O Canada! AIM Autosport will race close to home this week, fielding the No. 61 Lexus-powered Riley Mk XI in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal. The team is the only fulltime Canadian entrant in the...
AIM Autosport will race close to home this week, fielding the No. 61 Lexus-powered Riley Mk XI in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal. The team is the only fulltime Canadian entrant in the Daytona Prototype class, with an all-Canadian crew and lead driver, Mark Wilkins of Toronto. Brian Frisselle of Lynchburg, Va., will share driving duty in Montreal.
AIM has raced on the 4.361-km circuit since 1995. Recent Montreal results include a win for co-owner Andrew Bordin in the 2003 Canadian Formula Ford Championship and a win for Kevin Lacroix in the 2005 Formula BMW USA Championship. Wilkins has graduated through the ranks with AIM, earning two fourth-place finishes in the 2003 Fran-Am North American Championship and sixth in the 2005 Star Mazda Championship race, all in Montreal.
"Montreal is a fantastic venue to race at," Bordin said. "The energy of the people, the interest they have in motor racing and the race knowledge they have accumulated over the years because of past heroes makes for a crowd that appreciates what they're seeing. The circuit is a very technical one -- hard braking zones and lots of quick-loaded chicanes that require slow, precise hands. I hope some of our experience will pay off for our race team!"
Doncaster Racing is the only full-season Canadian GT competitor in the Rolex Series. With the exception of Texas race engineer Jim Malicki, the team members are Canadian, most hailing from Quebec. They will prepare the No. 17 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car for Toronto drivers Dave Lacey and Greg Wilkins. Lacey was born in South Africa, where his father John managed a Formula One team. Wilkins was born in Montreal.
Dave Lacey recalled an interesting experience before one of his first races in Montreal:
"One great story from a Firehawk event, which was supporting the F1 race at the track, was when Tyrell team principal, Ken Tyrell, came out to the grid after our formation lap to wish me luck in the race. It unnecessarily raised a few eyebrows with folks wondering if the six-foot-four 13th-place qualifier was actually under consideration for F1! Ken was a great family friend and shared a long racing relationship with my father."