The Drive In Automotive
JTCars-SAYA Completes 2012 Racing Season On A High Note
Congratulations to Team JTCars - SAYA for a successful 2012 racing season. Against all odds, this rookie team was able to pull weight much heavier than their own to finish 2nd overall in Lotus Super Cup Asia and 3rd overall in the Malaysian Super Series- Sports Production Category, ending the very exciting and dramatic season on a high note.
What was supposed to be a first year introduction to motorsports quickly became a fist clenching, heart-stopping suspense story that saw both championship series being closely fought, left, right and center, right to the last round.
It all started with Team SAYA.my purchasing a standard Lotus Elise S1 from JTCars (yours truly). As costs were a factor, the Elise seemed to be the best choice for the newbies. It did not have best the poke of V8 muscle car or the dynamism of a LMP racer, but it was an overall performer and a very consistent 1 at that.
In its debut race opening for the Petronas Malaysian F1 GP, it already secured a 1st and 2nd place finish in 2 heats. From then on, the pocket rocket held itself on the podium for much of the year.
After episodes of brawling and battling competitors twice its size, the Championship decider came down to the last round. The season finale would see the small Elise take a shot at winning the overall championship. It was a sprint race format with 2 heats, and sprint races were the small Elise’s forte.
First race was held at noon and heavy clouds loomed from above. The Elise qualified 14th overall with its championship contender 3 positions ahead. When the green lights flashed, the race had begun. Unfortunately an Aston Martin and Corvette were boxed in the middle and their slower cornering speed dropped the pace for the Elise from the start. Eventually the small Elise got by and began to reel in its opponent.
Few laps into the race suddenly a metallic noise broke out from the rear of the car. It was coming from the rear wheel area. Every time there was a left hand corner the grinding noise would appear and the tires came up smoking. The assault had to be put off. With it being so early in the race, the priority now was to finish seeing that the car was potentially in trouble.
Fortunately, the Elise came back in 1 piece and finishing second at that. The crew became worried and examined the car. Soon the culprit was discovered. A 2 foot long bar was found positioned in the wheel well in between the lower and upper suspension arms. Amazingly the bar did not snap the suspension arms rendering the Elise to an uncontrollable projectile and by some luck, the bar managed to stay on the car until it arrived back at the pits only to be discovered by the crew.
The worst was behind, and the car was rechecked to make sure there were no other stowaways. 1 race to go and the fight was still salvageable. Scheduled for 6pm, it was to be a wet race. Perfect tires went on the car for the final push. With renewed enthusiasm the Elise went under the rain and prepared to race. The parade lap started and the cars began weaving to get heat into their tires. As the lights got green, the team anxiously watched trackside for the Elise to make assault.
But the Elise never passed the starting line. Watching the monitors did not explain the situation as the cameras focused on the race start. Then it happened. The driver of the Elise came back on a track marshal’s motorbike. The Elise has been running well but suddenly came to a halt track side on the parade lap. Numerous tries to fire up the engine failed to revive car number 91 and the quest for the Championship tittle officially came to an end. Once the car was towed back to the pits an electrical issue was the suspected cause.
The last round of MSS and LSCA presented a shot of mixed emotions. Team SAYA.my had brought a small lotus to the end of race season in 1 piece. From a learning rookie team to a team desiring to win, and to the point of securing their own sponsorships, this endeavour is one to be proud of. Although missing out on the Overall tittles, coming in 2nd and 3rd on the first try speaks much of their talent and potential. We would like to thank Aylezo Motorsports for providing the on track support and preparing the car.
Will 2013 be anymore exciting? Team JTCars-SAYA
Some in car footage from the start of the race!