The transporters rolling into Canadian Tire Motorsports Park for this weekend’s Chevrolet Grand Prix for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship may have departed Watkins Glen earlier this week, but they began their journey months ago.
The only back-to-back races on the schedule, Watkins Glen to CTMP is a four- or five-hour drive. But crossing the U.S.-Canadian border, especially in the current pandemic climate, presents its own challenges.
“It started probably three months ago, at least, just with paperwork just to get the team across the border,” explained Mike Shank, principal of Meyer Shank Racing with Curb Agajanian. “Also dealing with the COVID situation, which is pretty fluid, although a little more settled today. But leading up to that … who’s vaccinated, who’s not; what do we need to do? Then what does the new paperwork look like to get two tractor trailers and all the people through. And then we ultimately have to think about, ‘Hey, we’ll come into an endurance race, going into a sprint race…’ We take a normal allotment of spares, but then we need to take another 30 percent, just in case something happens. So it’s a lot of load details, logistic details and parts manager details.”
Fortunately, nothing happened to the No. 60 Acura in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen, although the team was certainly disappointed in its second-place finish after dominating the weekend prior to the race. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t work to be done, and it gets challenging when the normal pre-race prep can’t be completed in the shop due to the time constraints. Rather than load up the car and do the prep at CTMP, it’s all done before the car leaves Watkins Glen.
“We stay in the U.S. as long as we can. We load everything up Wednesday — it’ll be a day off for everybody here. Thursday, everyone drives through the Thousand Islands and back west again over to Mosport. That’s pretty much the standard deal we’ve done for years when we got to Canada and it works out pretty good. We like to get our work done [at Watkins Glen], get it all done, so all the guys can have a day off before we travel again for Mosport,” Shank said.
The No. 60 Acura squad will be looking to rebound from the Glen disappointment and reclaim the championship lead in Sunday’s 2h40m race. The race begins at 3:05 p.m. Eastern on Sunday and will be carried live on NBC.