NA-F2000: Mosport LaLiberte report

OK, so I raced Sunday, moved Monday, and have been working since then. I have hardly had enough time to fart, so this is the earliest you get to hear about my fun at Mosport. The pro series raced there in May, and there is a good chance that...

OK, so I raced Sunday, moved Monday, and have been working since then. I have hardly had enough time to fart, so this is the earliest you get to hear about my fun at Mosport.

The pro series raced there in May, and there is a good chance that we will be going back next year, so we wanted to get a handle on the track before winter, at least get comfortable on it.

Mosport is a tremendously fun track to drive. It is very challenging and dangerous with several flat, fourth gear turns with extreme elevation changes. It would be like taking the Corkscrew at Laguna Seca and lengthing it so that it could be taken at top gear.

I took it easy in practice, getting re-acclimated with the track (I raced it once last year in a Formula Ford), building confidence for the intimidating turns. We didn't test on Friday, as we didn't know there was a test until we showed up at the track, so I was a step behind all the guys who took part.

Qualifying Saturday afternoon started out OK. I got in some decent laps earily, pushing near 100%, but not quite (tapping the brake going into eight just to settle the car...something I wasn't planning to do later in the session on a fast lap). THen I spun pushing too hard going through turn five, a two turn complex that forms a hairpin type turn. THe braking area is uphill, and the car kind of come over a rise at the first apex, then quick brake and go into first for the second apex and up the Andretti straight, which goes uphill 120+ feet, and must be at least 1/2 mile long. I was (and am still) convinced that this hairpin can be taken very fast, and that letting the car get slightly out of control before the second apex is the fastest way...at least in qualifying where a spin is just a spin, and there are more laps. I came in to make a couple quick changes after my spin, and my dad noticed a loose nut on the front right upright, and tells me that we are done for the session, so I had to bargain with him to tighten it, let me go out for a lap, then come back in to check it before continuing with qualifying laps. Unfortunately, it took too long, and the checkered flag was out on my first lap after checking everything. I ended up qualifying sixth, and was disappointed, as I wanted the front row, and felt it was possible.

Sunday morning, before the race, we found a flat right rear, with a puncture from a piece of wire we picked up in the paddock, so we had to change to a VERY old back-up tire (we are essentially done for the year, and don't have as many spares with us). I added 0.5 degrees on the rear wing to try and compensate for it, but it clearly wasn't enough as the car was loose the entire first lap. I got one car at the start, and was attempting to take another on the outside going into turn eight on the first lap, when he moved over on me, forcing me off ala Gil deFerran at Elkhart Lake. Luckily, eight has a very late apex, so it is clean on the high line going in, and I was able to keep it going with just two tires on the track, although I lost probably 30 feet to the guy.

Sixth place was now right on my back, and pressuring hard, so I pulled out all the stops driving defensively, taking a really wide line. It worked until turn five, where I spun (which I would guess is partially due to the right rear, as it received no help from aerodynamics in this turn). Sixth place narowly got by, but my car stalled, and would not refire right away. So I sat there, right off the line, trying to re-start the car. Drew and Rider would have loved it. The next ten cars got by, then the eleventh, a Sports 2000, hit me head on, knocking me back about 15 feet. So I quickly sat up to see if I had two front wheels pointed the right direction. The nose was crushed, and the wings were crumpled, but the wheels pointed the right direction, and I had a brake pedal, so the master cylinders weren't crushed. I tried the engine, started right away :L , and motored up to the pits, passing the rest of the photographers along the way (threw that one in for Rider), dragging the front end. The car didn't feel too bad, so I thought I'd have them take the nose off, and then finish the rest of the race sans front wings. Unfortunately, it bent the lower wishbone on the right side, so we didn't go on.

Luckily, we have two nose boxes, and we were going to upgrade to new front wings for next year, so the crash won't be too bad for us, aside from the wishbone.

I didn't bother going to talk to the guy that hit me...if he is bad enough to hit me under a yellow flag, nothing I say will help him. Luckily there weren't any workers pushing a car, and that it happened on the slowest corner. I don't plan on doing a lot of SCCA races any more, I think I'll stick with the pro races. I am tired of the SCCA and its amateur drivers, I think they aim for me!

I'll try and write down a lap of the track later...at least describe it. The place is a real hoot to drive!

Dana

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About this article
Series Other open wheel
Drivers Gil de Ferran