CALTEX DRIVERS LOOKING FORWARD TO COMPETING ON NEW TAUPO TRACK Caltex Havoline Ford Falcon drivers Angus Fogg and Paul Pedersen are looking forward to a change of scenery this weekend - at the new-look Taupo Motor Racing Circuit. This ...
CALTEX DRIVERS LOOKING FORWARD TO COMPETING ON NEW TAUPO TRACK
Caltex Havoline Ford Falcon drivers Angus Fogg and Paul Pedersen are looking forward to a change of scenery this weekend - at the new-look Taupo Motor Racing Circuit.
This weekend's round of the 2005/06 Parker ENZED NZ V8s championship is the first major motor racing one on the virtually all-new now 3.5 km Taupo Motor Racing Circuit and Fogg, who drives the Caltex Star Mart Ford Falcon V8, says that he can't wait to suit up and see what it is like.
"We are absolutely looking forward to it," he said this morning. "It's not everyday that you get to drive on a brand new circuit and from what I've seen of it and been told about it, the people behind it have done a fantastic job."
The new circuit, based round the old 1.4 km Taupo Car Club track east of the town, is part of the $NZ12.5 million Taupo Motorsport Park developed by private company MIT Development Ltd.
The new track features an 830 metre long main straight (which doubles as a drag strip) and can be used in three different configurations.
Project manager Ian Maskell says that feedback from drivers who have already had a chance to lap the track has been 'very positive.'
"It suggests," he says," that we have a fast, interesting and challenging circuit that will be up with the best in Australasia."
Though he has yet to lap it himself, Fogg says that he likes the look of the layout and what the track designers - who worked with former Formula 1 driver Chris Amon - have tried to do.
" From what I have seen it is very much a technical/driver's track, one which I think will reward those who are 'on' to their cars. If you know your car well and know how it reacts to changes you will go well, if you don't you won't, it is going to be as simple as that."
As far as preparing for the meeting Fogg says that he has pored over the chassis and suspension data he has accumulated from other, broadly similar tracks, and come up with a good 'base-line' set up for Friday morning's first track test.
"I think it will be close," he said, " bearing in mind that the track is very twisty and we don't know yet how much grip it will have. There's also the issue of tyres. For a track like this, one that's over 3 km long, the races - at 18 laps - are quite long, and that's going to be hard on the tyres."
The Caltex Racing team is in a strong position heading into this weekend's meeting, the penultimate one on the 2005/06 Parker ENZED NZ V8s Championship schedule, after three pole positions from five rounds and a debut round win at Timaru for Fogg and race three wins at the past two rounds for Pedersen.
Former New Zealand TranZam champion Kayne Scott continues to lead the points chase with 853 points, but there is little in it with John McIntyre in second place with 823 points, Fogg in third with 760 and Andy Booth in fourth with 741.
Caltex Havoline Ford Falcon driver Paul Pedersen has also climbed to sixth place after his recent purple patch, taking 610 points to Taupo, just 58 less than fifth placed namesake (but no relation), Mark Pedersen.
For fans of the Caltex-backed International Motorsport-run Caltex Ford Falcons there will also be something else to look out for this weekend. Angus Fogg will reveal a new helmet paint job.
Fogg has just upgraded to a new Arai touring car helmet and enlisted the help of local helmet painting guru Mark James of Stir Helmets to help him turn his ideas into reality.
The paint job - which Fogg says he hopes will stand out when the in-car cameras are on him - is based on 'a beach theme...'
Activity at Taupo begins on Friday with testing. On Saturday the Parker ENZED V8s have a warm-up and qualifying sessions in the morning and the first of their three races (this one over 10 laps) in the afternoon.
There are then two more V8 races on Sunday, both over 18 laps, the first at 11.30am, the second 2.35pm.