Rod Millen on the Toyota TMG EV P002 electric race car: We're gaining more and more speed every time we run it.
Toyota TMG EV P002 -- Post-Qualifying Notes & Quotes
June 27, 2013
ROD MILLEN, Toyota TMG EV P002, TRD, U.S.A. (Toyota Racing Development)
How was the Toyota TMG EV P002 in today's qualifying runs at Pikes Peak?
"It was good. We're gaining more and more speed every time we run it -- the combination of me getting more and more comfortable in it and the team extracting a little more speed out of it. Unfortunately, our competitors are doing the same. We feel comfortable. We've got a nice balanced package here. We feel comfortable in terms of our race package."
How important was today's qualifying to determine starting position?
"It's not so much the starting position -- it's more knowing what the vehicle is going to be like throughout that whole duration of that qualifying run. It's a combination of very fast at the bottom and then we start to get into some of the switchbacks. Knowing what the car is going to handle like and what the balance is going to be like is really important in qualifying."
What will you work on tomorrow to prepare for the race?
"Tomorrow, we'll be working on the middle section of the mountain and we're going to apply a couple lessons we learned today to try to make some improvements. Then I think we'll have a race-ready package."
Were today's conditions similar to what you expect during the race?
"It will be a lot warmer. We will have to make some decisions on tire compounds and so on of what we will do come race day. It really is a balancing act. Perhaps more so that we're testing in the early hours of the morning -- the temperatures are much, much cooler. We're going to have to use experience to help us make some decisions for race day when the temperatures are a lot hotter."
STEVE WICKHAM, project manager, TRD, U.S.A. (Toyota Racing Development)
Are you satisfied with your qualifying session?
"We've just come to the end of qualifying and I'm pretty pleased with the effort we put forward. Disappointed we're only in fourth, but we squeezed everything out of the car -- every last ounce of performance. Rod (Millen, driver) did a great job. The team did a great job. We've gotten quicker every run that we've made in the week. Sunday is a different day. Rod always tells me, 'You have to race the mountain. Forget about everything else.' We think we've got a good brake package to the end of the race all the way to the top, we've got good power and the tires should be good all the way to the top. Rod's got to put it all together on Sunday and hopefully we'll come home with the win."
TOM SMITH, crew chief and race engineer, TRD, U.S.A. (Toyota Racing Development)
How do you prepare the electric car for a course with unique sections?
"The different sections have completely different flavors. Our car is two-wheel drive with a lot of downforce and it shows. For example, in today's first sector we're one of the fastest, but then we lose several seconds in the latter sector of today's run where there is a lot more hairpins and acceleration out of very tight turns where the all-wheel drive cars then have a big advantage. It's a balance. You have to try to nail everything as well as you can, but everything is a compromise and I think it's that way in racing no matter what you do. You have to comprise. Drivers are often chasing balance and a car that feels good. I like to chase lap time -- even if it's a little harder to drive the car. I think that you have to do that here, especially in our case where were pretty compromised with the type of car we have compared to our competition."