ALMS: Corvette Racing at Mosport: The Real Deal
High-Speed Canadian Circuit Favors the Brave and Suits Corvette Racing’s Strengths
America is the home of the brave, but that description also applies to a twisting ribbon of asphalt in the Canadian countryside. Mosport International Raceway, a legendary circuit that will host Sunday’s Mobil 1 presents the Grand Prix of Mosport, separates the brave from the meek with its sweeping turns and soaring speeds.
Mosport demands commitment, courage, and unflinching self-confidence. Not surprisingly, this daunting 2.5-mile road course ranks among the favorites of the Corvette Racing squad.
“I like fast, fast race tracks, and Mosport is definitely fast,” said Tommy Milner, who will share the No. 3 Compuware Corvette C6.R with teammate Olivier Beretta in the fourth round of the 2011 American Le Mans Series. “Even Turn 5, the slowest corner on the circuit, has an approach that’s quick. It’s a flowing race track, and once you get your rhythm, it’s a blast.”
Mosport has been the stage for many of Corvette Racing’s winning performances. The team has tallied eight victories there, including its first win in the GT2 category (since renamed GT) in 2009. That race featured a spectacular wheel-to-wheel duel between Jan Magnussen and Ferrari rival Pierre Kaffer in the final 30 minutes. Magnussen prevailed by .331 seconds at the finish.
“The whole circuit is a huge challenge, one that I relish,” said Magnussen’s teammate, Oliver Gavin. “We always go into that race with a strong car and the track seems to suit the Corvette’s strengths.
“Our car’s balance and braking is very good, and we seem to be quick in the tight Turn 5 area and coming into Turn 8 at the end of the back straight,” Gavin explained. “One of the most daunting parts is Turn 2, and it’s also the most fun when you get it right. The corner entry is blind, you turn in and the track starts to fall away almost immediately. You need absolute trust in the marshals to tell you if there’s a problem ahead.”
Corvette Racing has unfinished business at Mosport. Last year’s event was red-flagged with 30 minutes remaining when the guardrail lining the high-speed Andretti Straightaway was severely damaged in an accident. The twin Corvettes had completed their final pit stops and were in position to race for the win when officials cancelled the remainder of the race.
“If the race had restarted we would have been in a good position,” said Magnussen. “We had a strong car, things were shaping up, and we would have had a shot at it. I’m looking forward to going back there and setting the record straight.”
Corvette Racing ambassador Ron Fellows, who scored three GT1 wins at Mosport in 2001-03 with teammate Johnny O’Connell, has a new role at Mosport as co-owner of the historic circuit. Fellows and partners Carlo Fidani and Alan Boughton purchased the track on June 1.
“Mosport has a storied history that goes back to 1961,” said Fellows. “From Formula 1 and Can-Am to Trans-Am, Group C and motorcycles, Mosport has had it all over the decades. To have the opportunity to be part of the ownership group at a circuit that’s been part of my life for over 40 years is very exciting. The ALMS Grand Prix of Mosport is our marquee event, and we intend to build on its success in the future.”
Fellows’ new responsibilities are appreciated by his former teammates. “Ron promised that if we have too much understeer, he’ll straighten that bit out,” Magnussen said with a laugh.
The Mobil 1 presents the Grand Prix of Mosport is scheduled to start at 3:05 p.m. ET on Sunday, July 24. Live video coverage is available on ESPN3.com in the US and americanlemans.com for international users, supplemented by live coverage on Rogers Sportsnet in Canada. ESPN2 will televise the race on Sunday at 10 p.m. ET.
Source: American Le Mans Series