump into a closed door.
Mr. Boyce was really quite graceful in his bounce back.
The track has been modified somewhat at the end of the main straight as the cars turn left and then right before the slight downhill section and finally left into the pit straight.
The entrance to that complex is wider and faster and that means some REALLY demon out-braking manoeuvres the end of the straight come race day.
A few indiscretions in practice #2.
Laliberte went off and carried on over the grass for some way and the session was brought to an end five minutes prematurely when Rodrigo Baptista went off and got stuck in the run-off area at turn 5.
Some of the drivers enjoyed the good weather in between rounds 3 and 4 and some enjoyed it a little too much.
Devlin de Francesco was showing signs of sunburn to his back and his trainer was slapping copious quantities of ‘after sun’ on it when he returned to the garage at practice end.
His team mates were not quite so sympathetic to his plight taking every opportunity to give him a little slap on the back now and again while the lotion was being applied.
His yelps were not those of somebody enjoying the experience.
Mr. Habsburg and friends thought it all very funny.
The fastest time this session was set by Artem Markelov at 1.23.56.
The race timing is not yet up and running but a fuller list of time will be available tomorrow.
One spectacular image of a series caught by Bruce Jenkins (how the heck is he always in the right position for these things – I am sure drivers see him and just know they are going to do something wrong) was of Bruno Baptista imitating what, in an aircraft, would be the ‘ROTATE’ moment………..