BOWMANVILLE, ON – It’s time for Corvette Racing to head north of the border for its annual visit to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. The American Le Mans Series’ lone Canadian event is the Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix – a race Corvette Racing has won nine times since 2001.
The 2.459-mile, 10-turn road course is one of the fastest in the ALMS and a favorite of all four Corvette Racing drivers. The layout features a variety of high-speed corners and daunting elevation changes that audiences can see live on ESPN2 at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday, July 21. Qualifying for the GT class is set for 3:50 p.m. ET on Saturday, July 20 and will be available on ESPN3.
Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen – second in the GT drivers’ standings – drive the No. 3 Compuware Corvette C6.R. Defending ALMS GT champions Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner pilot the No. 4 Corvette. They are fourth in the class championship.
Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (known to long-time fans as Mosport) sees a number of new looks. The facility – co-owned by former Corvette Racing star Ron Fellows – saw improvements to the entryway, paddock and sightlines in 2012. In the last 12 months, the track underwent more dramatic renovations with the additions of a pitlane extension of 300 feet, a state-of-the-art event center, new asphalt at every corner and paved runoff areas at turns 1 and 2 to improve safety.
The character of the track hasn’t changed much since its first race in 1961. Through the years, CTMP has played host to Can-Am, Formula 5000, USAC stock cars, IndyCar, Trans-Am, Formula Atlantic, and of course the American Le Mans Series and IMSA. Most notably, the circuit was the site of the Formula One Canadian Grand Prix eight times between 1967-77.
“There are not many race venues in North America, or the world for that matter, with a history like the track once known as Mosport,” Corvette Racing Program Manager Doug Fehan said with a smile. “Historically, it has tested drivers and teams with a combination of challenging high-speed corners, extreme terrain change and insanely quick lap times. We have enjoyed some memorable successes here and the support from the great Canadian crowd has always been inspirational. I know all our guys are excited to see all the improvements that have been implemented at the facility, and I am confident our inaugural trip to the new-look Canadian Tire Motorsport Park will be a big step forward in our effort to repeat our 2012 championship.”
Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix (all times ET)
• GT Qualifying: 3:50 p.m., Saturday, July 20
• Race: Noon, Sunday July 21
Canadian Tire Motorsport Park: Watch It!
Saturday, July 20-Sunday, July 21 (all times ET)
• Qualifying: 3:20 p.m., Saturday, July 20 (ESPN3)
• Race (TV): Live – 1 p.m., Sunday, July 21 (ESPN2)
• Web: Live – 11:45 a.m., Sunday, July 21 (ESPN3)
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 COMPUWARE CORVETTE C6.R: “Even in a road car, it is difficult to understand how fast you go around the track. In my first practice there last year, it took me six or seven laps to not brake into Turn 1! In turns 2 and 3, you definitely need to pick your braking point and roll in. But for the first turn, it’s not how deep you brake but whether you need to lift to make it through in fifth or sixth gear. That was the corner that took me the most time to get right.”
JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 3 COMPUWARE CORVETTE C6.R: “For sure Corvette Racing has had great success at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. We are looking to go and build on what we have done in the last two ALMS races – a win at Laguna and second-place at Lime Rock. If we can get a win at Mosport, it would really help our run for the GT championship. It’s a much more high-speed track than Lime Rock but it’s also a track where you can attack a lot. Lime Rock wasn’t one of those; you had to be more precise and smooth. But at Mosport you can go hard at it all the time. It’s one of my favorite tracks and we for sure are excited to go back there.”
OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 COMPUWARE CORVETTE C6.R: “The track itself will be similar but the landmarks and cues you’d use to guide your way around the track – the stuff you pick up in your peripheral vision that all drivers learn – has changed because the runoff and places that were grass have gone to tarmac. There is a new pitlane with a different entry. All of that part of the track is different and will take a little bit of relearning. It will be challenging but interesting at the same time. I am looking forward to going there and seeing what’s been done. Ron is a big proponent of safety, and he’s worked at it very hard. You’re going at such a high speed and only have so much road to work with. Any slip up there can lead you into having a big moment. It will be once again a great place to go and I’m looking forward to going back there.”
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 COMPUWARE CORVETTE C6.R: “It’s fantastic. It’s my favorite track we go to. It’s fun, fast, flowing and has a good rhythm to it. It’s really challenging in our GT car. I’ve had success there and been on the podium a number of times but a win has eluded me. Typically I don’t like tracks where I don’t do well, but this one I like no matter what. The new runoff areas won’t change how we drive the track at all. Certainly now you can be a little more ambitious going into turns 1 and 2 but that won’t make us any faster. In past years, we still pushed the limits and it wasn’t a place where we needed the extra runoff to go quicker. Lap times I don’t think will change very much but should help guys who get in a bad situation then you have some room to spare.”
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