2014 TM Master Cup Season Written Preview

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2014 TM Master Cup Season Written Preview

Post by RealRacingRoots on Wed Oct 08, 2014 4:21 am

TM Master Cup 2014: Dawn of the Next Generation?

The world of motorsports is one of constant evolution: new cars, new locations to race, new teams trying to strike it big, and new money bringing hope for better results in the new season. Through it all, each series has their pillars that stand tall through it all. The TM Master Cup series has Four-Time Champion Leonid Roderick, Team EFR stalwart in Scott Bates and the likes of Hodges-Walter and Volpi. But more than ever, the series has seen a raft of new-blood in its team and driver bases join the established armada. Will the new-blood shake up the established order, or will what remains of the old guard stand tall after 25 rounds of one of the most competitive tin-top series on the planet? Here is a team-by-team preview before the first round of the championship. (Because the video was just a glorified viewers guide,  ya lazy bugger)

Hodges-Walter - Carlton-Morel
Even with 4 pole positions and 3 victories to their name, 2013 will no doubt be called a disappointment for the Alan Hodges and Carl Walter run operation. Given that their main driver Adrien Devereux won two titles on the trot the two years before, anything but the title would be such. Unlike the two years before, the team began to stumble the closer they got to the end of the year with only one pole and win coming in the second half of the year. Whether that was down to less successful car updates, bad luck, or the drivers themselves is up to debate. The team has laid the best foundation for success with the Altair being one of the best cars on the grid, and two of the best drivers on the grid. Devereux is more than capable to rise above the luck that plagued his title run last year. This will be the first time that his new team mate, Mélanie Clévenot, will be in equipment that doesn't have a fundamental flaw. She has been mega quick since she leapt onto the scene in 2012 and the sky's the limit to her potential success. If she reaches that will be down to the team, and how much progress their rivals have made.

Volpi Racing
The other driver, besides Devereux, that got three wins last year is Leonid Roderick. But Roderick's bad fortunes were much worse than his rival from Hodges-Walter. Needless to say, the four-time champion won't be going down without a fight and Volpi needs to give him the car that can get him to the front early in the races, or else the upward climb Roddy might have to deal with might be too steep even for the 59-time race winner. However, Volpis second driver for 2014 provides much more than talent behind the wheel, which is what Volpi might need down the stretch. Allesandro Rosini drove for Tutino last year in a car that he had a major hand in designing, and it had provided the other Italian team with some of their best results to date. It is safe to say that Volpi has the weakest car of the major title protagonists, but Rosini could provide that little bit extra to put Volpi over the top, which may be what Roderick needed the whole time.

Lenard International
Created by ex-ALERT employees, the Lenard factory team sure has a lot to prove. Luciano Soverol and Jakob Kard have had turbulent 2013s and now find themselves at a new home in brand new machinery. In short, Soverol had a disaster of a 2013 campaign when his emotions got the best of him more often than not. Will that change with a new environment and new engineers is anyone's guess. Jakob Kard however, finally has a opportunity he can grab by the scruff of the neck; a full time seat in a promising new team that has factory backing from one of the biggest auto makers in America in Lenard. Will they win a race in 2014? Probably not,  unless Lenard used Power Steering Incorporated as a stepping-stone in building their new Cheyenne R20s. Regardless, their main rivals will be the Lycioas first and their goal for this year will be to find stable ground for their "passionate" drivers.

Gessler - Richter
While Devereux's title charge feel flat throughout the second half of 2013, Mattias Taube did the same when it mattered the most; a points lead of more that a race evaporated faster than it was solidified. The Gessler MTW13 was the best car down the stretch but Taube did everything in his power to lose the championship lead he worked so hard to build. His then teammate, Arto Kekkonen, finished one point behind Roderick but with two less wins to his name but 150 points behind the Swede. That should be more than enough motivation for the Finn to step up his game in 2014, if his new teammate Kevin Dwyer doesn't force him to step it up. Dwyer, like Clévenot, sees himself in some of the best equipment imaginable after tough campaigns in ill-handling Saars and under-powered Juneaus. Now he's got the best of both worlds and can easily be called a title contender. Does he crumble under the pressure like his predecessor? Does he even put himself in that situation in the first place? Wins are in his and Arto's future for this year, but maturity will be needed coming off one of the biggest self-destructions the TMMC has had in recent memory.

Lynxe - Gessler
To say that Lynxe over-performed in 2013 would be a understatement. One pole and two very popular wins, including a dominate 1-2 at Karjala, was way more than anyone expected coming out of the pre-season tests. While the Gessler power certainly did it's job, the chassis was too conservative to really have any hope of going after the title. The fact that Divina Henton and Mélanie Clévenot ended up with a combined 936 points by the end of the year is simply surreal to think about now.  Clévenot has since moved on and has been replaced by the equally quick Yuliya Nosova after she was unceremoniously dumped from her captaincy at Katzev. Two wins will be a huge ask this time around, as the mid-field have more than stepped up their game in the off-season, but these two very quick ladies will still surprise and seize a opportunity when it's given to them.

ALERT - Inglesby
The driver who ended up picking up the pieces in 2013 would by Michael Sykes. He won the championship with consistency  and winning when it was needed the most. Chris Davenport lacked consistency and won the one time he had consistency. Sykes is gone and now finds himself managing one of the biggest young-driver programmes on the planet and Davenport was not given an extension to the surprise of no one. In their places is the consistency ALERT need if they want to be in the title at the end of the year in Chris Johaanes and  Scott Steudler. Sykesy's shoes are some of the biggest to fill in the paddock, and these two are more than capable of doing so. With Inglesby-Unreliability being a thing of the past with the move to the Sonicboom a few years ago, it's now up to Johaanes and Steudler to bring the fight to their main rivals in Gessler and Hodges-Walter if two titles with two different drivers in two straight years wants to be in their future.

Katzev Engineering
With the move to a new technical regulations in 2012, Katzev found themselves as a darkhorse for podium results in races more often than not during the year and a half that followed. But when the money dried up in a big way part-way through last year, so did their success, and at the same time they sent their most successful driver in Nosova packing. If the second half of 2013 was a nose-dive in form, 2014 could be when the bottom falls out. That is, unless their drivers have something to say about it. Carlos Roqueta and Yevgeny Kuznetsov will no doubt surprise quite a few people this year with much more experience under their belts with the Columbian potentially being in the same position that Divina Henton was in last year. He does bring some money as well which could be more than enough to see Katzev get a win or two this year. As for Kuzzie, this has to be the year he puts his foot down by being more than just a popular driver, because popularity can only get you so far in racing.

Power Steering - Lycoia
It's good to see Kurt Plissken and PSI have stable ground, after trouble with James Dalton and Tonare they find themselves with a factory deal with loads of upside in Lycoia. The overshadowing downside that might haunt them for the foreseeable is that Lycoia's big brother Lenard has returned in a big way. PSI certainly don't sound like B-Team material and Kurt and returning teammate Greg Woodard have more than enough talent to trouble Lenard International. The Lycioa Interceptor is a car that has shown improvement throughout it's first year and has received a considerable refresh over the offseason, which is much more apparent than it's main rivals. This could be the year PSI breaks out of the mid-field where they have been a mainstay of for the longest time and put on a title charge previously thought unimaginable.

Manticore - Nemoto
Probably the most interesting thing Star Team Nemoto did last year was discontinue their factory team at the end of the year. They were easily the team that was lost in the shuffle that was the midfield last year, and clearly that wasn't enough success for the Japanese Auto-maker. The rights to the Nemoto Respetti have since moved on to Manticore Engineering who needed to do something major if they wanted move out of the doldrums of the back of the field. The Respetti is certainly a step-up over the M1A1 and Packer Caroll and Louis Kingston have a lot to prove after they lost their seats over the off-season. Kingston should have a easier start to the year after a year behind the wheel of the Nemoto and will provide plenty of data Manticore will need if they want to be relevant in the stretch-run. Packer, on the other hand, finds himself now with all the work to do if he wants to stay in the TM Master Cup. His 2013 was nothing short of a disaster and he now finds himself with a major task after almost "having it easy" with Volpi in 2013.

DeGarmo-Delgado - Lycoia
This  last year was tough for the American Devil Tom Delgado; the passing of his father, falling short in the ASCC and troubles with his own team have left their mark on Delgado over the last year. Last year as no doubt the lowest of lows for him, but he has made major strides to wipe those away from his conscious for 2014. Teaming up with one of the most dependable Team Principals and Owners in Owen Degarmo to start up a new TMMC teams is certainly a start. Hiring two drivers with plenty of upside in Tom Moore and Brandon Lareau could give the team a few surprise results. The big question mark for the team is the vehicle that Lareau and Moore will drive. The 2012.5 (?) Lycoia Brutes at their disposal will almost certainly hold them back right as they seem poised to rise above the chaos of the midfield.

Melrose - Wernström
Formula A team Melrose Racing Team certianly made a splash in 2013. Then driver Darren Cardel scored the biggest upset victory of the year at Ohio, scoring the first victory for the German Manufacture at the same time. A couple rounds earlier, Wernström factory driver Frederich Jaeger scored a shock pole position in Sweden before a untimely demise with a mechanical failure. This year MRT enter their first full-time attack on the championship with, without a doubt, one of the best driver pairings the series has seen in a long time in Mattias Taube and 4-Time Formula A Champion in Peter Short. Taube comes off of a disaster that was his final quarter of 2013 and comes to a new home with new optimism while Peter Short has shown optimism in his new relationship with long-time rival Daniel Melrose. Much like DeGarmo-Delgao, the big question mark for them will be in their machinery, with MRT using the Wernström 256. While the car has had significant upgrades since MRT became the Wernström factory TMMC team, their best results have come under dubious circumstances with Cardel having luck for the first time in his life and Jaeger running a extreme qualifying setup. It will be a trial by fire that I doubt Melrose knew was comi...  du%=$4 8@#;^¦§§¢

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Part 2 Coming Soon!


Last edited by RealRacingRoots on Thu Oct 09, 2014 6:22 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: 2014 TM Master Cup Season Written Preview

Post by Spannerhead29 (Nelson) on Wed Oct 08, 2014 12:00 pm

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Re: 2014 TM Master Cup Season Written Preview

Post by RealRacingRoots on Thu Oct 09, 2014 2:08 am

And we're back for the second part of this team-by-team preview for the 2014 TM Master Cup Series Season. We finished off with the new Melrose Racing Team and now continue with the return of Team Saar USA

Team Saar USA
It certainly didn't take long for Saar to realise that the ASCC wasn't all that it was cracked up to be. It wouldn't surprise me at all that they were planning to return to the TM Master Cup as soon as they arrived for the first race of the season in 2013. But considering their showing in 2012, a year off might as well been what they needed. The Carolina looks to be a dependable machine, which is all their two drivers, Joe Olenick and Cameron Taylor, really need if they want success. Olenick and Taylor are a pair of drivers that have done great work in terrible vehicles in the last few years and this is the opportunity that the both of them deserve. They probably won't win a race this year, but on their day they will upset the establishment.

Scuderia Tutino
2013 will be a year to remember for Tutino: numerous points finishes, another start at Decatur, and a brand new car that has brought much optimism for the Italian Underdog. For 2014, the reason that most of those happend in Allesandro Rosini has moved on to the top Italian team in Volpi. In his place comes Formula A Reject Benoit Voeckler after making a good impression with the team last year in their third car. But the Frenchman brings something that Tutino has never had in their existence, a huge sponsorship package. Initial reports say that Tutino's budget has at-least Tripled since the contract was signed in December, and apparently that is a conservative estimation. Will the team provide Benoit and the returning Ben Atkins the best car in the team's history? Given the low benchmark of the team, I doubt it won't be a stretch to see more success for them this year.

Team EFR
What can their be said for one of the most consistent and dependable teams in the TM Master Cup? Ian Cooper and Scott Bates are always just on the outside of the top 4 teams which leaves them primed to pick up the pieces when everything falls apart. The Journey MC90 they run has never been the best car on the grid, but it doesn't have to be. Scott Bates will win at Indianapolis once again with their superiority at the big oval and more success will follow as the team continues to operate like clockwork.

BlackDiamond - Tremwell
Gaspar De Sousa had a unbelievable first half of his 2013 season with BDR. While his pace never left in the second half, the upgrades for the Tremwell Knight dried up almost overnight. Have they picked up the slack in the off-season is anyone's guess. Replacing the MRT-bound Peter Short is perhaps a tougher team-mate for Gaspar in Zelda Ashby. If Ashby scored a astonishing 608 points for FPO last year, and the Tremwell is a better car than the Terminator, Ashby might find herself with another title charge in 2014. It is going to be up Ashby to overcome the potential shortcomings of the car once again if she, or Gaspar, wants success in any capacity.

Mitchell & Sons - Juneau
The Mitchell & Sons team is rather curious to me. It seems like they are perfectly happy with consistently getting 12 and 17th places in every round of the season. The engine inside of the Juneau is powered-down so it makes it to the finish, but it's pwoered down so they can't fight on the same level as the front runners. the new G14 seems like a step forward over the S3, but they'll still be in the fight for the lower points. TM Lights 2013 Drivers Champion Axel Andersson can and will over-perform the equipment that's given to him, there is little doubt that he'll do more than just finish 12th every race. His new teammate, however, will probably do everything in his power to finish below 17th. Chris Davenport now finds himself in a average vehicle after a year in the third best car at ALERT. To say he will have a troubled year is a major understatement, but the silver lining for the team will be their new star in Andersson.

Maximus Racing
How Alexis Rainsford got her hands on a Maximus Team shirt is way beyond me. The team has been dead-quiet since they were given an entry. While sometimes no news is good news as it shows that the team is busy working towards the start of the new season, sometimes you need news to show that you're actually alive. The only news out of the American team were the fact that they signed one driver in Azuma Kazeyama and had their cars do a shakedown test. Kazeyama has a herculean task ahead of him, trying to carry the team on his shoulders. Will they even make race 1 is up for debate, we will have to wait and see if they show up in California. The car appears to be the 2012 Gasnier Saphi, which spells a lot of trouble for them. Trevor Carrington tried to enter with 2 year old Carlton-Morel Corsars a few years back, and to say their year was a adventure would be putting it in the nicest way possible. In all probability, Maximus Racing will be in for the same roller-coaster in 2014.

Velocity Motorsports
While Maximus no-showed the pre-season test for good reason, as they elected to do the shakedown of the new cars at a track close to their factory, Velocity Motorsports didn't say a thing when their representative was asked the same question. The team look like they are in big trouble, and it looks like they won't even make the first race by a long-shot. They've sent out one render of their in-house car which shows they they are at least attempting to make something ambitious. Sometimes it is better to be conservative just so you can survive with your dignity intact, but Velocity have left themselves doomed to fail. Do they have drivers? No. Do they have sponsors? No, as far as we know. Are their cars ready for California? No. It's going to be a fight for Velocity Motorsports to stay alive in 2014, but if the car can do the equivalent of curing cancer, then one good result will all they need to soldier on into the future.

End of Season Championships and Awards
Drivers Champion: Mélanie Clévenot
Teams Champion: Volpi Racing
Independent's Trophy Champion: Ryan Matthews
Most Wins: Leonid Roderick (3)
Most Pole Positions: Kevin Dwyer (4)
Rookie of the Year: Carlos Roqueta
Reject of the Year: Yevgeny Kuznetsov
Karjala Grand Prix Winner: Greg Woodard
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