Sunday was overcast but with a very strong wind. Drivers arriving from Toronto indicated that it was sunny west of CTMP so there was hope that the wind would blow the clouds away. There was light drizzle but by the time the drivers’ meeting was over, the wind was already starting to dry off the track. Everyone really appreciated the new facilities at the Driver Development Centre as our Instructor meeting and then our Drivers’ Meeting were held in the luxury and comfort of the state of the art brand new building.
All drivers were cautioned to use care on the track. That was a given in the rain, but as it was visibly drying the organizers could sense that the speeds were increasing. They also took out a couple of kinks in the track to provide a different perspective for everyone and to ensure that all were still working on picking out reference points. Due to the harsh winter and late spring, the track curbing was not all in place yet and running off meant that you would be mired in mud. Or worse. Landscaping had not yet had the opportunity to be fully implemented. I also had time to swap tires and to put my Hankook RS3 – 225/45/15 mounted on 15×7 Enkei RPF1 – onto the NX GTi-R. This would make for a better track experience. I had left my Toyo RA1 – 225/45/15 on 15×8 Enkei PF01 – at home, I figured with the weather forecast I would not require them. Going out at the first dry lapping session at 8 lbs of boost the track was lovely but a bit sedate. 12 lbs was exciting. 16 lbs was fun and, coming onto the inside straight out of turn 3 in third gear the tires were chirping as the car struggled to find grip. This machine really needs a much stronger LSD than what is provided from the factory in the Infiniti G20 transmission! Meanwhile, one of the student in their Acura RSX had a perfect car for this track.
This experimentation on this newly designed layout showed me a couple of different ways to approach the brand new corner one, two, and three. Not just because we were no longer worrying about rain, but because pushing my own car demonstrated the need to adjust the line to improve the speed coming out of the mentioned corners. Pushing my own car around this new track also convinced me that the owners and management of Canadian Tire Motorsport Park had made the right decision when they changed this track. I have been driving it since 2007 and it has been one of my favourites. Like anyone would be, I was worried when they discussed changing it around. It certainly has been an outstanding improvement.
The format for our students was the same, except the skid pad exercises were removed and the auto slalom course was significantly expanded. Our students also enjoyed the dry track and saw how reference points that worked well going slow and in the wet were just as effective on a dry track with greater speed – they simply needed some adjustment. For example, the braking point was now used 10 metres before the reference point compared to right at the braking point in the rain. If you have never used reference points for your track experience, then consider taking the time to go out with an instructor who does. Learn about the value of knowing exactly where to brake, turn-in, apex, and exit. Learn to talk yourself around the race track.