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Mosport Diary:
Day Three
The Facility Improvements Keep Coming

Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada, July 21 I save my favorite Mosport viewing spots for the race. Thus, it was the first time I saw those areas all weekend. The changes to some of them shocked me. And greatly impressed me.

Mosport Turn 5 Image Mosport cleared out the hill outside Turns 5a/5b to vastly improve one of the best viewing areas.

I eventually made my way to the outside of Turns 5a/5b. This is where I got my biggest shock. Between Turns 4 and 5a, the track built a gravel parking lot. From there, the old, narrow path of dirt (sometimes mud) resulting in quite the steep, bumpy hike to Turns 5a/5b was widened, smoothed out, and paved (but it's still steep). The spectator hill outside Moss Corner was cleared of trees all the way up the hill. One of the best viewing areas at Mosport just became even better. The only drawback is the lack of any adequate shade.

The amount of work the new owners of this track continue to do at this facility astounds me. There is a reason why they have impressed NASCAR enough to get the Truck Series to come here. And, it appears, according to a Dean McNulty report in the Toronto Sun, the new United SportsCar Racing calendar will include Mosport. All that's needed is the track's signature on the contract.

Mosport Turn 2 Image The runoff area outside dangerous Turn 2 was all paved and flattened.

One of the key changes to the track itself was the paving of many of the runoff areas, a common trend for road courses throughout the world. As mentioned on Friday, this included the outside of treacherous Turn 2. In the past, any car that so much as dropped two wheels here would be instantly sucked into the tire wall, no matter how far they kept moving the tire wall out over the years.

Now, there is a huge safety margin. Many cars ran wide here during the weekend, and were able to easily re-enter the track no worse for wear. In fact, some angles through the turn onto the runoff area could produce more speed. For that reason, during qualifying, officials watched very closely for anyone appearing to gain an advantage for going off the proper race surface.

Yes, this new safety feature takes away from some of the "edge" of the track. However, it really is for the best, and quite frankly, doesn't take away from the racing. In fact, you now see drivers willing to go more on the edge through that turn, making an already exciting place to watch car control even more thrilling.

Besides, if anyone thinks Mosport is still not a wild ride for the drivers, just ask Klaus Graf. After being asked at the post race press conference whether Canadian Tire Motorsports Park has been "watered down," Graf was quite blunt with his response.

"I think that anyone who speaks about CTMP being uneventful, we should put in a passenger seat and ride around with us in our P1 car," Graf said. "If he still thinks it is uneventful, there is something wrong with him."

For Graf and his co-driver, Lucas Luhr, the race itself was a bit uneventful as Muscle Milk Picket Racing easily won overall by four laps. Quite frankly, it wasn't even that close. There only two competitors weren't up to the task.

The Dyson Racing entry has been handed over to Tony Burgess and Chris McMurry under the guise of "preparing for next year." However, considering they were unable to keep up with any of the LMP2 cars, and the team showed up with a thinned out crew, the only preparing they are probably doing is collecting money from these drivers to save up for next year...

The heartbreak of the race has to go to the RSR Racing team. Once again, Duncan Ende led off with a splendid double shift to put their car into the LMPC lead. He then handed it off to Bruno Junqueira, which should have meant a guaranteed win just like at Lime Rock. Even the team owner, Paul Gentilozzi, got into the spirit, working as the fueler. However, just like that, the car failed to start after the pit stop. The starter was broken. They finally got it working, but lost 11 laps in the delay, handing the win over to Jonathan Bennett and Colin Braun of CORE autosport.

Corvette and Vipers in Action Image The Corvette vs. Viper rivalry was renewed at Mosport in a fierce battle.

Once again, I sound like a broken record, but a very nice broken record -- the best race was in the GT class. And, what a race it was. It was the return of the Viper vs. Corvette rivalry.

Jonathan Bomarito gave Viper their first pole in a decade in the #93 car, co-driven by Kuno Wittmer. Then, Bomarito sped on pit lane during the race, costing them the race with the subsequent penalty, winding up third. However, the team's sister car, the #91 driven by Dominik Farnbacher and Marc Goossens, took up the slack, battling the #4 Corvette of Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner.

The #3 Corvette was crashed coming out of Turn 3 in qualifying by Jan Magnussen going for the pole time. The team worked past midnight to fix what turned out to be not too severe damage. When I asked Magnussen on the grid if he owed his crew a beer, he said, "Yes, lots of beers." The car had to start last, but recovered nicely to finish fourth.

The two leaders were in each other's shadows throughout the latter part of the race. Farnbacher was even told by his crew not to worry about banging up the car in order to get by the leading Corvette. Traffic, slower and faster, raising the tension for their respective fans. In the end, the Corvette held off the Viper. Barely.

Mosport is always my favorite track to watch a GT battle. The track really allows the drivers to get the most out of these GT cars, no matter the corner or the straight. It is quite the joy watching these cars hammer around the circuit. Which makes me even happier that Mosport will be on the schedule for the new series next year.

One would think after a long weekend in Canada two weeks after a tiring weekend in Lime Rock, I'd be raced out for awhile. Not true. Angelo and I, weather permitting, will be heading to Rolling Wheels Raceway in Elbridge, N.Y. Tuesday evening for the World of Outlaws.

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