By Iva Wharton
Mark Vieira like to make history at South Dakota. Last July, at the National Race of Champions, Vieira, aboard his then Mazda RX8 lapped the entire field in an historic showing in the final Group Four race.
Come Sunday, Vieira is chasing another bit of history. He is the first and only Guyanese driver to do 33 second laps at South Dakota and is a former holder the the lap record.
He, however lost that record last November to Barbadian Roger Mayers whose Ford Focus reduced the lap record to 33.5 seconds.
It is that record that Vieira, aboard a new car is aiming for Sunday.
The former Group Three Champion Driver wants to reclaim the fastest lap record at the South Dakota Circuit and to assist him in this record breaking feat at Sunday’s Race of Champions Vieira has a new car -the ex-Belgium Touring Car RX, and a new ambition.
“I got a good car now and I am looking forward to winning the tournament. The last time I did 33s laps and I am the third man to ever do 33s,” he said.
According to Vieira his current lap record is 33.7s.
“I am looking to break the lap record and take it back from the Focus. Two tenths of a second I have to find. If the laps are clean, I should get it back,” he opined.
Vieira, who is sponsored by Shell Antilles, said there were some minor hiccups with the car but everything is okay.
“It’s because it’s a French-made chassis and it’s quite a hard language barrier to order the parts and the availability of the parts.
“But we have gotten through with all of that and everything should be ok.”
He said that by today he should test the vehicle to ensure that all the parts are in working order.
“I don’t need more than half-an-hour to 45 minutes to know what is really going on,” he said.
Vieira said he is confident that he has the machine that will enable him to reclaim the title. He also reiterated that he is the only driver in Guyana to do 33 second laps to date.
“This car does not have stray away speed, but it has corner speed. I was supposed put in the other engine but we had some difficulties with a couple of things that came that were not right and which requested other parts and need to be tested. But it’s too longwinded a story which I don’t intend to get into as it is too short a time for that. So we are going to look to run the old engine back in the car and set it back up.” With a new car and a new attitude, the old lap record just might be history come Sunday.