Pune-based Force Motors has
announced its team members as well as its revised cars for the Force Gurkha RFC
2015 being held in Goa from July 25 to 31, 2015. Force Motors had won top two
positions at the first edition of RFC India 2014. At a short event held just
before the technical and safety scrutiny for the event, the three competition
vehicles were unveiled to the media for a first look.
Though the three vehicles look
similar to last year’s winning entries, these are far meaner and tougher
machines. The power train continues to be the proven Mercedes-Benz-derived TD
2200 common rail engine developing 140hp and 320 Nm torque. However, the front
and rear suspension is now an all-coil spring set-up with long travel shock
absorbers. In fact the entire suspension geometry has been revised with there
being a three-link front suspension layout along with a heavily triangulated
four-link set-up doing duty on the rear. The front and rear axles have been
modified and strengthened taking into account driver feedback from last year’s
experience and in preparation for a tougher RFC 2015.
All this has been to maximise
fullest use of the torque from the strong engine and for that one needed both
traction and control, which the new suspension system and its aggregates help
deliver. This has also helped the teams to move from 33-inch Simex tyres (outer
diameter mounted on 17-inch wheels) used last year to the much much larger -
37inch Maxxiss Trepadors. These are the largest diameter wheels employed in
competition in India on any vehicle before and while they are for the specific
express purpose of rapid traction, the look and the stance they give to the
vehicle has its own visual benefits as well!
Other technical changes all
abound in the mechanical department where the axles have been modified and
manufactured in-house in Pune. The axles now come equipped with the latest
Eaton electronic diff locks which are driver adjustable from a switch in the
cockpit! If that’s not all, clever
positioning of the wheels at all found ends means the Gurkhas have possibly the
best approach and departure angles of any SUV or off-road vehicle in the
country! All three vehicles come equipped with high-performance twin motor
Come-up Blazer winches following on from lessons learnt with them in the RFC
Malaysia event last year. All three vehicles were made in-house at Force
Motors’ facility at Akurdi near Pune.
Piloting these three vehicles
will be the same team as last year. Tan Eng Joo from Malaysia returns to defend
the top spot with his trusted navigator Tan Choon Hong. This crew will rely on
the proven prowess of the pilot and his focused approach along with the
youthful exuberance of his navigator which is helpful given the tough nature of
The second team is an
all-Indian crew, led by 44-year old Sanjiv Singh - a passionate motorsport
enthusiast cum leading off-roader from Delhi who has fared well in the North
India circuit. He will be navigated by the able Jay Sridhar just like last
The crew piloting the third
Force Gurkha is also the one which finished second last year! Made up of the
jovial Mervyn behind the wheel, he will be supported by Hamizan Abdul Hamid in
the navigator’s chair. This duo apart from placing second in the RFC India last
year, also finished in the same place in the main Malaysian event last year as
well. Mervyn has an uncanny ability to judge changing conditions and terrain
and how to put a car’s mechanical strength to good use.
The team is hoping that the
winning combination of super capable vehicles and the expert pilots and
navigators will help it clinch all three-podium positions. The team will also
put to good use the learnings from last year and should be in a better position
to battle the odds.
Force Motors Managing Director
Prasan Firodia said “Based on the learnings from last year, our team has made
substantial improvements in the vehicles and these vehicles are far more
capable than what we had last year. I wish them all the best”.
Source: Force Motors
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