Japan meets France To finish first, first you must finish. On Thursday, January 15, truer words had never been spoken. A special TPRA News this week as we get some big quotes from some of the drivers who participated in week two of ‘Mixed nuTTTz’ Thursdays at Circuit de la Sarthe in France! First, we have the winner of Race A, SSRacing69, “A battle of attrition for sure! It wasn't a question of 'if' you were going to crash but rather 'how many times'. I don't think any of us made it through unscathed. I hit the wall once, the sand once and had a lengthy 'tank slapper' that I survived but still cost a bunch of time.” When you hear a driver like SSRacing69 talking about all the mistakes he made, you know it was a tricky race. This guy normally sticks a car to the track like glue, so to hear him talk about how many times he left the black stuff leaves you wondering what problems others had. So we move onto to series creator and winner last week, ‘nuTTTz’, “The beginning laps were the most exciting for me, SSRacing in front of me, windfire behind, felt like a side of beef hung between a lion and a tiger. Sure enough, excitement got the better of me and I started trying to make inside 'under braking' moves on SS, to my surprise I made a pass and took off in the lead like a Gazelle with two Cheetahs chasing me and, sure enough, over drove and wiped out. I was just starting to realize I probably would not catch them, when they both wiped out. Then Windfire retired, so here I was, back in the lead. By the time I hit lap 7 or 8, I had a 16/17 second lead and was starting to think I had a chance for a win. Then I crashed. Okay, now the lead is down to 10 seconds, should be able to hold it if I drive clean; I crashed again and into the sand I go. Re-join in 3rd, [it’s] gonna be a long last 6 laps.” ‘nuTTTz’ clearly had a race of ups and downs. And what is the unstable car in question? A 15-year old Mazda MX-5. A second-generation model. The MX-5 is known as car that’s fun to drive and cheap to own. Well on Thursday at La Sarthe, it was known as a car that’s frustrating to drive and expensive to repair. The TPRA News is known for getting a quick scoop on driver chatter, and we managed to get in on a conversation between BANG_N_OLUFSON and DUNTOV3030 after the race. BANG said to DUNTOV, “I had a decent race going until my car decided to chuck me into the weeds multiple times for no apparent reason. Finishing dead last with no one in sight is not a fun thing.” DUNTOV replied, “Seriously, what is it with this car that makes it so skittish?” BANG explained “The back end of this little beast would snap out at inopportune times causing a spin. It is particularly bad when the weight shifts in a corner. I should have bit the bullet and run a bunch of positive rear toe instead of thinking I could handle it. Overall not my favourite car and it showed with my poor performance.” DUNTOV agreed, “Yeah, no kidding! This thing would snap out from under me for no apparent reason. I'm wondering if it can be tuned out. I didn't have time for any tuning but might try it just to see if I can improve it.” At this point, we were curtailed and sent on our way for snooping in on pit conversations between drivers. But it makes for a good news story, so it’s worth it! Another notable racer on Thursday was WyldAnimal who races primarily over at the Official PlayStation Forum. It’s always good to see a competitor from the other side of the fence! MastrGT won Race B in convincing fashion ahead of MoparSRT. MastrGT is one of the all-time greats when it comes to Gran Turismo, and his presence on track is akin to the likes of Michael Schumacher. He has a sense of awe around him in the pit lane and is treated with respect both on and off the track. Next week you ask? Three letters – Spa. Not it’s correct name but all I have to do is type that and I don’t need to explain anything else. Prepare to tackle it in a classic – the Ferrari Dino 246 from 1971. Week one was a 6-year old Fiat, week two was a 15-year old Mazda and week three will be a 44-year old Fiat, I mean Ferrari. Given the current trend, how old is series creator ‘nuTTTz’ prepared to make the car in say, week 6? Will steam be required to power it? We kid of course. On a more serious note – the weather looks clear for Spa next Thursday. Hopefully this will aid the drivers on keeping their priceless Ferraris on the black stuff.