Ward Imrie of Winnipeg, Manitoba, stepped to the top of the podium in his first outing in a race car. The seventeen-year-old karter competed in the Formula 1200 class at Gimli Motorsport Park this past weekend and displayed a powerful blend of...
Ward Imrie of Winnipeg, Manitoba, stepped to the top of the podium in his first outing in a race car. The seventeen-year-old karter competed in the Formula 1200 class at Gimli Motorsport Park this past weekend and displayed a powerful blend of driving speed and set-up knowledge.
A total of twelve Formula 1200 cars showed up for the weekend's racing and Ward quickly established himself as a contender by setting the fourth fastest time in Saturday's qualifying session. Following the timed runs, the class ran two ten-lap heats and a fifteen lap final. Ward finished first and second in the heats before taking the win in the final.
"I didn't expect to be on the pace quite so quickly," Ward admitted, "But, the Vallis Motor Sport team helped me get the car sorted out pretty quickly. At first, the car had a lot of understeer on the way out of the corners so the team adjusted the suspension. I watched what they did and realized how those changes relate to a kart. After that, it was pretty simple to get the car working really well. It got better every time I was on the track. The toughest thing for me to get used to was the size of the car. It's obviously much bigger than a kart and you can't see the nose so I was extra cautious when I was near other cars."
On Sunday, Ward was even faster, but didn't enjoy the success of the previous day. After taking second in the first heat, he suffered a crash in the second heat while running second. Following close behind the leader, Ward was caught out when the lead car suffered a mechanical break and slowed in a corner. With another car coming around the turn, Ward was unable to go around the stricken car. He made contact and was flicked into the air. Luckily the car landed on its wheels and suffered only minimal damage.
"I just saw Dollar signs everywhere," Ward joked. "When I was going though the air, I thought 'this is going to be expensive!'"
The car was quickly fixed and Ward was back on the grid for the final. Having not finished the previous heat, he started at the back, but soon found his way to second place, looking for another win. As he applied pressure to the leader and searched for a way past, Ward suddenly veered off the track at one of the turns. A bolt in the steering system broke and, unable to turn the car, Ward parked on the grass.
In summation of his car racing debut, Ward said, "Today was a bit disappointing, but overall I'm really happy with this weekend. I learned a lot and had a good time. Thanks to Vallis Motor Sport for the use of the car and especially to my parents who have devoted a lot of time and effort to take me racing for so many years."
Ward now returns his focus to karts as he heads to Shannonville, Ontario, to participate in the Canadian Grand Nationals, August 4-6.