Tourism Minister Damien O’Connor gets tour of Manf
17 February 2007
Tourism Minister Damien O’Connor gets tour of Manfeild
The Minister of Tourism, Damien O’Connor, got the ride of his life today at Manfeild Park near Palmerston North.
Mr O’Connor, a long-time motorsport fan, was strapped into the innovative new two-seater race car built by the Toyota Racing Series organisation and became the first Government Minister to ever take to the track in a Toyota Racing Series “biposto” car.
The experience was three laps of Manfeild’s main 3.03 kilometre track, which will also be used today for the second and third races of the TRS race meeting. It was a different kind of “tour” for the Minister and one he had looked forward to for some time.
He was driven around the track by Ken Smith, who this year celebrates 50 consecutive years of open-wheeler racing but admitted some nerves at being the Minister’s chauffeur.
“I’d done a few laps here in a Formula Ford some time ago, but nothing could prepare you for this. The feel of the aerodynamics working, the power out of corners, and the braking forces going into the slower corners were amazing.”
The TRS two-seater, like all TRS race cars, runs on an E85 biofuel made of ethanol derived from whey, a dairy byproduct. It was conceived, developed and built in Auckland and runs a longer version of the TRS race car chassis. In all other respects it is identical with the single-seaters used by the series.
The Toyota Racing Series continues today with a 12-lap race at 11:20 am and the feature event, the 20 lap Dan Higgins Trophy, at 3:20 pm.