July 28, 2011 – Mosport

Mosport is traditionally a wild card race for us. Usually we race about a month later than we did this year and we’ve always battled rain at some point during the weekend. This year it was quite the opposite. There was tremendous heat, which was seen all over the U.S. It was extreme for us in Ontario because of the high humidity level and, much like our Grand Am counterparts in New Jersey, the sweltering heat made it challenging in the car. Luckily, the ACO and IMSA regulate cockpit temperatures to 30ºC through a racing air conditioning system and that makes it bearable in the car even in extreme conditions. Those are the weekends that we train for during the week so that you’re prepared and a lot of times you don’t end up using your physical reserves in a two hour forty-five minute ALMS race, but it’s good to always be prepared for when you have wild card weekends such as this past one.

I think it’s a reoccurring theme that just when we believe our chances are slim, we turn out a reasonable weekend—the 12th place result doesn’t reflect just how competitive we were. Although we didn’t have the sheer speed to win, we were able to lead the race through a combination of good qualifying, excellent pit stops and a brilliant start by Jörg. Unfortunately our race was cut short by power steering woes and we were able to finish up but outside the points. It was quite disappointing but, ever the optimist, I feel that our ability to continue to fight and remain competitive is inspiring and continues to ring true to the theme that no matter how far you think your back is against the wall, if you want it, you can make it happen. I think we just have to keep our heads down and continue to battle on.

I want to share with you a couple of laps around Mosport in conjunction with Flying Lizard. The two laps are not about the quickest qualifying trim laps, but they’re also not full traffic laps. It’s a good compilation of the two and it’s interesting to see how at times you have to be very patient and sort of let the traffic work itself out before you make your move. It’s not always about creating holes, but at the same time the laps themselves, if you have the audio cranked up, show you just how much of Mosport is on throttle and how much the GT2 cars of today have progressed aerodynamically. Mosport is a track with very high speed corners and you rely a ton on aerodynamic balance and grip. It’s really a treat to drive a modern day GT2 car and when we talk about lap times that we were doing five or six years ago, it’s incredible how many seconds we’ve taken off just through evolution. I can only imagine where we’ll be in five years time.

Next up is Mid Ohio, which, in theory, is a good race track for us but was a struggle last year. I’m going to put that out of my mind and think that if we could be competitive at Mosport with its long straights, then we should be in for a solid fight just as we have been each time this year. Jörg said it best: we haven’t had a race this year where we haven’t had a case of unusual circumstances and issues. I have to feel that if we get to one where we go issue-free through the race, we have to factor in for the win. Mid-Ohio is a special weekend for us because it’s such a popular race track and the road racing weekend of ALMS, Indy Car and World Challenge is a delight to be a part of.

I’ll be doing double duty, which will make it a very grueling week just because there are two World Challenge races right on each end of the ALMS race. With the heat, it should be a good test, but I’m looking forward to it and looking forward to getting back into World Challenge after quite a long break. We are currently a close second in points, they’ve made some rules adjustments and we’ll see how they pan out, but it will be good to get back with the Truspeed guys. We’ve worked hard on the car and I think we’re improved from our last outing which was at Mosport where we finished second about a month and a half ago. Back to standing starts and single driver/no pit stop racing, so there’ll be all sorts of diversity in how I race at Mid-Ohio.

Send your comments and questions to Patrick at askpatrick@pca.org. Although he can’t respond individually, he’ll get to as many as possible in his blog.