August in Canada Means Autumn
Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada, August 28 — It may be August, but this is Canada, and by the end of the weekend, it will feel like fall rather than the end of summer. In fact, on this first day of the Grand Prix of Mosport, the temperatures already started to drop as the morning sessions were much sunnier and warmer. By the end of the day, the cloudy, cool weather turned into a light drizzle. By Sunday, sweatshirts and jackets will be the order of the day.
Mosport is one of the classic tracks in North America, hosting the first Canadian Grand Prix back in 1967. Mosport (named for the contraction of the words "Motor" and "Sport" and not after Stirling Moss like is so often mistakenly reported, though it does have a turn named after the great British driver) is one of only three tracks in the world to host Formula 1, Can-Am, and IndyCar events.
There is seemingly non-stop action as seven series are running here: the headliner, American Le Mans Series, Cooper Tires Presents Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda, Star Mazda Championship Presented by Goodyear, Formula BMW Americas, IMSA Lites presented by Frisby Performance Tire, Patron GT3 Challenge by Yokohama, and the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup. If you can't find a type of racing to your liking here, well, you shouldn't be reading this.
The Formula BMW banner waves for the last time in North America.
Formula BMW Americas will be making their swan song this weekend. BMW is dropping the American version of the series after this season. Gabby Chaves is guaranteed to be the last champion as he clinched the series back at Road America. Who wins the last race is now the question.
Some are wondering how many of these cars will survive this weekend. After all, after Sunday, unless you want to try and ship the car over to Europe or Asia, they are essentially worthless. So, why not go out in a blaze of glory?
The Atlantic Championship may only have 10 cars here, but the championship fight is one of the best in history. Car count has been an issue this year, and it's even more disappointing when the tradition of increasing car counts whenever the series visits Canada, with it's rich history north of the border, did not continue. In fact, it declined, though that is mainly due to Frankie Muniz's injury, Matt Lee yet again running short of money, and Richard Zober only contesting the east coast events in the U.S.
Up front, however, the top three are putting on quite a show for the fans. Simona De Silvestro is attempting to be the first woman to win an open wheel championship in North America. After opening up a gap at Lime Rock, it shrunk at the Autobahn. De Silvestro once again increased that gap at Mid-Ohio and Trois-Rivieres. However, here at Mosport, she is clearly struggling.
Simona De Silvestro struggled to match the times of her closest championship pursuers.
Going through the harrowing, blind, fast downhill Turn 2, one of the all time great corners in racing, De Silvestro did not look comfortable. All the drivers needed to make constant corrections as the bumps attempted to throw their cars off the track.
However, after nailing the first apex of this double apex turn, De Silvestro would crab in before the second apex and turn in early. It's as if the car was understeering, and she didn't feel like she would be able to pull it back to the apex if she let it track out wide after the first apex for the proper line.
Through the complicated Turns 8-9-10 complex, which is like an elongated esses, with tighter and tighter corners, her car appeared very loose and twitchy. She pitted twice for long periods of time during the afternoon session, making changes to correct the problems. Though she did jump up to fifth on the timing chart, she lags behind her two closest pursuers.
John Edwards (21 points behind De Silvestro) and Jonathan Summerton (29 points behind first) had excellent sessions. If De Silvestro doesn't figure out how to get her car to work properly on this tricky, fast track, that gap will once again shrink, and the championship battle will continue on to Laguna Seca.
The American Le Mans Series cars are perfectly suited for this track. Though a bit narrow and at times very blind (which is most likely the reason the GT3 Challenge cars will not be competing in the main event, remaining in their own sprint races), watching the prototypes and GT cars around this circuit is an art form onto itself.
Despite laying down more rubber, all the afternoon sessions were slower than the morning thanks to the cloudy skies and cooler temperatures. Rain is expected tonight followed by even cooler weather. Hopefully, we won't see snow on Sunday. Then again, this is the Great White North...
Copyright © 2009 by Russell Jaslow and Deep Throttle. All Rights Reserved.