The Luck of Special Days
Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada, July 24 — Apparently, in order to do well in the Mobil 1 presents the Grand Prix of Mosport, you have to be celebrating a special day. That certainly was the case in the LMP1 and GT classes.
The Muscle Milk Aston Martin took the win on the weekend their drivers celebrated birthdays.
The Muscle Milk Aston Martin Racing team celebrated a bunch of birthdays. Klaus Graf celebrated his on Thursday and Lucas Luhr had his on Friday. Two crew members had birthdays on July 23 and 24. The team went out and gave all those folks a great birthday present -- victory on Sunday.
However, it wasn't easy. The team tried their best to throw the victory away all weekend. First, Graf crashed the car during Saturday morning practice. The mechanics worked frantically to put the car together, getting out for the last 10 minutes of the afternoon practice session before Graf made up for his mistake and put it on the pole.
Then, during the race, the team completely fubared the first (and only) full course yellow which fell perfectly for the first pit stop window. When the pits opened up for the prototypes, the leading car inexplicably did not pull in as all the other prototypes did. It turns out, they thought the pits were not open in time when they went by.
On the next lap, the pits opened for just the GT cars, forcing the Muscle Milk car to stay out for another lap. Finally, after another circuit, the pits are open for everyone as the Aston Martin finally pitted. Of course, when they came out, they were at the back of the entire field.
The Dyson Racing Lola Mazdas were now 1-2, but the Aston Martin was clearly the fastest car on the track. Luhr patiently picked his way through the field and then closed the gap on the Lolas. When it came to passing them, there was little trouble, and from that point to the end, there was no more drama for the victors.
The Chevrolet Corvette Z won GT as Jan Magnussen celebrated his anniversary.
Meanwhile, in the GT class, despite the BMWs being visibly quicker, the Corvette, which qualified sixth in class behind two BMWs, a Porsche, and two Ferraris, wound up taking the win thanks to issues on other teams, including a late penalty to the leading BMW. And, it just so happened that Jan Magnussen (who drove with Oliver Gavin) was celebrating his seventh anniversary. It also gave Magnussen at least one win in every year the ALMS existed since 1999, a streak longer than his marriage.
Say What?! When I made it down to Moss Corner (Turns 5a-5b) for the final hour of the race, I sat with some Toronto friends of mine. He informed me the Jaguar with Bruno Junqueira just turned the fastest GT lap time.
"That was the car that was in the pits for a long time," he said.
"Yeah, it was a leaking oil line," I said. "The engine is probably really loose now, and is on the verge of blowing up which is why it's so fast."
The Jaguar with Bruno Junqueira at the wheel, shocked the GT field with the fastest class lap of the race.
Well, the Jaguar did finish the rest of the race, so maybe the engine wasn't as loose as I thought. And, even more amazing, that fast lap held up to be the best in GT for the race. Shocking? Perhaps, but let's be fair. First of all, Junqueira is a great driver. Let's not forget that. In fact, he had very little time in the car for his first visit to Mosport, but outdid his Canadian teammate, Kenny Wilden, was the team's expert at this track.
The JaguarRSR team took advantage of not going to France and the long Le Mans break. They spent the time doing considerable engineering, design, and aerodynamic (including time in a wind tunnel) work on their platform. Issues at Lime Rock prevented their hard work from bearing any fruit. However, it appears, when the cars are on the track and not in the pits, they did have some speed at Mosport. It will be interesting to see what they do at Mid-Ohio and especially Road America, another fast track.
Cars on the grid remember Brandon Rummer, son of a Jaguar truck driver.
Brandon Rummer. The Jaguar team started the weekend with the worst possible nightmare. Late Thursday night, word came from back home that Brandon Rummer, the 14-year-old son of truck driver, Rodney Rummer, was struck in a hit-and-run while riding his bicycle home. He succombed to his injuries later in the hospital.
The Extreme Speed Motorsports team, next to Jaguar in the paddock, had special memorial stickers made up overnight to remember Brandon and support his family. Most of the teams on the grid placed the stickers on their cars, and a special moment of silence was held before the invocation.
Answers. We have the answers to Saturday's questions concerning the real issues Deep Throttle lets you in on. They are: yes, too many to count (though the aforementioned friend in Moss Corner used a mathematical function to estimate over 600), yes, none.
Copyright © 2011 by Russell Jaslow and Deep Throttle. All Rights Reserved.