February 29, 2024

Bruno Coelho – ‘Completely different race to any other. It’s one of the best in the World’

Red RC attended its first TITC in 2017.  It was always a bucket list event but it was the meaning of the win on the Sunday that really endorsed for us that this is one of the greatest touring car races. The emotion of the win was powerful and that winner was Bruno Coelho who gave us the headline for our final report that read, ‘Coelho takes TITC with ‘hardest win’ of career’.  Seven years on and catching up with Bruno before he took his flight to the Thai capital to defend his title, the World Champion still rates the race as ‘one of the best in the World’ adding it is ‘a completely different race to any other’.  Chasing a record equaling fourth win that would put him on par with TITC Master Atsushi Hara, a driver widely acknowledged for putting the race on the world stage, as we will find out Bruno isn’t driven by records but very much being the best on the day.  He knows this is one race where ever detail is critical be successful at ‘one of the most challenging races’ in the world while on the flip side offers ‘one of the best race atmosphere’ you can experience.

Bruno’s first TITC was in 2015 when the race returned to the RC Addict track and it has called it permanent home ever since. He qualified second behind Xray team-mate Alexander Hagberg who would go on to win while rough finals left the Portuguese driver 5th.  It was a learning experience but a year later he returned to take the first of his victories.  Defending his title in 2017, he failed to convert the TQ in 2018 and in 2019 he qualified & finished 4th as Hagberg became a multiple Champion of the legendary Asian race.  Not attending the event in 2020, Bruno returned after the event’s Covid hiatus with a dominant 2023 performance but in a race where the finer details are critical Bruno takes on the challenge without one key element in his all conquering touring car campaigns – mechanic Francesco Martini.  ‘I have no Franci this time as he has business commitments.  We had the flights booked already but it was something very important and he can’t come.  I will have Martin (Hudy) as my mechanic so it’s not a huge problem.  Obviously Martin is super good, he designed the car, but myself and Franci collected all the data together in the past.  I don’t want it to sound bad against Martin but myself & Fanci have a special working relationship and at a race as tough as TITC it’s these little details of knowing what to do and when can make a difference.  So not having him at the race is a negative for me.’

Asked why the race is held in such high regard by drivers and one that they so badly want to win, Bruno explained, ‘How the track changes each run because of the hot temperatures makes it so challenging.  In the morning it might be 28 degrees in the shade but in the sun the track temperature could be 50-60 degrees.  You need to drive different to not overheat the tyres.  You need to have two good set-ups for different times of the day.  Every small detail is important even the electronics because they also have to deal with the high temperatures’. A race where all the team drivers come almost a week before the race to test on the track he said, ‘Everyone has plenty of time to test so we have no excuses for the race.  It’s one of the most challenging races, we give all we can give.  People can’t say you are here for 2-weeks and they were only able to do 2-days testing like they said in Gubbio (2020 ISTC World Championship).  Everyone gets loads of practice so that’s one less excuse we all have’.  He continued, ‘From practice you decide your plan for different times of the day.  In the morning there is a lot of traction, mid day low traction and evening is rocket round.  You think you are ready for the race and then someone finds something good for their car and you are stressed.  At the end if I finish 5th I have no excuses, I was not good enough.’

On the chance of becoming one of the races most successful drivers and whether it is motivation for a fourth win, Coelho response was quite typical of a sports person at the peak their career, ‘I get asked a lot about races I have won and how many times I have won certain races but I really don’t count wins, I go to win every race.  I don’t think about the past, I prefer to move forward and try to be better for the next race.  If you live off your past success you don’t strive to be better for the future.’

With tyres always a topic that comes into play not just at the TITC but most touring car races these days it seems, Bruno questions the limit of 5 sets of Sweep tyres this year.  I think for the importance of the race they should not limit tyres as it could be a negative thing.  You will have maybe five drivers in a heat because others are saving tyres.  I think for (race) series limited tyres is good but for a single race like TITC it’s one race and everyone should give their all and not be forced to pick and choose when to or not to run because of saving tyres.  I think like the Worlds it causes more confusion than benefits.  He also feels this years new layout will be hard on tyres, ‘the most critical part of the track is the end of the straight when you are on full brake.  In the hot conditions this is going to burn the tyres’.

While his Hobbywing powered Xray package is much the same as previous years, one significant change from 12-months ago is the radio Bruno will use.  ‘I used to use Sanwa but since September I have been racing with Futaba.  I like the physical feel of the brake.  It has more range and I can get the feeling of a normal brake.  The Sanwa brake is mechanical short so you have to adjust on the radio settings.  With the Futaba you can manage more with the finger and I like this.’


2024 TITC coverage presented by Hobbywing

Hobbywing is China’s earliest national-level high-tech enterprise engaged in R&D, production and sales of brushless power systems for UAV and RC models.  Committed to provide high power density brushless power systems for global customers, Hobbywing and the TITC have a deep-rooted history.  As early as 2009, Hobbywing’s ESC made its first appearance at TITC with this year marking a 15 years history of collaboration.  Except for the three years during the COVID-19 period, Hobbywing has consistently offered on-site technical guidance to its users at TITC, ensuring the optimal performance of their power systems and providing steadfast support for drivers, allowing them to fully immerse themselves in the competition.


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