The addition of a standalone TCR class to the CTCC roster in 2019 was primarily responsible for the increased participation, with 11 vehicles, representing the Audi, Honda and Hyundai manufacturers, prepared to challenge for race victories.
However, it was another new entry and rookie driver who stole the spotlight this weekend, as New Roads/ Team Speedstar introduced both their No. 1 Audi R8 LMS GT4 and driver Parker Thompson to the series. The combination working to sweep the overall, and GT Sport, wins in each of the twin 40-minute contests.
“To come in here, having never driven an Audi R8 before, and with limited experience driving in a car with a roof over my head, and to come away with the weekend sweep is fantastic,” proclaimed the 21-year-old Red Deer, AB driver. “My hat’s off to the Speedstar guys, they’ve had a lot of experience with the Audi brand and they gave me a fantastic car over the weekend.”
Thompson concluded, “This sets the tone for the remainder of the season, it’s only going to get better for us.”
Although Thompson was setting the pace in GT Sport, the real action was only slightly further back, as the swarm of TCR class cars captured the attention of the knowledgeable race fans.
New to the CTCC and a freshman in touring car competition was Toronto’s Matthew Taskinen. The former Formula 1600 standout swept the TCR class honours, guiding his No. 23 Audi RS3 LMS to a pair of pole positions and two victories in his debut appearances.
“Coming from open wheel, this car was a totally different package to drive, but the TRC/M1GT team gave me a car that I could work with, it did what I asked it to do,” said Taskinen. “In these cars, with front wheel drive, you need to get the car rotated early so that you can get a great exit off of the corners. And if you get on the power too early, they just want to understeer. I figured those tricks out pretty quickly and tried to apply those lessons to every lap that I did. That way, I was able to pull away from the rest of the field.”
Another top TCR class finisher was newcomer Travis Hill (TWOth Autorsport No. 26 Audi RS3 LMS), who came away from his first two CTCC rounds with a pair of podium results.
Said the team TWOth driver “Didn’t have quite enough for Matthew this weekend, it’s tough to run the DSG versus the sequential [transmissions], but the series is doing a great job to make things even. Fortunately for us, the next race is at Calabogie, which is our home track. I think we can arrange for some testing to see what gains we can make.”
Possibly the loneliest driver on the circuit this weekend was Paul Joakim (No. 12 Mazda RX-8) who had no fellow TC class rival to race with. Nevertheless, the Claremont, ON resident was still able to mix it up with several of the TCR class racers, emerging from the car with a smile knowing that class winning points were waiting and providing a head start on the championship chase.
The next appearance for the CTCC will be another doubleheader event on June 1 & 2 at the Calabogie Motorsports Park facility.
Full race results can be found by visiting the CTCC website, www.touringcar.ca. Fans can follow the championship via the following social media platforms: Facebook: touringcar.ca, Twitter: @ctccracing, Instagram: @ctccracing.
CTCC presented by Pirelli is a Sports Car Racing Championship and a leader in Canadian motorsport. It provides race fans with close and exciting competition between some of Canada’s finest and fastest race car drivers. CTCC takes pride in the fact that it is Canadian owned and operated, and that it is one of the longest-running professional sports car series in Canada. It showcases race cars based on their original street version since 2007. For more information about the series, visit www.touringcar.ca.
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