By any other name, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park – the track formerly known as Mosport – would still be as fast. With its roots firmly anchored in the '60s and its character unchanged for more than 50 years, the 2.5-mile circuit in the Canadian countryside near Toronto is decidedly Old School. With daunting high-speed corners and soaring straights, it is not a track for the timid – which is why Corvette Racing's drivers relish their return to the historic 10-turn circuit for Sunday's Mobil 1 presents the Grand Prix of Mosport.
If a track can suit a race car, then Mosport was custom tailored for the Compuware Corvettes. The Chevy team has scored nine victories there since 2001, including its maiden win in the GT category in 2009 and a breakout victory last season that propelled Oliver Gavin and Jan Magnussen to a runner-up finish in the GT championship.
Along with its new name, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park will see a pair of new wide-body Corvette C6.Rs and a revised Corvette Racing driver lineup for this year's Grand Prix. Magnussen has returned to the No. 3 Compuware Corvette that carried him to victory at Mosport with Johnny O'Connell in 2007, 2008, and 2009. He's now teamed with Antonio Garcia, a pairing that finished second in the preceding round at Lime Rock Park and currently stands second in the GT drivers championship.
They'll face stiff intramural competition from teammates Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner in the No. 4 Compuware Corvette C6.R. Gavin and Milner are atop the driver standings on the strength of two wins and four straight podium finishes in the four rounds of the American Le Mans Series contested this season.
"For sheer speed, Mosport is one of my favorite tracks," Magnussen declared. "It's such a fantastic feeling when you do a fast lap, because you know there is a big, big penalty for making a mistake."
Garcia will make his Mosport debut alongside his experienced teammate in his first year as a full-season driver with Corvette Racing. What advice does the Dane have for his Spanish co-pilot? "Just remember it's not your car, so give it all you've got!" Magnussen quipped.
Garcia is taking a measured approach to Mosport. "I've been watching videos and in-car cameras, and leading up to the race I will talk more precisely with Jan to learn what to do – and especially what not to do!" he said. "They tell me that it is a fast and somewhat dangerous race track. I'm used to those kinds of circuits, so I'm looking forward to it."
With three career wins at the Canadian course, Gavin knows Mosport's nuances. "Every driver looks forward to going there," said the Englishman. "The characteristics of the Corvette C6.R car seem to suit that layout, and I'm anxious to see how much of a step forward we've made from last year. I've had some great races there, including a fantastic win with Jan last year. Mosport always seems to bring out the best in Corvette Racing."