New Chevy Cobalt Team Will Run At Home Track Of Mosport Canadian Duo Ken McAlpine and Dave Shep Join Cobalt Contingent; Will Race Chevy Cobalt for First Time in KONI Challenge Series DETROIT - A new team will compete in the ST class of the ...
New Chevy Cobalt Team Will Run At Home Track Of Mosport
Canadian Duo Ken McAlpine and Dave Shep Join Cobalt Contingent; Will Race Chevy Cobalt for First Time in KONI Challenge Series
DETROIT - A new team will compete in the ST class of the Grand-Am KONI Challenge this weekend in a Chevrolet Cobalt race car and it's a team which promises a good finish at Mosport International Speedway. Both Ken McAlpine and Dave Shep call the province of Ontario home and the co-drivers, who will share the No. 98 Team Cobalt California car this weekend, have extensive experience at the 2.5-mile, 10-turn road course located near Toronto, Canada. Never having raced a front-wheel drive car before, the pair tested the car at Mosport last Friday and were pleased with the results.
"Mike (Kuznicki), the Georgian Bay team owner actually gave us the opportunity to drive the factory car during the test and it was great," said Dave Shep. "It will probably hang with anything through the corners of Mosport. Since it's a difficult track to pass on, if you can get in front of some of the faster guys through most of the track - certainly from turn one to turn five-B - you can hang with the fastest cars. The way this car corners it would be difficult for anyone to get by you in between there."
Both drivers have extensive experience at Mosport, partially owing to the fact that they live in close proximity to the track. As pro racers, they naturally found themselves competing there as well - over the last seven years, McAlpine has raced in the Ontario Pro Challenge Series which holds events there, and Shep's 11-year full-time racing career has taken him to Mosport many times (not to mention Daytona and Le Mans).
McAlpine and Shep will have help from their Cobalt-wheeling counterparts, surprisingly, most of who claim the Canadian track as their home track. The father and son Georgian Bay Motorsports team of Jim and Jamie Holton (who prepare the race Cobalts and is based in Ontario) ended up winning last year's race there and Jamie will again be driving a Cobalt here with Eric Curran. The No. 53 Predator Auto Sport team of Tyler Givogue and Kurt Kossmann - who had the potential to finish on the podium at Lime Rock Park but were slowed late in the race by electrical issues - is also based in Ontario as is the GS Motorsports team of Gunter Schmidt, Steve Kent and Andrew Danyliw. All three teams have tested and raced here numerous times. And while not from the area, Tom Lepper, a California native who will be sharing the No. 48 Team Cobalt California car with Phil Malgren, started from the front row here last year and led a good portion of the race. Most drivers agree that Mosport is a difficult track, but according to Shep, the characteristics of the Cobalt allow the car to be driven fast there, especially in the corners.
"I was impressed that you can go flat on corners at Mosport," said Shep. "It's is a very daunting track, but there were corners that Ken and I could go flat and not get close to the threshold. We felt very safe and secure doing it. The more you push the car the faster it will go. It's not a car that you can be timid with. If you push it, you will be rewarded with quick lap times."
Quick lap times are every racer's goal, and seeing the Cobalts perform well over the last several years in Grand-Am Cup (now KONI Challenge Series) was a big part of Shep and McAlpine's decision to race the production-based Chevys.
"As consistent front-running ST class cars, we've seen the Cobalt consistently perform well for the last three years," said McAlpine. "We also liked the professionalism and expert preparation from Georgian Bay Motorsports (who prepares the Cobalts) and the team shares all data with other Cobalt teams. GM Racing engineering support is on hand to help as well. So now we're looking at doing the next two races after Mosport."
A total of five Chevy Cobalt race cars are entered in the event at Mosport: the No. 48 Team Cobalt California of Lepper and Malgren, the No. 53 Predator Auto Sport of Givogue and Kossmann, the No. 98 Team Cobalt California of Shep and McAlpine, the No. 01 Georgian Bay Motorsports Cobalt of Holtom and Curran and the No. 138 GS Motorsports Cobalt of Kent, Schmidt and Danyliw. Chevrolet is currently fourth place in the ST class manufacturers standings.
The KONI Challenge Series ST race at Mosport International Speedway in Bowmanville, Ontario takes place on Sunday, June 17 at 10:45 a.m. EDT.
-credit: gm racing