Bowmanville, Ontario - VICI Racing's interest in this afternoon's ALMS Grand Prix of Mosport ended rather abruptly after less than three quarters of an hour after the ...
Bowmanville, Ontario - VICI Racing's interest in this afternoon's ALMS Grand Prix of Mosport ended rather abruptly after less than three quarters of an hour after the #18 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR hit the tire barriers in Turn 2 following a right hand rear suspension component failure. It was a disappointing end to a race that had promised so much, and Marc Basseng, who was in the cockpit for the first and second stint, had been running a very fast, smooth race pace right from the start.
Race day had dawned warm in Bowmanville, Ontario, with patchy clouds overhead and mild humidity. With the 25- minute morning warm-up safely completed the pre-race festivities got underway after lunch, ending with the traditional 'Gentleman start your engines' being called here by Canadian movie star Dan Aykroyd. There were a few spots of rain before the start and a very brief shower which sent the teams up and down the pitlane scurrying to prepare rain tires for an eventuality that the race might turn wet. However, a few minutes after the scheduled start time of 3:05 PM the cars took the green flag for the beginning of the 2 hour 45 minute race in dry and sunny conditions, although a few dark clouds still lurked on the horizon.
Marc made a very good start and retained his seventh place on the grid position in GT2; he was able to maintain a quick pace that saw the #73 Tafel Racing Ferrari F430 GT and the #44 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 RSR dropping back in his wake. As Marc lapped in the 1:21 and 1:22 bracket the 29-year-old German opened up his advantage over these two Michelin-shod cars to 10 seconds by lap 6, to 15 seconds by lap 10, and to 20 seconds by lap 13 (with 18 mins of racing completed). The #73 and #44 were locked in battle together; meanwhile Marc's cushion in front of them grew to 25 seconds by lap 17.
On lap 22 (3:35 PM, 30 minute of racing) Marc came in for the first planned routine pit stop of the afternoon, changing all four tires and adding fuel, but remaining in the car. He exited the pits after a smooth, fast stop, dropping down behind the #73, #44 cars in the running order, as well as the #007 Drayson-Barwell Aston Martin Vantage GT2. Immediately Marc was able to up the pace, posting his quickest lap of the afternoon on his first flying lap (lap 24) in 1:20.877; his first sub-1:21 lap of the race. Next time around he was past the #007 car and on lap 28 he posted a 1:20.697 as he closed in on the still battling #73 and #44 cars.
However just one tour of the 2.246-mile, 10-turn Mosport International Raceway later (3:46 PM; 41 minutes of racing) and an unexpected right hand rear suspension failure just as Marc dropped through the long, high speed Clayton Corner (turn 2) saw the wheel and hub detached together and the car wound up firmly in the tire barriers. Marc emerged from unhurt, but the accident put a swift end to VICI Racing's involvement in the 2008 Grand Prix of Mosport, and with it the end of the most promising race of our inaugural year so far.
Roland Wall, Technical Director VICI Racing: "It is a very unfortunate end to what was turning out to be an excellent race, our best so far this year, but the component failure was outside our control. Up to that point the car had run really well, we had called a strategy that saw us pit early and Marc was running consistent 1:21 and 1:22 laps on the first stint, although we were running slightly conservatively. After the first stop Marc was immediately down into the 1:20s with a compound we had chosen to run in our planned longer middle stint. I'm pleased with the progress Kumho have made, the continuing improvement is demonstrated in that we were able to run our race pace immediately from the start and the tires didn't drop off at all. The crew have worked really hard this week and I can have no complaints about anyone's performance, the pitstop was quick and the car was set up very well. Now we have to assess the damage and start working on a plan to get to Detroit."
Marc Basseng (Germany): "I'm disappointed we couldn't finish this race as the car felt good and the tires were holding up well. The tires were the best I have felt them after my first stop when the second set of tires were really good for the few laps before the incident, and I was running quicker than my first stint although I was caught in traffic. I felt the suspension giving way in the fast left hander [Turn 2] and then the wheel detached and I could only land in the tire wall."