‘TA2’ rocks Bira Circuit during impressive shakedown

‘TA2’ rocks Bira Circuit during impressive shakedown

17.02.2017: The buzz surrounding ‘TA2 Thailand’ is growing fast as the countdown to the first car’s official Thai public debut at the Bangsaen

The buzz surrounding ‘TA2 Thailand’ is growing fast as the countdown to the first car’s official Thai public debut at the Bangsaen Grand Prix enters its final few days.

That countdown really wound up a couple of days ago (Tuesday) as the brand new machine, still in ex-factory ‘body in white’, was given a shakedown at Bira Circuit – and it immediately impressed onlookers.

The first TA2 car is a Ford Mustang (there are in fact three bodyshape options available for this ‘one make’ series) and it only arrived in Thailand a week and a half ago. It’s undergone some key changes for this market – just as TA2 (which is short for ‘TransAm 2’) has been tweaked for different global markets.

That means the Mustang has undergone upgrades and the shakedown wasn’t just about turning wheels and systems checks but also to run through and bed in the specific developments for this market.

 “We’ve come to Bira today to give the car its first shakedown in Thailand,” veteran Super Car driver Craig Corliss, who has driven the birth of TA2 Thailand, explained during the shakedown test.

“The car is manufactured in the USA and the quality, workmanship and finish is very high, however we elected to upgrade the car in a few ways to make it more driver friendly, especially for the amateur driver, to avoid damage to the gearbox and engines.”

That’s meant the introduction of some specific components, as Craig explains. “From the factory finished car we have put in a 6-speed sequential gearbox with paddleshift controls, put in the M150 full MoTeC, and we have a Ford 9-inch Detroit locking diff with Traction Control so the car will be very easy to drive.

That builds on a factory package that’s based around a safety focused spaceframe chassis featuring a 6.2-litre GM V8 engine producing 525 hp. The TA2 weighs in at around 1170 kg.

 “The car is very powerful we’re making some very good power and extremely good torque and the initial test drive today has been very successful although we’re currently running around 60% power,” said Craig.

 “Even at 60% power the car is very strong, travels well on the track, tyres are good so we’re very happy with the first shakedown.”

Cockpit duties for the shakedown were undertaken by TSS Vice President Preeda Tantemsapya, an experienced racer who was able to accurately assess the new racecar as TA2 Thailand will come under the TSS umbrella. He was highly impressed after his first runs although he had never driven a car of this type before.

“It’s very good, a superb racecar,” said Preeda after the test. “But it’s not really to my surprise that it drives this well considering all the equipment and gadgets that are in the car which is using all top brand name equipment. Bangs for bucks wise this is one of the most interesting cars to drive, the looks, the feel, the precision on the corners.”

Most notably the Ford Mustang TA2 comes with ‘American style’ 15-inch rims and big slick tyres which presents a new dynamic, however Preeda said that this setup suited the car well.

“Surprisingly with only 15-inch rims the brake is very powerful and responds well and in the corner although the tyre wall is very thick, the tyre manufacturer did a very good job,” he said.

“It’s my first time driving in a car with such small radius rims and big tyres, they’re 280 mm, the sidewall being that thick I thought they wouldn’t be so good into the corners but it proved me wrong.”

It has a real bite to match its potent looks, Preeda says. “Coming onto the main straight I was going slowly and revved to 6,000 rpm but I could have gone to 500 more and the top speed although I braked very early is already 207 [km/h] so it won’t surprise me with a good entry on the straight you can almost hit 230.”

With the shakedown successfully completed next stop is the Bangsaen GP. “Our plan is to launch the car at Bangsaen next Monday (20 Feb) and Khun Sontaya Kunplome will be the first person to ceremonially start the engine for the public,” says Craig.

 “Then the car will be racing at Bangsaen with a professional driver from the USA to really be in a position to show the car off and what it really can do.”

After that the buildup to the full TA2 Thailand series begins. “The car will be for sale after Bangsaen,” Craig reveals.

 “We currently have one Mustang here and we have a [Chevrolet] Camaro on the way, a [Dodge] Challenger and another Mustang and then we will be taking orders for two-month delivery time from ordering.

“It’s very exciting for Thai motorsport, we’re looking to get thirty cars on the grid,” adds Craig.

“We’re looking forward to seeing very close and exciting racing because it’s a one make race and we control the parts so it will come down to the driver and the crew’s setup because we have 2-way adjustable Penske shocks so there’s a few things they can do. I think the public will like it and the drivers even more.”

Preeda concurs that this is the polished article and will inject a new dynamic into TSS. “Overall it’s a top class racecar finish, easy to maintain and at a very acceptable price for the spare parts, it’s not a car that you have many things to do to it,” he says.

“I think this is another proof of what we try to offer to Thai motorsport in the near future. It offers good value, uses pump gas and has plenty of torque.”

- Edd Ellison, photo TSS

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/ta2-tss-bira-circuit-shakedown---160910.html

17.02.2017 / MaP

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