RISI'S INSIDE TRACK: MOSPORT Risi Competizione technical director Rick Mayer has played a large role in two consecutive GT2 victories for the team's Ferrari F430 GT at Mosport International Raceway. With defending class...
RISI'S INSIDE TRACK: MOSPORT
Risi Competizione technical director Rick Mayer has played a large role in two consecutive GT2 victories for the team's Ferrari F430 GT at Mosport International Raceway. With defending class champions Mika Salo and Jaime Melo seeking their elusive first race win of the season in the American Le Mans Series, Mayer offers a perspective on what it will take to three-peat at Mosport.
The track: Mosport's a 2.46-mile track with mostly high-speed corners; a quick lap was 1:17.8 for GT2 in 2007. This track is super easy on brakes as the corner sequence is in decreasing speed to the braking zones; you never threshold brake. The track surface is bumpy in an undulating way, not harsh and abrupt like a street circuit. The apex patches will change the grip throughout the corner. The ideal line will depend on where the grip is - and how bad last winter was; rain will further complicate the ideal grip line. Last year we saw 260 Kph (160 mph) on the uphill back straight; this should be roughly the same this year. Curbs don't really come into play here as they're not very usable; this may change as our damper package keeps improving. You don't want to go off track here, there's very little runoff for the speed of the corners. If you go off track the car is usually damaged.
Setup: With the long straight being important, you would like to run low downforce but you lose so much on the other sections it ends up being a quicker lap with a higher downforce setup. Saying that, you still need to be conscious of straightline speed. The mainly fast corners, with little requirement for low-speed power down, suit a stiffer setup (anti-roll bars and springs). A stiffer setup gets you into, through and off the faster corners better by maintaining the downforce more constantly; its pitch control.
Keeping the car from getting too light over the crests is also a setup concern. A stiffer setup also allows the car to be run lower without damaging the floors from hitting the track. Damper work will help on the undulating bumps and entrance and exit platform stability, but dampers aren't as important as they will be at bumper street circuits. Mosport is the easiest track on brakes we go to. We'll run a lot of brake blocking here to keep temperature in them. The brakes generally over-cool here; there are no hard braking zones. This track isn't nice in the rain and we'll have to sort a wet setup; it usually rains during either testing or the race.
The Race: Hopefully this won't jinx us but Risi Competizione has been very successful here in the past few races. We had a test day on Tuesday and if it's dry we should have a good setup for the first session on Friday. The Porsches and the Panoz should have a slight straight speed advantage here, especially the Panoz. But this didn't hinder the Ferraris at Road America where top speed was at a higher premium. At Mosport the long high-speed corners certainly favor the Ferrari. We won last year's race here. Let's hope, this time, history repeats. Our string of bad luck needs to stop here.