The performance and handling of the new FT50 on-track impressed two-time Toyota Racing Series winner Nick Cassidy when he tested the car in Italy earlier this week. Cassidy says the car is an exciting step up from the outgoing model. “It was a great privilege to be able to drive the new car and I’m very impressed by its performance and handling from this first track session,” he said.
Cassidy drove the car at Adria International Raceway near Venice in Italy. On its track debut the car completed 40 laps. Following initial installation laps, the main focus of the day was on tuning the all new and category-first paddle gearshift system.
With extensive experience in European single seater categories to compare the FT 50 to, Cassidy acknowledged the success of the build.
“To be able to roll out of the garage for the shakedown and complete the day without trouble was impressive. Not many all-new race cars have such a great debut test,” he said. The test was attended by Category Manager Barrie Thomlinson, Toyota New Zealand Motorsport Manager Steve Boyce and Motorsport Electronics’ Richard Moss. Steve Boyce said the New Zealand contingent had been present for the final build and first engine fire-up prior to the test day.
“This is a very exciting moment for us and our initial impressions of the new car are sensational.”
Mr Boyce says the FT50 includes a range of new features and substantial technology upgrades that make it “truly a car of the future and a significant step for young drivers seeking experience in a leading ‘wings and slicks’ category”.
“This is a ‘clean sheet’ design that has involved hundreds of hours of computer design work to perfect its aerodynamics, downforce, drag and cooling. Significant technology upgrades start with an all new aerodynamic design, drive-by-wire throttle control and electronic gear shifting by steering-wheel ‘paddle’ controls,” he said.
The FT50 is built by Tatuus and the only core component common to the new car and the outgoing FT40 is the proven Toyota 2ZZ-GE 1.8-litre engine. The transmission is a new six speed Sadev transaxle with integrated limited slip differential.
The car’s wheel track is wider at front and rear and it features a new dual-damper front suspension with anti-roll bar.
The FT50 has been designed to meet current FIA safety standards with rear impact crush structure, driver cockpit head protection and wheel tethers.
Inside the cockpit, gearshift is by paddle-shifters mounted on the new steering wheel, which also features a colour driver display with four user-selectable pages to give more information to the driver and team.
Category manager Barrie Thomlinson says the new car is “simply stunning”.
“Tatuus have delivered us a beautiful car which we can all be very proud of, the teams and drivers can look forward to facing a new challenge as we look to the future. As always we remain 100 per cent focused on our core mission of developing young drivers’ skills in the cockpit and this car will enable us to continue to do so.”
A range of images of the car during final build and testing is available at the Toyota Racing New Zealand Facebook page, www.facebook.com/ToyotaRacingNZ