Chumpcar: Calabogie Motorsports Park

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Talk about an incredible save! Car #133 was flying downhill between Turn 1 and Turn 2 and looked like it was in the wall when the driver, with a mix of brilliance and luck, pulled it out and back on track unscathed and without losing a spot! I turned with my finger on the shutter button when I heard the squealing tires – the sequence starts in the top left and moves right, then to bottom left to right, and the large pic is after the dust and tire smoke had settled.
CMP has three layouts. Full course, West Course, and East Course. The East Course is known as the Stadium Course to the locals. The Full Course is 5.05 kilometres long (3.138 miles) and has 20 corners and multiple elevation changes.

Turn 1 is a light left kink that cautions you of the need to prepare for the end of the straight. It also tests your skill as entering it wrong will throw the car off balance and destroy your line into Jacques. In our Miata that is flat in fourth and then you need to trust in your brakes as you slow for the right handed Turn 2 which is also known as Jacques. This is the end of an incredible straight and you need to ensure you have braking equipment that is up to the task of high speed endurance racing. Our Miata has Carbotech pads on all four corners.  Exiting Jacques takes you to a blind right Turn 3 called Gilles and then a high speed Turn 4 that is very easy and, appropriately, named Easy. This leads to the high speed Rock Road straight and the unnumbered kink Sir John A. that again reminds the driver of the impending corner ahead. Mulligans is Turn 5 and it’s a fast right followed by Big Rock (6) and Candy Mountain (7). All this gets you to my favourite corner. Turn 8 is called Temptation. You enter it fast and think you can carry a ton of speed but three quarters of the way through it tightens up so severely that the unsuspecting driver is going to be lost. I love it because it is such a great corner – technical, fast and slow – that will challenge even the most skilled racer.

 

Race morning means a few minor adjustments. We began running on BFG Rivals on Saturday and switched to Dunlop Direzzas Sunday. John liked the Direzzas; I liked the Rivals! Both days we were running Carbotech XP8 brakes pads at all four corners. For that matter, so does my RV. Here I'm adjusting the ventilation hose to ensure it was directed at the driver. 28 Celsius is 82 Fahrenheit – and even hotter inside the car wearing a full fire suit.

Back on the gas and Deliverance is a two part (9a and 9b) very fast section. Our team was mixed with two drivers entering Turn 10, the Crown, in third gear after braking and myself and another driver braking and going through 10 and 11, the Brow, in fourth gear. That takes us to 12a and b, the Beak, which is driver’s choice as to second or third gear. Very tight and lots of opportunities to pass many vehicles in our 998 Miata. I was pushing to get past a pack of vehicles that, while faster on the straights, were holding me up significantly in the corners. I went wide through 12b and added some pin-striping to the back quarter panel of the car.

 

John was thinking about painting the Miata black. I hope this will convince him that the car looks much better white. Believe it or not, John assures me that this will just buff out! This is the hit I referred to in the opening paragraph.

If you look back at the track map you will see that the east section of the track looks like a bird (or a dinosaur) so Turn 13 is aptly named the Throat. Gaining speed in third to brake for a sharp left turn, the Hook which is Turn 14. This is an uphill section called Ralph’s Ridge which makes momentum cars work hard and everyone is flat entering Turn 15, the Spoon. I apologize for the lack of pictures from many of the corners. CMP has invited me back to get better pictures with their permission, but the general public is only allowed access along the front of the track, being Turn 15 through to Turn 2. Our team was only the four drivers this weekend, meaning I was needed for all pit stops. Thus I did not have time for excursions deep into the heart of CMP, permission or not.

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