Leighton Reese 6th in first round of World Challenge GT double header at Mosport August 7, 2004 -- Bowmanville, Ontario Canada Leighton Reese, of Minnetonka, MN, and his Banner Engineering Chevrolet Corvette finished a strong 6th place here at...
Leighton Reese 6th in first round of World Challenge GT double header at Mosport
August 7, 2004 -- Bowmanville, Ontario Canada
Leighton Reese, of Minnetonka, MN, and his Banner Engineering Chevrolet Corvette finished a strong 6th place here at Mosport International Raceway in central Ontario in the first half of a double race weekend for the GT cars in SCCA's SPEED World Challenge Series.
The GT race on Saturday or round 6 for the season was what Leighton Reese described as "the best automobile race I have ever been in" and saw just about as much action as could be stuffed into a 43 minute sprint race.
To add to the excitement about halfway through the race a light rain began to fall. Not on all of the track but in varying degrees such that just about every turn had differing moisture. Reese lost two positions when he came into turn 4 and it was much wetter than anticipated.
"I almost crashed there, big time," said Reese.
"I have never worked so hard in a race in my life," Reese said with a big smile. "You know how much water I drank during the race? None! I was too busy!"
"I went from turn one all the way through turn five side by side with Phil McClure (driver of the Aggregate Industries Corvette) at the start," Reese continued. "I was three wide several times. It was crazy out there!"
"Andy Pilgrim (driver of the factory Cadillac CTS-V) and I went side by side through the sweeper in turn 7 at about 155 MPH," Leighton exclaimed! "I kept saying, give up but he never did. Both of us were waiting for the other guy to give way but neither of us would!"
"I was on the outside of Pilgrim all the way through turn one," he said still charged up about the race. "That is just nuts to be doing that!"
While Michael Galati in the factory sponsored Audi RS-6 won the race having led every lap the race saw position changes occurring on every lap in almost every turn. All of this at an average speed of 102.7 miles per hour!
"There were 10 good racers and race cars out there going at it for 30 laps and nothing got wrecked," Reese recalled. "It was an awesome race! If Formula 1 races were this exciting and competitive no one would be complaining!"
When the field had covered the 74 mile race distance the top 9 competitors were all within 4.195 seconds of each other. The 10th driver in this group, Lou Gigliotti had been tapped by Culver and spun into the grass. Gigliotti recovered to finish 10th. At an average speed in excess of 100 MPH 4.2 seconds compresses 9 or 10 cars into a very tight space!
Reese spent much of the race trying to pass Michael Culver's Porsche 911 who was in turn trying to pass Max Angelelli's Cadillac while McClure was right behind trying to pass Leighton. Meanwhile Pilgrim was behind McClure trying to pass while fending off the Viper of Tommy Archer who won the last race in Portland.
"It was wild," said Reese. "Here you are looking for a way past the guy in front of you but you have to take a defensive line so that the guy behind you doesn't get by. And everyone in the pack is doing the same thing!"
Leighton won the battle of the Corvettes as the Banner Engineering Corvette was the first Chevrolet across the finish line. The best part is the SPEED World Challenge GT competitors get to do it all over again on Sunday!
The Saturday's Round 6 GT race, or the first half of the Mosport double header can be seen on SPEED TV as Saturday's will be broadcast on August 15th at 1 PM Eastern Time. Do not miss this race!