The steep learning curve continues for Kevin Gleason, who will venture out into yet more unfamiliar territory as the TCR International Series moves on to Spain’s Circuit de la Comunitat Valenciana Ricardo Tormo for Rounds 5 and 6 of the 2015 season (1-3 May).
There have been many challenges to overcome since departing on his voyage of discovery in the newly-founded TCR International Series, but the American ‘tin-top’ racer has acquitted himself well, sensationally grabbing the first ever TCR pole position in Malaysia and then rounding out a spectacular WestCoast Racing one-two-three finish last time out in China.
Having achieved so much on unfamiliar ground, Gleason is rightly confident that similar feats can be achieved as the TCR International Series makes its European debut at Circuit Ricardo Tormo near the port city of Valencia on Spain’s southeastern Orange Blossom Coast.
The modern motor racing venue – named in honour of Ricardo Tormo, the two-time 50cc Motorcycle World Champion whose promising career was cut short by a horrific testing accident in 1984 – was officially opened in 1999 and provides spectators with unobstructed views of the entire circuit from its many grandstands.
It has hosted some of the most prestigious championships on two and four wheels since its conception and Gleason is hopeful that with enough testing time he can master the circuit’s configuration and find his WestCoast Racing-prepared Honda Civic’s “ sweet spot”.
“Shanghai was a really successful weekend for WestCoast Racing as a whole and it’s really positive to get such strong results at this early stage of the season, as it shows that the team’s hard work really has paid off,” said Gleason. “Expectations were relatively low for Shanghai and yet a one-two-three result was achieved, so that really inspires confidence. I had faith in WestCoast Racing from the moment I started work with the team and, having spent two race weekends with them, my confidence has only grown.
“Of course, all of the circuits on the 2015 TCR International Series calendar are new to me, while other drivers might be familiar with them. It’s difficult to set any targets as a result and I’ll hopefully get some solid testing time to understand how the Honda Civic TCR is going to get on and find the car’s sweet spot. Since shaking down the car at Monza, we’ve taken positive strides with the car in terms of handling and driveability, but it’s still new to the team, Mugen and the drivers. We’re all on a big learning curve together.”
A pair of TCR International Series free practice sessions are scheduled for 9.00 and 14.00 CET on Friday (1 May), with additional test sessions at 10.00 and 12.30 CET the following day (Saturday 2 May).
The two-part qualifying session follows at 15.00 CET on Saturday, while Rounds 5 and 6 will take place at 12.35 and 14.05 CET respectively on Sunday (3 May).