BOWMANVILLE, Ontario, Canada – The American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón continues its summer stretch this weekend at Canada’s most historic road racing course: Mosport International Raceway. The legendary circuit, located less than an hour outside of Toronto, will play host to Mobil 1 presents the Grand Prix of Mosport on July 24.
The race marks the Series’ 13th consecutive visit to Mosport but the first Grand Prix with the track’s new owner: Canadian Motorsport Ventures, Ltd. Since purchasing the track in 1998, Dr. Don Panoz made Mosport one of the premier motorsports venues in Canada. In June, it was announced that Panoz was handing over ownership to CMV, an investor group comprised of real-estate developer Carlo Fidani, transportation industry leader Al Boughton and Canadian sports car icon Ron Fellows.
The new date and owners aren’t the only things that have changed since the Series’ most recent trip to Mosport. Last year’s overall winner, Muscle Milk, is no longer powered by a Porsche but rather by a V-12 Aston Martin. Drivers Klaus Graf and Lucas Luhr stood on the top step of the podium at Long Beach in April but are chasing Dyson Racing and its Lola-Mazda in the LMP1 championship. Chris Dyson and Guy Smith are the most recent race winners at Lime Rock and have high hopes of making it two straight with a victory at Mosport. It’s a place the team has had more success at than any other venue on the schedule. Dyson Racing has won twice overall at Mosport (2004 and 2005) and scored a class win in 2003. The team, backed by G-Oil and running on isobutanol, currently leads the MICHELIN GREEN X Challenge points.
Change is also the theme for GT, at least when it comes to Mosport. Since 2008, three different manufacturers and three different teams have won the GT category (Ferrari with Risi Competizione in 2008, Corvette with Corvette Racing in 2009 and Porsche with Flying Lizard Motorsports in 2010). Who could continue this revolving door of GT winners in Canada? Look no further than the winner of the opening three rounds: BMW Team RLL. Joey Hand and Dirk Mueller are on fire; undefeated thus far in their BMW M3 GT and leading the MICHELIN GREEN X Challenge GT points. While a BMW win would continue Mosport’s streak of new GT winners, it would be old news to the members of the GT paddock, aching to knock the favorite off its pedestal.
A repeat winner in LMPC is highly probable considering last year’s winning co-drivers, Gunnar Jeannette and Elton Julian, now drive for different teams – both with a win and pole position already this year. Jeannette now partners with Ricardo Gonzalez for CORE autosport, which won the category at Long Beach and currently leads the LMPC point standings. Julian is paired with Eric Lux at Genoa Racing. The pair is the most recent LMPC winner, coming off a victory at Lime Rock Park to move Genoa ahead in the class’ team championship. The Jeannette/Gonzalez duo leads the Julian/Lux pairing by six points in the driver chase.
Meanwhile in GTC, with no defending race winner entered, the heir apparent to the Mosport win could be Black Swan Racing. The team finished second last year en route to the class championship and has already collected two wins this season. Expect a strong challenge from TRG, however, which came on strong at Lime Rock Park with a one-two finish, headed by Mike Piera and Dion von Moltke.
Mobil 1 presents the Grand Prix of Mosport, the fourth round of the 2011 ALMS championship, is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. ET on Sunday, July 24 with ESPN2 airing the race starting at 10 p.m. ET. Live video coverage will be available at 2:50 p.m. ET on ESPN3.com in the US, and americanlemans.com for international viewers. Canadian fans may also watch live coverage on Rogers Sportsnet. Worldwide radio coverage will be available on American Le Mans Radio at americanlemans.com.
For more information on the broadcasts, go to www.americanlemans.com/tv.
Visit the American Le Mans Series’ schedule page for information on tickets and area accommodations. You can follow the Series on Twitter (almsnotes), on our Facebook page and the official YouTube channel.
From Ryan Smith