ChumpCar World Series at CTMP (aka Mosport)
Two seven-hour endurance races at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP), formerly known as Mosport. That was the ChumpCar location on the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend. I joined 'No Budget Racing' as they fielded two cars. A 1990 Civic DX was car one driven by Rob Pacione, Afshin Montazeri, Sergio Inclima, and Steve Carageorgopoulos and car two was a 1997 Miata driven by John Dattomo, Pat Telanti, Ralph Gilles, and then myself. Saturday was an absolutely beautiful track day with lots of sunshine and a temperature in the seventies. It was a good day for our team with the Civic finishing fourth and the Miata eighth. Sunday the Civic placed third but, sadly, an incident took the Miata out of the competition. Months of planning for these fourteen hours of racing and they were over in, well, fourteen hours. Here’s how we got there.
In the spring of 2013 my good friend, John Dattomo, called me up and told me that he was preparing his car for ChumpCar and that in October the series would be racing at Mosport. Then he asked if I wanted to be on the team. I am pretty sure I said yes before he even finished asking the question. Mosport! Not only my home track but also one of the fastest tracks in North America. Yes! Two seven-hour endurance races. Yes! Wheel to wheel racing! Oh my, Absolutely yes! After hanging up the phone I then ran to my wife and told her about this amazing opportunity that was waiting for me. She stared at me with loving eyes and … well, we had a long discussion about finances, safety and how this did not make sense. Plus it would involve being away on a holiday weekend as the races would take place during Canada’s Thanksgiving weekend. But that is for another story. John rescued the Miata from auto heaven and rebuilt it into a beautiful machine –the paint scheme on it is beautiful. It was now caged and ready to race.
I have been very active driving at lapping days and participating in Time Attack events – mainly Canadian Automobile Sports Club's Ontario Time Attack and this year one CSCS event. In fact, John and I met through OTA events. We both started driving time attack in the Touring Car classes (read that as pretty slow) and we were very evenly matched. That meant that we were usually on pit row together and had lots of time to chat. That expanded into participating in lapping days together, for several years I organized events and always made sure that John was present. But I am procrastinating, back to the discussion with my wife.
Pamela puts up with a lot, something that the spouse of every car enthusiast has to do. Initially she thought that me going out to a lapping day once would be all of the 'fix' that I required. After the first couple of years and several holidays involving racetracks, Pamela realizes that my addiction to speed goes way back but was dormant while our children were little. This was due to lack of finances combined with the responsibility of parenthood – and simply not knowing how to get involved. Looking at my face, remembering how much fun I had experienced driving in a mock race at Mosport (a mock race, staged and controlled, with three cars abreast at 110 mph on the straight and two wide in the corners – I wonder how mock it really was!), I quickly had my wife's permission to participate.
I truly had the easy part. We were running John's car. He had already had all of the safety equipment installed into the Miata. I just needed to show up. Piece of cake. Of course, I did need the appropriate safety gear – I had the SA2005 Bell helmet, FIA gloves and DefNder neck restraint but needed everything else. After getting suggestions from a few friends, I found a supplier who had a great deal on suits and shoes. I picked up all of the necessary undergear also, to enhance the fire protection. Personal gear was all set.