Spending The Money
Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada, July 21 — Yesterday, I complained about Mosport changing it's name as they sold the naming rights to the vaunted track. However, no one will complain how the newly named track is spending its money.
Many more large screens are installed this year at key spectator areas.
When Don Panoz first bought the track, there was hope for improvement to what was becoming an aging facility. Whenever Panoz bought a track, he put a lot of money into it. He built a new hotel at Sebring. He made significant changes at Road Atlanta. At Mosport, he repaved the track and widened pit lane. Then, that was it.
So much more was needed at Mosport, but Panoz didn't spend another investment dollar after the initial upgrades.
The new owners, Ron Fellows, a Canadian racing hero, Al Boughton, and Carlo Fidani, didn't waste any time spending money improving the facility. For this year's American Le Mans Series, the changes are mostly going to affect the fans. In future years, the media, high rollers/sponsors, and competitors will enjoy the upgrades.
The biggest upgrade fans will notice are the plethora of large screens placed throughout the track, opposite all the key spectator areas. There are also two new pedestrian bridges to help fans cross the track.
Two new pedestrian bridges are installed at Mosport, including this one at Turn 2, ironically devoid of sponsor logos.
When I heard one was going to be at the famed Turn 2, I was concerned it may block a prime view for spectators. However, they placed it before the turn and it is high enough not to interfere with the view of the cars coming into the turn. A perfect design.
More changes are planned. There is currently construction going on outside of the main straightaway, opposite the media center. A new, large building will be going up which will house a new media center, administrative offices, and officials rooms.
The current media center will be torn down and the pit lane expanded in its place. The garages behind the pits will be replaced with new modern ones opening up to the paddock with VIP seating on top. A hotel is planned.
The new owners are making a huge investment in Mosport, and changing its name, like it or not, will help the fans and competitors enjoy one of the great North American tracks even more.
Level 5 Security. Why is the Level 5 Motorsports team the only one who not only has their own security guard, but the only security guard who is protected with a bullet proof vest? Is team owner Scott Tucker receiving threats from disgruntled customers as well as from federal investigators?
One thing's for sure -- Scott Tucker is keeping himself very busy this weekend. Not only is he doing the usual double duty between his two LMP2 cars, but he also is competing in the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama and the Cooper Tire Prototype Lites Championship. It's nice to have money ... whichever way you earn it...
Klaus Graf gave himself a birthday present -- pole position for Muscle Milk Pickett Racing.
Birthday Pole. Once again, the Muscle Milk Pickett Racing HPD ARX-03a prototype was at home on a very fast track, taking the quick turns as if on rails, just like at Lime Rock. So dominant were they in qualifying with Klaus Graf driving on his birthday, their fastest lap was ... ready for this? ... over two seconds quicker than the #16 Dyson Racing Team Lola B12/60 driven by Chris Dyson. 2.151 seconds to be exact around the 2.459-mile track. So confident were the Muscle Milk team, they came in the pits with about seven minutes left in qualifying, and sat out the rest of the session.
The Muscle Milk team led the first practice session by 3.559 seconds and the second practice session by 2.466 seconds. No wonder they didn't bother running the test day on Friday. Well, look at the bright side -- the margin is shrinking...
Speaking of coming in early, the top five in GT qualifying also called it quits with five minutes remaining in qualifying. The Corvettes took one-two, with the #3 car (Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia) leading the way from the #4 car (Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner). BMW, Ferrari, and Porsche followed to round out the top five.
Mosport has traditionally produced a thrilling GT race. Considering the possible runaway for the overall win (unless Muscle Milk falls four laps down again like at Lime Rock), the fans will be wise to keep their eyes on the GT field.
First two photos by
Last photo by John Walker
Copyright © 2012 by Russell Jaslow and Deep Throttle. All Rights Reserved.