Tata's Prima T1 championship Season 3 is here
For those of you who are somewhat familiar with the Tata Prima T1 Racing Championship, you'd think there isn't much that has changed for the third season, and yet, a lot has changed. You see, while it still is a single-race championship, and the truck itself is more or less the same as it was, the addition of a new class of drivers has made this event a lot more relevant.For the very first time in this series, Indian truck drivers will go wheel-to-wheel at the Buddh International Circuit come March 20. Tata had announced it would select and hone Indian truck drivers for Season 3 at the end of Season 2, and it has done what it promised. It contacted every single firm that owns a Tata Prima, and asked them to send over their best drivers. More than 550 entries came in for the T1 Racer Program (TRP), of which only 17 are proceeding to the BIC. These men, who have spent most of their lives driving trailer trucks on the highways, drove around the Madras Motor Race Track, in Sriperumbudur, in the Tata Xenon, the Tata Ultra, and ultimately, the Prima 4038.S. The fastest drivers have made it to the final round of selection\: Level 4 of the TRP. This will take place at the BIC on March 8, and will see five more drivers being sent home.On March 20, the remaining Indian drivers will - in their black-and-red Primas - compete in the Super Class. There will be a qualifying race (of around 8 to 10 laps), which will be followed by the main race. The number of laps hasn't yet been finalised, but speaking to TG.com, R Ramakrishnan, Senior VP at Tata Motors' commercial vehicles unit, said the drivers will have a race of around 15-20 laps in Level 4. So, we think the race itself may be equally as long.Which is one of the changes this year\: even in the Pro class (12 international truck racing veterans driving for six teams), the main race will be 20 laps of the truncated 3.1km circuit, four more laps than last year. The Prima sports 43 changes, which include lower-profile tyres, a lowered centre of gravity, flush-fitting wheel nuts, lighter suspension and fuel tank, and a new brake cooling system. It still makes 370bhp and 1,550Nm of pulling power, and top speed is over 130kph, so the action should be pretty intense.It's an exciting event, yes, but now, with the inclusion of Indian drivers, this championship has become more than just a showcase for the Tata Prima. Tata says this will make better drivers out of these participants, which is doubtless a good thing, and it'll make people realise trucking isn't a thing to be looked down upon.