The recently concluded inaugural Tata Prima T1 Truck Racing Championship saw Tata Technologies field their own team in the series. We spoke to Patrick McGoldrick, Managing Director and CEO of Tata Technologies about the brand’s involvement in the championship.
What has Tata Technologiesâ€™ contribution been to the Tata Prima T1 Racing Trucks?
With regard to the Prima line, we have been working with Tata Motors since the beginning, they started that in 2008, so we have been working on every aspect of that. Itâ€™s an amazing vehicle. You donâ€™t see too many of them in India. Theyâ€™re mostly sold outside of India, because that is the next generation. Itâ€™s quite an exciting truck.
But in terms of specific modifications to the race trucks?
We had people involved with it and regardless of whether we sponsored a team, or whether we didnâ€™t sponsor a team, we would be involved in the modifications. But the modifications are strictly by the British standard. Itâ€™s not us coming in and doing something like in F1 – where you work with an F1 team and you do something different in the Williams team than you would in the Ferrari team. But all these trucks are the same in this case.
What prompted Tata Technologies to sponsor a team in the series?
Actually, I got a call from Tata Motors and they said weâ€™re planning to do this, would you be interested? And I said â€˜Absolutely!â€™. And they said youâ€™re not going to ask how much is it? And I said â€˜How much is it?â€™ and they told me and I said â€˜Absolutely!â€™. Itâ€™s not the money, itâ€™s the fact that – Iâ€™ve been coming to India for the last 30 years. Trucks are a part of life. You look at the trucks we see on the road, the Prima is the next generation. In India it is usually the fleet owner who buys a bunch of trucks and then hires drivers. You go to a place where the Prima is sold, like Korea, and their owner-drivers. He buys the truck, he lives in it, his family may come and stay with him for a while, he has to have all the comforts. Itâ€™s that kind of a truck, the Prima. Bringing it here, putting it on a track, having it race, would draw attention to the truck and to the drivers. So all the trucks are basically the same. Itâ€™s going to come down to the drivers and the events that happen over the course of the race. Itâ€™s the first time in the world that 12 trucks of the same make have raced against each other. So itâ€™s also another piece of history. This was also a way to launch our brand into something that we were also doing – as Tata Technologies Motorsports.
Did you have your pick of drivers?
We didnâ€™t have a pick, but weâ€™re very happy with the drivers that we got – David Jenkins and Brian Burt. The feedback theyâ€™ve given me is that the trucks were very surprising to them in how responsive they were and how they drove. Very very good.
Can we expect Tata Technologies to continue their association with the racing series?
I hope so. Thereâ€™s a word you have in India – â€˜yatraâ€™. Itâ€™s a journey. So, the fun is doing it.
Do you think going racing will change the way people view Tata Technologies as a brand?
Maybe. I think itâ€™s more about the trucks and Tata Motors. Our brand, maybe it will help to some degree. It canâ€™t be bad!
How involved is Tata Technologies with other aspects of motorsport?
I think weâ€™re very interested in motorsport. And thereâ€™s more to come. We were involved in Formula 1 in the past. We have employees who are racecar drivers. And thereâ€™s some interesting things that will happen soon.