The T Sport Racing team had been keenly anticipating their season opener at the famous Hungaroring in Budapest, Hungary. The team has put in a lot of hard work through the winter break and made a lot of upgrades to the truck for the 2019 season; mainly, the installation of the more powerful, MAN D26, common rail race engine. This would prove to be a big change for our driver, Terry, as he would have to adapt his driving style to suit the changed performance of the race truck. However, as the weekend progressed Terry put in some fantastic performances making clear he was able to handle the new situation.
It took the team 3 days to travel from our base in Lancashire, England across the continent to Budapest: Firstly, by ferry from Hull to Zeebrugge, Belgium, then driving 1,470km through 5 countries to reach the Hungaroring circuit.
Once our race trailer was positioned in the paddock, the team unloaded the truck from the trailer and to set up the awning which would provide us with our pit garage for the weekend. The team also set up a small hospitality tent ready to welcome our guests from Autobrand-Rumania and TT Parts, a Hungarian parts distributor, who became very close to the team and were therefore as enthusiastic as we were for the weekend’s events.
On Friday, Terry took part in some VIP and press rides out on circuit as well as in 2 free practice sessions. It was the first time Terry and the rest of the team would be able to get a feel for the new engine and how it would affect the performance of the truck. All in all, the reactions were quite positive with Terry reporting back that the engine was delivering a lot more torque at the lower revs. He did, however, still have some reservations that he would have to adapt his driving style to match the upgraded truck.
Saturday soon came around. With a qualifying session followed by 2 races, the team were eager for Terry to take the truck to full race pace for the first time. With Terry securing 2 podiums on what was also his birthday, the results of the day were fantastic. Race 1 saw him secure a 3rd place in the Grammer Truck Cup followed by a trip to the top step of the podium after race 2 where he claimed 1st in the Grammer Truck Cup, finishing 9th on the overall standings. This gave the team a lot of confidence that all their hard work throughout the winter was definitely paying off.
On the second day in Hungary, T Sport Racing improved even further with Terry qualifying an incredible 10th on the grid hence advancing into the superpole shootout for the first time in his career. Following this, Terry managed to build on his great qualifying performance fighting valiantly throughout the race – a heated battle for 8th place with Jamie Anderson, which would bring him a pole position for the last race of the weekend. Unfortunately, Jamie prevailed and denied Terry his pole position start. Nonetheless, Terry once again finished on the podium – second place in the Grammer Truck Cup. The last race of the weekend got off to a shaky start as the team had to replace a brake disc being out on the grid. During Terry’s intense battle with Jamie in the previous race, the brakes got extremely hot. With just half an hour in the paddock to service the truck between races, the team decided not to risk changing the brake discs as this would require Terry to put them through a heat cycle in the first part of the race, potentially slowing his pace. On the way from the paddock to the grid, however, Terry realised that something was wrong. The guys pulled off an amazing feat changing a brake disc on the starting grid within just 8 minutes – right before the race began. Terry once again started from 10th place on the grid and fought hard to both hold his position and attack those in front of him. Unfortunately, the team were in vain as a water pump failed during the race causing the new engine to overheat. Therefore, Terry had to pull over to prevent any serious damage.
Overall, the T Sport Racing team had a brilliant season opener. With 3 podium finishes, the team are confident concerning the performance of the truck and the upgrades that have been made.
We will now travel on to Germany to service and prepare the race truck for the season highlight on Nürburgring (20th and 21st of July) at our partner Lunau´s workshop.