Ontario Time Attack: Shoot Out!
Suspense is heightened at the end of the Ontario Time Attack season, as the standings are still up in the air. As long as competitors had met the participation requirements by participating in six of the nine regular events, they would have the chance of upsetting the standings and becoming the OTA Shoot Out champion.
The venue for the OTA Shoot Out for the second year running is the Driver Development Track at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Revamped in 2014, this 2.9 kilometre track has elevation changes, blind corners, and good sight lines for spectators. In the above photo Carsten Gieschen in his awesome BMW M3 is coming onto the front straight.
Coming through the chicane at the end of the front straight we have Gerry Carvalho in his Miata, Mohamed Hussain in his CRX, and Jeremy Brutzki in his S2000. In addition to racing his Miata, Gerry is the OTA registrar. OTA is a volunteer based organization – a division of CASC-OR and is supported and powered by local car clubs.
There were 18 competitors for this final Shoot Out with additional cars on the track during non-competition time for track day lapping. The morning was solely for warming up the cars and the drivers with competition taking place in the afternoon. Due to the variety of cars and different types of set-ups, OTA bases the Shoot Out results not upon the actual time to complete the course but upon a mathematical formula referred to as PAX. At the beginning of the season all cars are placed into a class based upon their preparation (modifications, tires, etc.) and, in addition to class wins, are able to be considered for the overall win. The Shoot Out uses this same model.
As a result, the variety of cars challenging each other for the top spot range over a thirty year time span and from 4 cylinder naturally aspirated engines to V8's with forced induction. It was an incredible amount of fun to participate in and the suspense was certainly high throughout the day.
At the end of the regular season the standings were:
1) Michael Gardner – Nissan 350Z
2) Mohamed Hussain – Honda CRX Si
3) Kyle Beaty – Toyota Celica
4) Greg Campbell – Chevrolet Corvette
5) Carsten Gieschen – BMW M3
Michael chose not to race at the Shoot Out as he had made a decision to run his 350Z with CSCS – where he got a win and a track record at Toronto Motorsports Park. Sometimes there just is not enough time and money to participate in all of the events we want – and Michael accomplished his goals in both series.
In addition to four of the top five being in attendance, 14 other competitors were present and aiming for that top spot. Cars included a C7 Corvette, a couple of Mazda RX-8s and a couple of Miatas, two Subaru STi's, Honda was represented by another CRX and an S2000. There was a Chevrolet Cobalt SS, a Kia Optima, a Scion FRS, and Germany was present with an Audi S4 and in addition to Carsten's M3 there was a BMW 318.
There is one thing in common with these five drivers – all of them have owned their cars for a few years and have spent that time fine tuning them into competition machines. This is not to say that you cannot have a fresh build and create a record breaking machine, as my good friend William Au-Yeung has proven is possible with his incredible Civic. However, for most of us amateur racers it takes time, practice, and experimentation to develop our car into a lean mean racing machine. And the Driver Development Track at CTMP is an excellent track to put it all on the line. The weather was absolutely perfect – barely a cloud in the sky and not too hot. The drivers would not be able to use the weather as an excuse – other than to say that the sun was in their eyes.