Tuesday, April 10, 2018
Driving charity Speed Of Sight and Landsail Tyres have launched a new partnership for 2018.
The Manchester-based organisation uses specially adapted high-performance cars to offer track day experiences for individuals with disabilities, including the blind and partially sighted. Landsail will support SOS in fundraising efforts and at awareness events.
Landsail will also provide tyres for its vehicles, which include a powerful unique kit car. Resembling a Caterham Seven, it has been adapted with dual controls including two steering wheels to allow disabled drivers to drive at race-speeds in tandem with an instructor.
Trusted by millions, Landsail offers one of the widest ranges of tyre sizes and types in the UK and will also run special limited discount offers in conjunction with Speed Of Sight during the partnership.
Speed Of Sight Charity CEO Mike Newman, who was born blind and holds the world record for the fastest speed driven by a man blindfolded (200.51mph) and the fastest speed piloting a boat blindfolded (93.58mph) said that the support of Landsail was very important to the charity’s work.
“I have always loved speed - and in particular being in control of speed,” he said. “But as a blind person feeding that passion is challenging.
“What Speed Of Sight does is make it much easier for individuals who may not be able to independently experience high-speed driving to enjoy the thrill of a track day.
“Having the support of an organisation like Landsail Tyres, which really understands what we are doing and more importantly, why we are doing it, is important. The nature of life is that to run a charity like this there are costs to meet and equipment we need.
“Partnering with Landsail, a brand that truly gets what our mission is, is a great step for us because we are working with a business that shares our goals.”
Peter Cross, Landsail’s UK Commercial Manager, said: “The opportunity to join forces with Speed Of Sight was one we simply couldn’t ignore.
“It is hard to imagine how it feels to want to feel the thrill of speed, the power of controlling a vehicle, without ever being able to do it.
“By supporting Speed Of Sight we hope to play a part in helping more disabled people break down that barrier and enjoy an experience that most people take for granted.”
Wednesday, July 26, 2017
The Landsail all-new all season tyre 4-Seasons was introduced around one year ago in direct response to the growing demand for a versatile tyre range that can cope with both summer and winter driving conditions.
The Landsail 4-Seasons All Weather PCR pattern offer twenty five sizes across two pattern options in both the car and commercial market sectors and incorporates a number of important features and benefits including a unique tread design that has been specially created to further enhance driver confidence in all weather road surfaces.
Additionally the tread pattern incorporates built in special inner blocks with an extensive level of wave stereoscopic sipes to reassuringly maintain absolute rigidity on the road as well as complete control and highly impressive tractive performance in harsh winter conditions including ice, snow and rain. Whilst computer optimised tread pattern pitches greatly reduce noise levels to ensure a quiet and comfortable drive.
Finally three wide longitudinal drainage grooves complete with a multiple cross pattern design guarantees increased dispersement of water, snow and slush plus a large outside block pattern gives an impressive level of rigidity and a high standard of overall steering performance.
The new Landsail All Season range presents an extremely versatile option in this increasingly competitive market and represents the very latest tyre from Landsail who have swiftly emerged as the UK and Ireland's best selling budget brand. The range is currently available in sizes from 175/70R14 up to 225/45R17 in 45, 55, 60, 65 and 70 series.
For additional information on the Landsail 4 Seasons range call Landsail Tyres on 08444 939000.
Sunday, November 27, 2016
We released a story last year about Sentury Tyres, Landsail’s parent company, opening a new factory in Thailand - now that factory is fully operational and the first batch of tyres have arrived in the UK and Ireland.
You may have noticed a few tiny changes in the EU Tyre Label scores for a few sizes (nearly all positive) - this is due to subtle changes in the processes in production machinery at the new plant.
In addition to newly opened Thai factory, Sentury has also announced plans to build a $530 million consumer tyre plant in the USA. The plant, to be located in Georgia, is anticipating production to start in 2018 and will build up to a projected manufacturing capacity of 12 million passenger and light truck tires taking Sentury’s total capacity to 37 million tyres a year with all three facilities.
Sunday, November 27, 2016
After the recent success of the relaunch in Northern Ireland, the Magowan Tyres Wholesale team are hoping to replicate in the Republic of Ireland with a concentrated sales push.
Jonny Douglas, Sales Manager at MT Wholesale says “With a new strategy and new branding for Landsail, it makes sense to push the brand a lot more. It’s the leading budget brand on the market with good EU label scores and we’re backing it up with great support for our dealers.”
MT Wholesale are also planning on using Landsail to expand their dealer network in southern Ireland. In October, members of Magowan Wholesale and Landsail Tyres came together to exhibit at the Auto Trade Expo in Ireland.
Jonny says “With dealers coming to the show from all over and the very competitive offering Landsail provides, we’re sure to grow the brand and its awareness in Ireland.”
Sunday, November 27, 2016
Ian Gore, Owner of Bold Tyre Centre in St Helens has been in the motor trade for nearly 20 years, covering nearly all aspects including sales, service, mot, repairs and tyres.
After owning and operating various motor services sites, Ian decided to specialise in tyres, an area he enjoyed most and felt he could excel in. He opened Newton Tyre in 2011 and a few years later, expanded and merged it into a bigger site in Bold, St Helens.
From tyre fitting, repairs and balancing to computerised wheel alignment, Bold Tyre Centre caters to nearly all vehicles including cars, 4x4’s, vans, caravan, and HGV’s and have earned a reputation based on their quality to be contracted fitters for Nissan’s GTR range and a local supercar dealership to name a few.
Bold Tyre Centre’s success can be attributed to the team’s one simple rule: putting their customers first and going the extra mile whenever required. Ian and his team know a good tyre when they see it which is why they’ve been selling Landsail Tyres for nearly five years and have never looked back.
Ian says “As a brand, I cannot praise it enough. There’s a number of tyre brands on the market that offer consumers performance without the big price tag but for us, Landsail stands out head and shoulders above the rest. We very often get customers favourably comparing Landsail to premium brands and deciding to stick with them for their future tyre purchases.”
“The brand’s given us a large loyal customer base who are happy with the product and not only return to us, but recommend us to others and we’re very grateful to them. Our goals are to keeping building and growing upon the solid foundations we have made with the continued hard work and dedication of our fantastic team to further solidify our reputation as a customer focused company.”
For more information on how to become a Landsail Performance Centre, contact your GroupTyre account manager.
Sunday, November 27, 2016
Days are starting to get shorter and colder so it’s time to start thinking about winter tyres. It’s common knowledge for fitters, but most of the general public don’t realise the importance of winter tyres. They’re not just for snowy and icy condition, but for any conditions in temperature below 7° celsius.
Landsail’s winter range is a great affordable choice for all drivers in the UK and consists of the Winter Lander, Winter Star and Snow Star.
The Winter Lander is designed for the PCR market and delivers excellent performance in cold snowy conditions. It features an advanced winter grip compound for enhanced traction, a V-shaped tread pattern to evacuate water and special snow traction grooves and sipes for superior snow bite.
The Winter Star is a high performance tyre designed specifically for SUV’s and 4x4’s. With a cold weather silica compound, an advanced shoulder design and 3D sipes, the Winter Star offers improved traction and braking in the depths of winter.
For commercial van drivers, the Snow Star delivers grip, durability and performance in demanding conditions. It’s saw tooth lateral grooves maximise grip force and maintain handling while the progressive shoulder design provides robust traction when cornering. For more information on Landsail’s winter range, contact your business development manager or our sales department.
Monday, November 14, 2016
Landsail held a special corporate day with the help of Sion Ellis, their sponsored rally driver in various Welsh series, where a handful of key local dealers were invited to the Forest Experience Rally school in Powys, Wales to have a taste of rallying.
Everyone had a chance to go around the course with an instructor but the highlight of the event was a fast and exhilarating stage as a passenger with Sion behind the wheel of his Landsail Tyres Nissan Sunny GTi.
In the Welsh Rally series, Dolgellau’s Sion faced disappointment at the weekend as his championship hopes went up in smoke at the Winner Garage Wyedean Stages based in the Forest Of Dean.
With only a finish required to take the ANWCC Forest Rally Championship, Ellis and Chester-based Dan Nieroda took the Landsail Tyres-backed Nissan Sunny to Mitcheldean for the season finale of both the ANWCC and Welsh Rally Championships. “We only need to finish to take the title and a good result will also help with our class position in the Welsh Championship.” Explained Ellis.
Overnight rain left the gravel roads of the Forest of Dean in a very difficult condition as the pair lined up for the first stage. With a focus on a finish, a steady run through the slippery stage saw the Blendline Apparel supported pairing hold a comfortable position overall, but disaster was to strike on the first corner of the second stage.
A few hundred yards into the second stage a brake line was to burst under the car, forcing the crew to drive at a reduced pace but worse was to come as the brake fluid was leaking onto the hot exhaust resulting in smoke and a small fire underneath the car. Pulling up on the stage, Ellis and Nieroda extinguished the fire and went to work finding a solution to fix the brake lines. Working on the car in the forest, the AutoMax prepared Nissan Sunny was soon on its way again but the effort was to be in vain as the team ended up with too many time penalties and out of the event.
“It is very disheartening; the car is ready to continue but we have gone over our allowed lateness. We still take second in the ANWCC Forest Championship and second in our class for the Welsh Championship.” Said Nieroda at the rally-base in Mitcheldean. “We have to say thanks to everyone who have helped us on the events and in the workshop, we’re still pleased to have achieved what we have this year and we’re now looking at plans for 2017.”
Friday, September 23, 2016
Last Friday, the north-west corner of Wales held the final round of the British Drift Championship at Anglesey. The circuit is located right on the coastline and gives some great views from where it is situated, the only downside to this place is you never really know what weather you’re going to get.
Saturday morning. the drovers woke up to bright sunshine but the temperature didn’t match how it looked. The track only featured two corners and four clipping points but that didn’t make it any less challenging because of the high speed entry and first corner down into a tight second hairpin.
Wayne’s first few runs in practice were spoilt by yellow flags and his next run resulted in the auxiliary belt coming off mid corner and which prevented him finishing the run. He limped the car back to the pits to rectify the issue, fit a new belt and headed back out for the rest of practice.
The car was feeling great and this meant it was easier for me to run the line the judges had asked for. A couple of sets of tyres and an hour later, that was the end of the practice session so the car was prepped for Sunday.
The practice session went without issue for Wayne who was happy that he was getting the best out of himself and the car. After a quick refuel and new set of tyres, Wayne headed out for qualifying.
“I put my first run in and it felt good from in the car and after the run I got a message say it was good enough for 2nd place at the time with 6 more cars to go. By the time my second run came round I was sitting in 2nd place and guaranteed a top 8 place so had no pressure on my next run I pushed harder than my first run as there was nothing to lose and I scored better than the first but not enough for top spot and after all the cars had qualified I dropped down a place to 3rd.”
For the second round running, Wayne qualified top 8 which meant he was straight in the main event without having to take part in sudden death battles. His first battle was against Matt Carter from Team Japspeed who had won his sudden death battle to make it to the top 16.
A slight drizzle started coming down as Wayne and Matt sat waiting but it didn't seem to be enough for anyone to start altering tyre pressures or anything.
“When it came to our battle, just as we set off from the line the drizzle got a bit harder but as we initiated into the first corner the initial grip was ok then all of a sudden it went and it was like being on ice. I managed not to spin but because of the amount of angle the car had it put me massively off line.”
“For the second run I was chase car and this time I thought I knew what to expect but the levels of grip had changed and where there was a bit before, there wasn't this time and I caught the tyre wall with the rear of my car which caused me to straighten and at that point I knew I had lost the battle unfortunately and that was the end of my day.”
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank all my sponsors for their support over the year and without them it wouldn't have been possible for me to compete in the British Drift Championship.”
Even with a few car problems this year, Wayne managed to finish the British Drift Championship season in a solid 8th place. The real challenge for Wayne will come later this year as he's soon to become a father.
Thursday, August 25, 2016
Wayne Keeber had a great weekend at the Lydden Hill British Drift Championship giving one of his best performances.
Wayne says "There was a slight change of layout this time for Lydden as the track was to be run in reverse which has been done once before and personally I prefer it in reverse. It's a more challenging and technical layout which makes the drivers work harder to run the line the judges wanted to see. I'm always up for a challenge and was looking forward to this one."
Also for this round the format was changed due to time restrictions and this meant that a majority of our practice was on Saturday instead of all being Sunday.
"Practice for me was really good, I felt good in the car and was loving the track layout as it was rewarding the brave drivers as a fast and on the edge entry was needed to be able to make the track work. I was happy with how practice went and was looking forward to qualifying and battles on Sunday."
On Sunday morning the drivers had a final 30 minute practice which was used to check track conditions as there had been rain overnight but there was no real change from the previous day. After practice it was qualifying and Wayne was confident of a decent result but it is always going to be hard to achieve due to the quality of the driving in BDC this year.
With only two runs in qualifying, Wayne's first was a good banker run which put him in 6th position initially with 7 or 8 drivers still to do their runs. He dropped a wheel in the dirt on the final corner which may of resulted in a slight reduction in points but wouldn't impact his overall score too much. For his second run, Wayne was able to push a little harder knowing that he had definitely qualified and he improved on his first run even though he caught the dirt again in the same place. Wayne managed to score higher than his first and ended up qualifying in 7th - his best of the year. Being in the top 8 it meant Wayne would sit out the sudden death battles which determines the second half of the top 16 battles.
Into the top 16 and Wayne's first battle was against Adam Simmons in his Skyline R33 from Slide Motorsport. Wayne started as the lead car in the first run and managed to keep a good lead. Adam called a 5 minute rule between runs due to his aux belt coming off, with this fixed they lined back up and this time Wayne was chasing. He kept as close as he could to Adam and the judges awarded him the win.
The next battle was to be against ex champion Matt Carter from Team Japspeed. This one was going to be hard as Matt is regarded as one of the best in the UK. Matt was lead car for the first run and although Wayne had a good chase, a slight mistake gave Matt the advantage. In Wayne's lead run, he couldn't shake Matt off which meant Matt progressed to the next battle and Wayne was knocked out.
Wayne says "I wasn't disappointed however as I had the best weekend I've had for a while and added some more decent points on the board. This means I'm up to 6th in the championship with one more round to go at Anglesey in Wales which is also going to be a new layout this year. I hope I can carry this good weekend onto the final round and have a strong finish to the year."
Catch Wayne at the final BDC event in Anglesey on the 17th and 18th of September.
Thursday, August 4, 2016
In response to the growing demand for All Season tyres across Europe, Landsail have launched their new 4-Seasons tyre. Available in the UK and Ireland exclusively through Grouptyre, the 4-Seasons is now available in a range of 25 sizes across two patterns covering both car and commercial sectors.
Both patterns incorporate a number of impressive features and benefits including a unique tread design specially created to give drivers confidence in all weather conditions. The tread pattern includes special inner blocks providing an extensive amount of wave stereoscopic sipes to effectively maintain rigidity on the road and guarantee complete control and impressive tractive performance in winter conditions such as rain, ice and snow.
At the same time, the computer optimised tread pattern pitches efficiently reduce noise levels giving a quiet and comfortable drive. Three wide longitudinal drainage grooves coupled with the tyres’ multiple cross pattern design guarantees increased dispersal of water, slush and snow, whilst the large outside block pattern ensures sufficient rigidity as well as a high standard of overall steering control.
In effect, the Landsail 4-Seasons All Weather PCR tyre offers a very versatile option and the range is currently available in sizes from 175/70R14 through to 225/45R17 in 45, 55, 60, 65 and 70 series.
Thursday, August 4, 2016
Landsail has recently undergone a brand refresh to add further proof of the quality of the product that’s derived from their industry leading manufacturing plant. The new brand identity will be aimed at both the trade and the public and will re-affirm Landsail’s position as the smart choice, by showcasing their exceptional value for money.
With a range now spanning over 250 sizes, including their latest venture into the all season market, Landsail tyres offer comprehensive coverage for the UK market.
What makes Landsail quality so special is the cutting edge factory they’re built in. With a fully autonomous production line, the Landsail factory is what’s considered a revolutionary, Industry 4.0 factory with the entire plant working as one unit with very limited input from human engineers.
The results of this are tyres produced in an extremely efficient manner, which when paired with Grouptyre’s focus on supply chain cost reduction, means that high quality products can be offered at consumer friendly pricing.
Working with brand agency, Row-A, Landsail has repositioned to reflect its high-tech, industry leading manufacturing processes, with a look and feel inspired by and utilising high-tech film visual effects; underpinned by a new proposition ‘Driving Innovation’. This highlights the unique benefits of Landsail, as well as giving the brand significant stand-out against not only economy tyres, but brands at a higher price point.
Thursday, August 4, 2016
Trevor Brock was in the tyre industry for 17 years before he decided to start his own business with a partner selling car and agricultural tyres. Over 23 years later, and Wymondham Tyres are one of the top tyre fitters in town, focusing completely on new car tyres.
Wymondham Tyres also provide related services like wheel alignments and have a wide range of accessories and parts for your vehicle including exhausts and batteries.
With so many years of experience, Trevor and his team know a good tyre when they see one so they’ve been selling Landsail tyres for over four years now.
Trevor says “We had a lot of economy brands before but none have stuck like Landsail. It’s a good tyre, both in terms of performance and price and the fact that it has a large range from super-mini to luxury SUV means it’s good to keep on the shelf.
“We get two kind of customers here: ones with the money and preference for premium and others who just want a good reliable tyre, AKA a Landsail. I’ll even go as far to say they’re the best economy tyres we’ve ever sold.”
Thursday, August 4, 2016
One of our Grouptyre distributors, Oak Tyres, has added a new fleet of eleven Landsail delivery vans to their already 100-strong fleet of vans to help increase brand awareness for Landsail. The new vans will be split among Oak’s warehouse locations in Haydock, Trafford, Washington and Leeds.
Mark Hurst, Fleet & Transport Manager said: “Not only will the new vans will help bring more efficiency to our operations but they’ll also bring valuable brand recognition for Landsail Tyres to the areas in which they operate. The added capacity in addition to the tracking software will mean we’ll be able to provide even better service to our customers.”
Wednesday, July 27, 2016
The sun was shining and the tyres were smoking as Wayne and his Toyota Soarer thrashed the Teesside Autodrome course for the British Drift Championships on July 16th and 17th.
An unfortunate misfire popped up during practice which caused Wayne and his team to leave practice to replace the spark plugs. The misfire reappeared in the next practice and the team diagnosed it as potentially the ignition coil breaking down when it got too hot. Letting the car cool down worked and Wayne managed to qualify for the sudden death battles.
Wayne says ”My battle would be against Gaz Taylor in his s14a, I was chase car for the first run and it was a clean mistake free run but I struggled to match Gaz's pace due to grip. The second run saw me leading but again due to a slight grip advantage, Gaz was able to stay slightly closer to me than I could him which gave him to win. I was happy to make it to battles and the weekend's result altogether given the car issue and missing most of practice to be able to set the car up better. “
Wayne’s toughest challenge this year is just around the corner and it’s not drifting as he and his girlfriend are expecting a baby at the end of the drift season in early November. Congratulations Wayne!
Tuesday, July 12, 2016
Dolgellau’s Sion Ellis drove with the championship in mind on the weekend’s Nicky Grist Stages as he now continues to lead his class, category and the overall standings of the ANWCC Championship.
With stand-in navigator Siobhan Pugh alongside, Ellis headed to Builth Wells where the Welsh and ANWCC competitors were joined by the elite of the British Rally Championship for the event run in the forests of Crychan, Halfway, Route 60 and Monument.
An opening loop of four stages was to see Ellis take the Landsail Tyres supported Nissan Sunny to 52nd overall after a tricky morning in the damp and misty forests. “It’s really difficult out there, the stages have cut up meaning we’re losing traction in the rough sections. The AutoMax boys are having to change some damaged suspension components already.” Said Ellis.
Heading out for the afternoon loop, a repeat of the first, the stages were to suffer more damage to the roads leading to Ellis and Pugh taking the decision to get the Morris Lubricants backed Nissan to the finish of the event. “With the positions we hold in the championship, it would have been silly to cause more damage to the car and risk more valuable points.” Explained Ellis. “We dropped time in the afternoon costing us some places but the car is still in one piece and we continue to lead the ANWCC series.”
Ellis ended the event 56th overall and now leads the Overall, Two-Wheel-Drive and class championships while also maintain his class podium position in the Welsh Rally Championship. The result also gives Pugh the lead in the FMP Challenge.
Wednesday, July 6, 2016
Dolgellau’s Sion Ellis heads to Mid-Wales this weekend, as his Welsh and ANWCC Rally Championship campaign takes him to the Nicky Grist Stages, held in the forests around the Epynt Military Ranges.
The Landsail Tyres backed driver looks to strengthen his championship lead within the ANWCC series and also build on his third position in class for the Welsh Championship having missed the previous round last month. “Finances and time constraints forced us to miss the last round of the Welsh, but fortunately we didn’t lose too much ground to our championship competitors.” Said Ellis.
Ellis will be joined by Siobhan Pugh for the Nicky Grist Stages, as usual navigator Dan Nieroda has Formula One commitments. Pugh guided Ellis earlier in the year when the pair took a class win on the Mid-Wales Stages, “We get on well with Siobhan, she has experience with many drivers in many cars and we both really like this event. The stages are fast and flowing so should suit our car.” Explained Sion. “The event runs with the British Rally Championship this year too, so there will be a good amount spectator’s out on the stages.”
Setting off from the Royal Welsh Showground in Builth Wells, the Morris Lubricants supported Nissan Sunny GTi will be joined by the best drivers in the country as the British Rally Championship will also feature on the event. Ellis said, “It’s great to be part of the top championship in the country against the best drivers. Obviously their cars are more powerful (and expensive!) compared to our Nissan but we will be focusing on our own rally.”
Images courtesy of ni:media, please credit if used.
Wednesday, June 29, 2016
The track layout at Driftland was awesome and allowed for some close twinning and having the concrete wall to rub was added bonus. Initial thoughts seeing the track layout were that that the high powered Soarer might struggle with it being a technical track it actually worked really well.
Saturday, everyone had a short practice session in which Wayne Keeber only managed 2 runs due to an oil leak on the turbo. Sunday, there was two and a half hours practice before qualifying and all day there was a threat of rain which none of the drivers wanted. Wayne was happy with how practice went.
Wayne says "I was ready for my two qualifying runs, the first run was a nothing spectacular but a relatively safe run. On the second run, I pushed it a little more and it felt a better overall run but a small dirt drop lost me a couple points."
Wayne qualified 15th which meant he made it to the main show. His first battle in sudden death was against his team-mate Olly, which he ended up winning and moved onto the top 16. The next battle was in the top 16 battle and against his best mate and sponsor Marc Huxley but whilst waiting for our battle the weather changed and the rain started to fall. A quick change of tyre pressures to try and compensate for the rain but grip levels were a complete unknown.
Waynes says "I chased Hux for the first run but it was so slippy that it resulted in a spin from Hux and as long as I didn’t do the same on my lead run I had a pretty good advantage to take the win. The rain continued to fall and on my top 8 battle against Gary Dunne I just didn’t have enough grip dialled into the car which meant Gary was able to take the win."
All in all it was a good day for Wayne and his Soarer which finished in the top eigher and are currently sitting joint sixth in the British Drift Championship.
Wednesday, May 18, 2016
Friday, April 15, 2016
Dave Lovatt started working for Jack Saxon and his Biddulph based tyrefitter business when he was a young lad. Dave bought the place off Jack in 1989 and for the past 26 years, has continued providing a great customer experience for local drivers.
Not only does Saxon Tyres fit tyres but it also does full services including oil changes, brake replacement, wheel alignment and balancing, light vehicle repairs and more.
Saxon Tyres have been a Landsail Performance Tyre Centre since last year and have become a brand advocate.
Dave says “Landsail tyres are at the top of their class, no other budget brand comes close. Not everyone drives like Lewis Hamilton or has his kind of money which is why Landsail make sense for most drivers.
“We’ve had no problems whatsoever with Landsail tyres. They fit great, last long and are a great value. We’ve actually had people come back to us saying they’ve gotten better motorway mileage on Landsails than on their previous name brands. “
“The signage and the POS look great as well and it definitely makes the brand easier to sell to customers.”
As a Landsail Performance Centre, Saxon Tyres benefits from the full dealer package including bespoke POS material and signage, branded uniforms, preferential pricing and a special incentive and reward scheme.
Wednesday, April 13, 2016
A new year, new cars, new drivers and new organisers running the British Drift Championship in the way of Brian Egan and his team from IDC. With this they bring the drivers new challenges in a bid to push the BDC higher and further within the sport.
For Wayne the off season required a new engine as his old one failed at its final outing in the Toyota Soarer last year. The guys at GBH Motorsport replaced it with a forged 1JZ which means a power improvement from 347bhp to 632bhp and also added a BMW e46 M3 gearbox to make changing gears easier.
Round 1 at Lydden Hill would be Wayne's first drive since October last year and with nearly 300 more horsepower in the Soarer. The Friday was Pro-Ams competition day but Wayne and the other Pros had a half hour practice which was useful to help bed himself back in and give the car a shakedown before the main event on Saturday. The practice session was dry and although he only managed three runs, it was enough for Wayne to feel the difference in power over what he'd been used to for the previous couple of seasons. Fortunately, the car ran faultlessly with no dramas or issues to worry about overnight.
On Saturday, the weather had changed from warm and sunny to cold, gloomy and wet which wasn't ideal as Wayne was still getting use to the car. One thing different to previous seasons was that the initiation was open and the driver could decide how he wanted to initiate. This meant that there would be a variety of different things tried by the drivers.
Once the briefing was over we had 3 hours of practice time to get use to the tricky wet conditions, try out which initiation works best and looks the coolest. There was enough rain falling that it created a river running across the track on entry to the first corner, which would catch quite a few out and would end up with them visiting the gravel trap.
Wayne says, "My first few runs were for me to get use to the car in the wet, once I was happy I concentrated on my initiations and tried different things which ended up with me choosing a clutch kick weight transfer method. The rest of the session was spent getting the right line and hitting all the clipping points."
The rain was still falling as qualifying started and ultimately got to Wayne in the first run as he did a half spin and managed to score now points. This meant the pressure was on Wayne to get a score on the board for his second run. Wayne adds "Whilst waiting for my run I was thinking: do I play a little safe to get a score or do I risk another zero. I decided the latter and just went for it, this time the Toyota stuck and I was able to get a score which put me 14th and in the main show and qualified for the battles. I was well happy with this result considering I hadn't driven for so long and the first time I'd driven the car with totally different characteristics to when I last drove it."
"In the first battle round, I was against Jordan Patton in his R34 Skyline and again no practice run so straight into battle and although still slippy the track seemed to offer a little more grip than in qualifying. I led first and felt it was a good run and then during the chase run I made a little mistake but I had done enough to win sudden death and make it into the top 16."
"My first top 16 battle was against Phil Morrison in his mighty AE86 and he had been on form all day pulling off backwards entries. Phil led the first run and went big on initiation but then the car straightened and he had to re-initiate only to have a spin on the next corner which is an uncharacteristic mistake for Phil. I sat on the start line waiting for the second run but Phil heads back to the pits on a 5 minute rule as the car was clearly having some issues. Phil was unable to fix his car which gave me the win and into top 8 but would of rather won or lost on the track.."
"My top 8 battle would be against Simon Perry in his R35 GTR, I would be chase car for the first run and into the second corner I made a mistake which caused me to straighten and hand a big advantage to Simon. For the second run, all I could do was drive my line and hope Simon made a mistake but he's been around long enough that it very rarely happens. That's where my day came to an end but I am so happy how the car performed straight out the box, couldn't have asked for anything better."