Black Rose Racing team is back in action for 2021!
The team from Finland made their initial debut in BEC series in 2017, participating in A3000 class with a BMW 323i, they won the class in 2018 and that motivated to come back in 2019 with big guns – a brand new VW Golf GTI TCR DSG car to battle among other TCR cars. The team had mixed results in the season that ended much sooner than expected – a heavy crash in Riga ended the season sooner than expected. Toni Virtanen has fully recovered from the crash and the car has been rebuilt. Team’s manager and driver Tuomas Halonen tells us more.
After our last conversation you made a debut with a TCR Golf GTI car in a quite competitive field of TCR cars. How would you rate the team’s performance? How big was the learning curve with a new car?
There was a lot of new things to learn before the season start and we looked at some earlier stats from the results and lap times of the previous season as well as pit stops. After the first race of the season, we noticed that all the teams had raised the level and the competition was tougher. I managed to qualify third for the first race in the TCR class, so I was happy that I manage to be so close to the front row so quick, but our tactics and race pace wasn’t in that level in what it should be.
In Botniaring it was again a new situation with a new car when there was a wet qualifying session. Toni managed to get a third place in TCR class qualifying and it was the first time in wet conditions for him. Our team did great job in pitstops and we were fourth in the race so it was great to be competitive already in just our second race with the new car. Learning curve has been big with the car as well as carrying out the whole race with pitstop strategy.
What is the biggest advantages of having a Factory made TCR car instead of a custom built race car?
I would say that is somewhat simpler. Custom build car you find always advantages on some places and build things different and try different things. With factory car it is bit more about just setups and little tweaks what you can do. Also BoP keeps cars close to each other so it is competitively more on the driver’s side.
Your teammate Toni had a massive crash in Riga. Thank god, all is well with his health. But how big was the damage to the car and how hard was the process of rebuilding it?
It was a big crash and we understood right away – it was clear that season was over from our part and there was no rush to refurbish the car before we knew that Toni is OK. It is incredible how strong these cars are and safe. Car was rebuilt during the winter, but because COVID situation some last parts arrived only in Midsummer.
Thanks to Marshalls and organizers for all the help we got in accident and after that.
The car is ready, the team is ready. What are the plans for 2021 season?
Plan is to race BEC series. Hope we got full season in 2021!
The most important moments to be successful in Endurance racing?
There is a lot of focus on details and the team must ensure that the car lasts from race start to finish. The driver must also maintain a good level throughout the stints during the whole day. In Endurance, team action during the race is important and everyone needs to be up to date in their own role.
How could the endurance series attract more teams from Finland to get involved?
There is a plan in Finnish endurance series to add a new class where rules correspond to the BEC rules. I’ve heard that there are teams building cars already and there is coming competitors to the Baltic series also.