Bob McMurray writes from the fourth round of the 2016 Toyota Racing Series (Friday)…..
A quick review of the drivers and more especially the drivers ‘attendants / trainers’ etc. revealed a bit more evidence of activities between the Hampton Downs and Taupo events.
Rod MacLeod, the ultra fit, ex McLaren mechanic who is now domiciled in Mexico running his own driver training school is once again travelling with the TRS and this time accompanying the two American drivers Theo Bean and Will Owen.
A fanatical mountain biker, Rod had his charges doing dozens of kilometres on what he describes as some of the best mountain biking country in the world around the Taupo area.
40 or 50 kms a day over some very exciting terrain left him with a broken helmet and some decent looking speed stripes on his legs courtesy of an over ambitious jump or two.
He then went back for more and next week he, and his drivers, are walking the Tongariro track and some other adventures.
I reckon it is quite relaxing for both Will and Theo to actually be in the car racing.
Practice #1 of the day started at 10.30 and was largely without incident.
Except that is for a few lurid exits from the last turn on to the pit straight and some close calls for Theo Bean (maybe not so relaxing!…see above) and Rodrigo Baptista who both had some real tail happy, ‘understeery – oversteery’ moments.
It is an old saying but “Oversteer is when you hit the wall with the rear of the car, understeer is when you hit the wall with the front of the car. Horsepower is how fast you hit the wall, and torque is how far you take the wall with you when you hit it.”
None of that thankfully but Taylor Cockerton did an amazing job in completing a 360 degree spin, at speed, exiting the last turn and stayed pretty much on the pit straight without hitting anything bringing the car to a stop facing the right way.
Red flag caused as he stalled the car but a good escape from what could have been an ‘awkward’ moment.
Unfortunately no times from the session but Ferdinand Habsburg was fastest, or so I am told.
The old man has his hat on.
The hill nearby the track (the Tauhara Forest I believe? Corrections welcome) has a nickname as ‘The Old Man’ and it is said, by locals with a knowing nod of the head, that when The Old Man has his hat on, in other words when the summit is covered in cloud, rain is on the way…..soon….perhaps…!
SESSION #2 OF THE DAY
One red flag after 11 mins for Ptak, stuck in the red stuff at turn 5 and the times, finally available.
A good effort by the ever improving Taylor Cockerton and the top eleven cars covered by less than one second.
Session #3 of the day at 3.00pm
So the locals know exactly what they are talking about.
It rained between the sessions and the track started off quite wet, a bit eerie though with the very warm track creating the steam and vapour……….
Wet tyres fitted for the start of the session but after just ten minutes the cars started to come in for the dry weather tyres and lots of new ones were fitted and the lap times dropped correspondingly.
Some excursions again but this time not so many clouds of dust so at least the rain helped out a bit there.
The times for session #3 saw James Munro at the top…….
So that is the end of the on-track activities for the day.