The B-Quik Co. Ltd TM (“B-Quik”) “Young Driver Programme” takes another step forward this weekend as we enter the “Toyota Motorsport” championship for the first time on the occasion of its high profile visit to Buriram’s Chang International Circuit.
High profile – because this weekend the competitors in Toyota Motorsport will be supporting the visit to Thailand by Japan’s “Super GT Series” which has chosen Buriram as the venue for its annual overseas round for the fifth year in succession.
At the other end of the spectrum to the highly-sophisticated state-of-the-art GT500 and GT300 cars entered by factory teams and piloted by factory drivers that contest Super GT are the finalists our Young Driver Programme’s 2018 edition and in fact they only kick started their racing careers just a month ago following a selection process which took place during March and April. However, the application, determination to succeed and will to win will be just the same in our garage as that amongst Super GT’s factory teams.
Following the success of our “Young Driver Programme” and the graduation this year of the previous edition’s final winner, Narin Naeosathon, to “TA2 Thailand” where he’s swiftly getting to grips with the powerful Camaro V8 ahead of our expectations, we have extended the initiative for this year.
We doubled the finalists to four for 2018 and as well as racing in Thailand Super Series’ “Super Eco” category in our Honda Brios we have also ordered a pair of Toyota Vios Cup machines for the young “stars of tomorrow” to add the RAAT Endurance Championship Thailand and Toyota Motorsport to the programme giving them the maximum learning time.
We now join Toyota Motorsport for its second round of the year with one Vios Cup (the second will be delivered next month) and in the cockpit this weekend will be Jerasak Kongplab one of the four finalists.
He’s going to have a steep learning curve ahead as he only completed his first ever race less than two weeks ago as part of the three strong crew in the Toyota Vios during the opening round of “RAAT Endurance”. However, with the programme comprising of a pair of 4-hour races Jerasak has racked up plenty of laps in the Vios at Bira Circuit but now has to translate that to Chang International Circuit.
That’s what the Young Driver Programme is all about though, learning in the full glare of a race weekend – there is simply no better way to make progress. Toyota Motorsport’s “Vios Cup” is reserved for identical-specification, lightly prepared Vios racecars and that provides the perfect platform for talent to be nurtured and shine through.
In turn Jerasak will be supported by a young crew as we extend this programme to provide our budding Thai technicians – who are all drawn from within B-Quik – a robust platform to develop their skills as they begin to work towards positions in our high-level racing programmes.
It’s a “win-win” as they will also be taking the skills they learn in motorsport – such as working in very highly pressured situations where every tenth of a second counts and where teamwork is vital not just to winning but for everyone’s safety – back to their regular jobs in the B-Quik stores.
During the RAAT Endurance event earlier this month we hit technical issues with the new Vios on its debut but the young crew members resolved them and successfully managed the car to the chequered flag in both races after an excellent display of learning in action
The technicians will be preparing, managing and servicing the Vios again this weekend and with one event with the car behind them now they should be able to build on that platform.
The programme starts tomorrow morning (Friday 29 Jun) with Free Practice for the Toyota Vios Cup followed by qualifying at lunchtime. The race will come up early on Sunday (1 Jul) morning in the run up to the 2-hour Super GT race.
Paspak Kijnopsri (Team Manager): “We’re looking forward to joining Toyota Motorsport in Buriram, it should be an excellent test for our young drivers and technicians as this is a competitive but equal championship. We come off the back of a great start with the Vios in RAAT Endurance at Bira where the new drivers worked hard, learnt the track and kept improving their lap times steadily all weekend. The crew also did a superb job to understand and fix the problems with the car to allow us to get to the finish in both races well placed. I’m very proud of their hard work, enthusiasm and continuous effort during that weekend and I expect more of the same in Buriram where it will get one step harder, but for sure they’re ready for it.”
K. Jerasak (#26 Toyota Vios): “I’m looking forward to the race in Buriram. I’ve come here several times as a technician but this is first time for me as a driver. After the RAAT Endurance race we know what we should do with the new Toyota so I think it’s going to be better than at Bira. Buriram circuit is different from Bira so I have to find information about the track, the turns and previously driving data. All data will help me improve my driving. Certainly, it’s a new experience for me again but I’m ready for the upcoming race and I’ll do my best.”
B-Quik Racing is supported by B-Quik, Michelin, Mobil 1, Bendix, Yuasa, NGK, Liqui Moly and STI and WAC Car Detailing.