The GT Le Mans (GTLM) class of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship arrives at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park this weekend with the Risi Competizione talking up the chances of rain to complicate the already unpredictable class.
The Ontario track – perhaps better known as Mosport – has long presented a challenge to drivers. The high speed 2.5mile track is flanked closely by barriers that will punish even a small mistake while the track surface itself presents further issues to the drivers of the GTLM class and those of the Prototype and GT Daytona classes that also share the track for the two hour, 45 minute Mobil 1 Sportscar Grand Prix presented by Hawk Performance.
“The track surface is bumpy in an undulating way, but not harsh and abrupt like a street circuit,” explains Rick Mayer, the team’s technical director. “The apex patches will change the grip throughout the corner. The ideal line will depend on where the grip is, and how bad last winter was, but rain will further complicate the ideal grip line. It’s a very fast track and unforgiving if you make mistakes as there’s very little run off relative to the speed of the corners. History shows that if you go off, there’s usually substantial damage – as we have found in the past.”
For Giancarlo Fisichella the race will be his first at the track. However, Pierre Kaffer, with whom he will share the #62 Ferrari has faith that the former F1 man will be quickly up to speed at the venue.
The German said; “We could see from how he adapted to Watkins Glen which is a much harder track to learn – in no time he was right on the pace. He likes quick circuits so that’s a big positive for Mosport!”
Kaffer himself has previous experience of Mosport as part of the American Le Mans Series with a best result of second coming in 2009 as the Risi team lost out in a close battle with the Corvette Racing team.
In the intervening years little has changed, Kaffer expecting the Corvette team – winners of the last three races in 2014 – to be strong once more. “I think it will be tight again in the GTLM class,” he concludes.
Mayer echoes Kaffer’s words. “You would like to run low down force but you lose so much on the other sections it ends up being a quicker lap with a moderately high down force setup. Saying that, you still need to be conscious of strait line speed; the competition is so fierce in the GTLM class now that you can’t afford to give anything away and have to seek to gain whatever advantage you can.”
The TUDOR Championship weekend consists of a pair of hour long practice session in Friday July 11, with a third session before qualifying on Saturday. The race itself starts at 2pm Eastern Time (7pm UK) on Sunday July 13.