Highlights: Tata Motors T1 Prima Truck Racing Championship Season 4
Published On Mar 20, 2017
Formula One may have seen only three seasons in India, but the Tata Motors T1 Prima Truck Racing Championship is in its fourth season already. This one-make truck racing championship that started off as an experiment in India four years ago, has turned into a full-fledged championship, with the participation of international drivers as well. But what makes it unique, is that it has made truck-racing superstars out of normal truck drivers.
Race day at the Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida on March 19, 2017, saw the participation of six pro-racing teams with Tata Prima trucks – Castrol Vecton in green, Cummins in red, Dealer Daredevils in yellow, Dealer Warriors in orange, Tata Technologies Motorsports in blue and a new team this season, One World in silver trucks with rainbow hues.
Besides the two pro-races with international drivers that were held, there was also the Super Class category for Indian drivers, who are just getting into truck racing and the Champion Class for Indian drivers who have already won in the Super Class earlier.
The first race of the day was for the Super Class, with all the Indian drivers driving black Tata Prima trucks. These trucks are Prima 4038.S race trucks. The 4038.S truck is equipped with a six-cylinder Cummins diesel engine with a 9-speed Eaton transmission. It puts out 370 bhp of power and 1550 Nm of torque. The air brakes on these trucks are special S-cam units with a water-cooling system. All the trucks were running semi-slick JK Tyre 315/70 R22.5 Jet Racing tyres.
The Super Class trucks category was won by Pitambar from Uttar Pradesh, with Shivnihal Singh and Gurujant Singh taking second and third positions respectively in this 10-lap race. They clocked average lap times of about 1 minute 51 seconds on the shortened 3.1 kilometre circuit, hitting top speeds of just about 100 kmph.
Then came the first Pro-Class Race – 10 laps with international drivers. This year saw the participation of a woman driver, Stephani Halm, in the Castrol Vecton team as well. The race saw a lot of action and was red-flagged after 8 laps. On turn three, Ryan Smith of Castrol Vecton spun into the grave trap after the first few laps. The race continued, but had to be yellow-flagged and eventually red-flagged after Adam Bint of Tata Technologies got pushed wide at turn three and joined Smith in the gravel trap. The shortened race was won by David Vrsecky of Team Dealer Daredevils in Truck No. 19, followed by Gerd Korber of Dealer Warriors in Truck 22, and David Jenkins of Cummins in Truck 23.
In between the races, Tata also showcased their custom 1000 HP truck that was unveiled a day earlier. This truck has a 11.8 litre six-cylinder Cummins engine putting out 1040 bhp and 3500 Nm of torque! The engine is mid-mounted in this special truck. It can do 0-160 kmph in just 9.2 seconds. The prowess of this race truck was evident on the track, as it clocked just 1 minute and 35 seconds for the 3.1 kilometre circuit, a good 15 seconds faster than the regular Prima race trucks.
The Champion Class race with Indian drivers followed. This had last year’s Super Class winners driving the Champion Class. Some excellent driving skills were displayed by Nagarjuna A from Andhra Pradesh, taking first place in Truck No. 7. Second place went to last year’s second spot winner Malkit Singh in Truck No. 10, while Bhag Chand in Truck No. 2 took third place. The Indian drivers displayed some pretty clean driving skills.
However, the final Pro-Class race of the day was the one that had plenty of action. It was a 15-lap race that again had to be red-flagged a couple of laps short of the end because of an accident at turn two. Adam Bint got pretty aggressive through turn one, trying to edge past Thomas Robineau in a One World truck. He sideswiped Robineau in the process sending his own truck fishtailing. At this point, Oly Janes in a Dealer Warriors truck tried to get past him on the inside, but Bint’s bumper caught the rear tyre of Janes’ truck ripping it off. Bint went into a spin in the process, while Janes had to park by the kerb side minus a rear tyre. The race was called off after that. David Vrsecky again took the first spot, followed by Norbert Kiss of Tata Technologies and Gerd Korber from Dealer Warriors in third.
For fans at the circuit, besides the races, the highlight of the evening was the appearance of Bollywood superstar and Tata brand ambassador Akshay Kumar, riding atop a Tata Prima truck. The day also saw various music troupes performing for the audiences.