‘Let them truckers roll’, is the chant singing up on C.W.McCall radio, a straight highway and hundreds of kilometres to cover. Life of a trucker is not at all easy. But Tata Motors decided to add heaps of excitement to this mundane but truly very vital job.
Last year, being sceptic, the first season of T1 Prima Truck Racing began on the acclaimed Buddh International Circuit. Buzz did get going but was rather a trickle than a flood. However, with much fanfare and drama, Season 2 of this unusual event saw a massive audience of more than 45,000 spectators jam packing the main grand stand at the circuit.
Despite a rain infested wet track, Stuart Oliver representing Team Castrol Vecton bagged the trophy of the Season II T1 Prima Truck Racing. To increase the excitement, the final race event was increased from previous season’s 15 laps to 16 laps this year.
Steve Thomas of Team Allied Partners qualified the fastest the day before and took the second spot on the podium followed by Steven Powell of Team Tata Technologies. Winning the trophy Stuart thanked the crowds and fans for cheering him up, along with the much appreciated stiff competition from Steve and Steven.
In a country where trucks essentially form the backbone of the economy, this source of employment is not considered the most sought after. And with the growing economy, employment across numerous platforms means not many see the future light in the trucking profession.
Tata Motors lifts up the gauntlet to add glamour and create heroes thus encouraging truck drivers to feel elevated in the societal vertical. Yes currently the race drivers racing here in the second season are European, but Tata Motors comments that these very drivers have another essential job of training Indian drivers to compete soon.
Ravi Pisharody, Executive Director, Commercial Vehicles, Tata Motors joyously stated, “We have been delighted by the response received today. The event will gain more support once Indian drivers take over the challenge. The Tata Prima Race Trucks have proved their superior built and racing prowess at the track today”.
The Prima Trucks
The race machines are modified Tata Prima trucks which put out 370bhp of maximum power and a colossal peak torque of nearly 1,550Nm. These trucks are purpose-built for racing and were piloted by highly trained international truck racing drivers, who decent from the acclaimed British and European Truck Racing championships.
However to inject more race capability, season II trucks received performance upgrades. The top speeds for the season went up to 130kmph from 110kmph of the previous season. A 10 percent top whack hike resulted in 10 percent quicker acceleration.
Tata Motors claims that the trucks have been put on a diet as well for weight reduction, and the engineers managed to slice off nearly 700kgs from each truck. Also the new engine oil by Castrol, the Vecton RX Fuel Saver which saw its market launch at the venue, boasted a 3 percent fuel saving. Another attention must be paid to the tyres, JETRACING by JK Tyre, which Stuart stated that were not extremely sticky but were perfect for current conditions and proved to be very reliable.
A race event is not complete without a side show engrossing a massive audience of 45K people. Performances by popular singers like Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, Benny Dayal, Badshah and Garima Yagnik kept the buzz going for spectators.
A stunt show with a T1 Prima sliding and spinning about completed the mad power show experience. And what race event goes without pretty pit girls dressed up in colourful sponsor outfits.
The race itself added a whole lot of jaw-dropping experience with the drivers going completely bonkers sliding the race trucks that weigh more than 6 tonnes. A few bumps and scrapes did happen, all thanks to the wet track, but fortunately was hurt at all.
They way I see it, the event was a much bigger and successful show than the previous year. The audience has multiplied and the excitement too with faster trucks on the grid. Tata Motor’s plan of improving and enticing the trucking fraternity seems to be on the right track, but what essentially needs to be done is introduction of Indian drivers to the competition soon. These drivers work hard and the next generation to take over will need trucking heroes and better trucks to keep the backbone of the Indian industry healthy and strong.