Star Mazda points leader Dane Cameron continued his domination of pre-race practice sessions Friday morning at the Steelback Grand Prix of Toronto, and the three Canadians in the race were all in the top-10. Drivers, in addition to learning a...
Star Mazda points leader Dane Cameron continued his domination of pre-race practice sessions Friday morning at the Steelback Grand Prix of Toronto, and the three Canadians in the race were all in the top-10.
Drivers, in addition to learning a circuit unfamiliar to most of them, were also learning the on-track characteristics of a new, medium-compound Goodyear racing tire making its competition debut this weekend.
Cameron, intelligently sitting out the first ten minutes of the session while other cars dried out the morning wet patches on the track, quickly came up to speed once on track and set the fast time of 1:09.519 around the 1.755-mile Exhibition Place street circuit. Cameron had the advantage of having raced this circuit last year, finishing 2nd in both Formula Ford 2000 support races.
"The track was fairly good once it got dried off and we had a very productive session," said the 18 year-old native of Sonoma, California. "The new Goodyears are a big step forward in on-track consistency and they don't 'grow' in diameter like the previous generation of tire did, which makes for easier and more consistent setups on the car."
Second-fastest was Australian racer James Davison in the #7 Velocity Motorsports/Easternats Mazda with a lap of 1:09.772. Third was Eric Freiberg of Homer Glen, Illinois in the #3 Northwest Autosport/CDE Collision Damage Experts Mazda with a lap of 1:10.276.
Fastest among the Canadian drivers was Vancouver native Lorenzo Mandarino, who turned a lap of 1:10.508 in his #23 Team G.FRO/Newway Forming Mazda. Rounding out the Canadian contingent were Toronto's Marco Di Leo in the #21 Maxwell Paper Racing Mazda with a lap of 1:10.669 and Quebec racer Devin Cunningham, who turned a lap of 1:10.865 in the #33 AIM Autosport/Discovery Channel Mazda.
The lone female racer in the series, Natacha Gachnang of Saint-Gingolph, Switzerland, was 11th in the #35 AIM Autosport Mazda, recording a lap of 1:11.183. Gachnang has made Star Mazda series history by finishing on the podium in the last two races.
Racers will also have a 30-minute practice session starting at 5:00 pm. The 35-minute qualifying session to set the starting grid for the race takes place at 8:00 am Saturday morning. The 45-minute Star Mazda Championship race is scheduled to take the green flag at 3:30 pm Saturday, July 7.
Toronto is the seventh round of the 12-race 2007 Star Mazda Championship schedule. Star Mazda races are broadcast tape-delayed on SPEED TV.