Matthew Brabham showed no mercy to his rivals in the Allied Building Products Grand Prix of Toronto, the seventh round of the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires. The runaway championship leader made his usual exemplary start from the pole in the No. 83 MAZDASPEED/Team Andretti Autosport entry and never looked back en route to his sixth successive victory.
Brabham, 19, from Boca Raton, Fla., opened up a gap of four seconds over his nearest challenger, Juan Piedrahita, by Lap 5, then was content to cruise for the majority of the 25-lap, 30-minute race on the challenging 1.755-mile street circuit. Last year’s Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda champion and grandson of three-time Formula 1 World Champion Sir Jack Brabham put the hammer down again just before the half-distance mark, securing an additional championship point for posting the fastest lap of the race at 1:09.636 (faster than anyone else qualified), and eventually took the checkered flag a comfortable 12.445 seconds clear of the field.
“It was a close race at the start. Juan was really quick at the start and Diego [Ferreira] was right behind him. They were able to get quite close in the tow and down the back straight on the first lap. But once I just managed to start pulling away and break the tow a little bit, then it was a matter of getting through the back markers and making sure I kept it off all the walls and kept my focus. It was a long race for me out there in front. I can’t thank the guys at Andretti enough. They have been predicting the track and have been basically spot on the whole weekend so hopefully we will do the same tomorrow. I am just over the moon at the moment.”
Piedrahita, from Bogota, Colombia, held second place for the opening half of the race but was struggling with a tire that was gradually losing air and soon came under pressure from Venezuelan Diego Ferreira who had made a fine start to jump immediately from fifth to third. Ferreira (Juncos Racing) made the pass for second on Lap 13 to secure his fifth podium finish of the season.
Piedrahita (JDC MotorSports) slipped to fourth behind charging Brazilian Nicolas Costa but failed to reach the finish when his tire finally let go with just two laps remaining. Costa, who had started third but fell back to seventh at the start, fought through impressively to claim third on his Pro Mazda debut with Team Pelfrey.
Teammate Spencer Pigot was running a close fourth when he clipped the wall in Turn Four on Lap 2, forcing him into a lengthy pit stop for repairs. Shelby Blackstock (Andretti Autosport) lost control and spun in Turn Five while running in fourth place on Lap 6, while another incident on the first lap also cost Juncos Racing’s Scott Anderson a shot at the podium. The Colorado driver lost several laps while his crew repaired the damage, after which he returned and served notice of his pace by posting the second fastest lap of the race.
California-based Welshman Lloyd Read (JDC MotorSports) secured his best finish of the season, fourth, after a lengthy battle with teenaged Californian Kyle Kaiser (World Speed Motorsports), who made a spectacular start to jump from 10th to fourth but soon slipped back into the pack.