Having had two successful truck racing seasons, Tata wanted to make it big this time and they managed to do so in an excellent manner.
The third season of the T1 Prima Racing saw participation of Indian truck drivers
When I was told to cover the Tata T1 Prima Racing, I wasn’t particularly excited about it. I thought how could a truck weighing several tons race on a track and how can that ever be interesting. But boy, was I wrong! The moment I encountered these machines at the Buddh International Circuit, I was spellbound. And the moment I saw them racing for the first time, I was hooked. For the ones who didn’t find truck racing exciting enough, there were multiple dance and music performances. So how was the overall experience? Read on to find out.
This year, the event saw a very big change. Owing to its commitment towards India, Tata Motors selected Indian truck drivers to race on the track. No, these weren’t professional racing drivers. These were the average Indian truckers known to drive all around the country to ensure we get what we need on time. But driving on roads and driving on a racetrack are two very different things. So Tata took the responsibility of training these drivers through an exhaustive driver training programme headed by Mr. Vicky Chandok.
The end result of this was a very exciting race day as there were not one, not two but four races to be witnessed. The twelve Indian drivers were split into two groups of six each and both the groups had one race each of eight laps. The international drivers who were driving for teams owned by various sponsors had two races, first one being an eight lap race and second being a twenty lap one. The trucks were identical to each other and the only difference for the international drivers was the livery. For the Indian drivers, even the livery was the same.
Having shed over 700 kilograms of weight in the last season, the trucks went on yet another dieting session and lost around 500 kilograms this time. The suspension was lowered and retuned to improve the handling and reduce body roll. But being very high up from the ground, body roll is kind of inevitable. Since the tyres go through immense pressure on the track, JK Tyres made an improvised version of the tyres for this season. Luckily, there were no rains this year unlike last year but there was quite a bit of action.
Being a contact sport, the drivers had the freedom to nudge other trucks which adds to the whole excitement. Seeing these huge behemoths turning into corners is a very different experience than seeing a racecar attack corners. Hitting the apex right while counter steering to control the body roll requires a lot of effort and skill from the driver’s end. In the very first race, one of the overtaking maneuver went wrong and the truck spun off after hitting another truck. However, the driver quickly got back in line and managed to stay at the fifth position for quite some time.
Seeing the trucks drifting around in some of the corners was unadulterated fun but being very close to the barriers to see the action up close, it was scary as well. While going into the pitlane after the end of the race, one of the trucks spun at the last corner but it looked more like a controlled stunt than a case of losing control. What is commendable is the Indian drivers performance as the timings they clocked weren’t too far off from the international drivers. Infact, the best lap timings of drivers from both the groups were just about two seconds apart. Talk about neck-to-neck competition!
It was Jagat Singh and Nagarjuna A from the Indian drivers who managed to win their respective races and get a prize money of Rs. 10 lakhs. In the international drivers, it was Mat Summerfield who managed to grab the first position. Interestingly, Team Castrol has managed to be the champion in all three seasons of T1 Prima Racing. The weekend wasn’t just about racing and also had multiple dance and music performances which kept the massive crowd entertained. We can’t thank Tata Motors enough for organizing a motorsport event of this scale in a country where it isn’t too popular.
Tata T1 Prima Truck Racing Season 3 Result – Indian Drivers
Tata T1 Prima Truck Racing Season 3 Result – International Drivers
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