Earl Bamber was the quickest in the morning warmup for today’s Chevrolet Grand Prix at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, turning a 1m5.666s lap, about half a second slower than teammate Alex Lynn’s qualifying time in the No. 02 Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac. Filipe Albuquerque was second in the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Acura and Oliver Jarvis third in the polesitting No. 50 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb Agajanian Acura.
Antonio Garcia was quickest of the GTD PRO cars with a 1m16.492s in the NO. 3 Corvette, followed by Daniel Juncadella in the No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes AMG and Ross Gunn in the No. 23 Heart of Racing Aston Martin. Polesitting team Pfaff Motorsports did not take place in the warmup.
Aaron Telitz was quickest in GTD with a 1m16.663s in the No. 12 VasserSullivan Lexus RC F that Frankie Montecalvo will start on pole, and Garrett Grist was quickest in LMP3 with a 1m12.369s lap in the No. 30 Jr III Racing Ligier. The No. 74 Riley Motorsports Ligier appeared to have some issues, with Scott Andrews turning a handful of slow laps. The No. 74 inherited the LMP3 pole when the No. 36 Andretti Autosport was sent to the back for an unapproved suspension part.
Learning from history
Tom Blomqvist is still feeling the sting of finishing second to Wayne Taylor Racing in last weekend’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen after having the dominant car all weekend long. It was a similar disappointment earlier this year at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. Now, more than ever, Blomqvist wants to make sure history doesn’t repeat itself after he and Oliver Jarvis have been quick in the MSR Acura all weekend and he set a record lap to take the pole.
“I think that race we did pretty much spot on,” he said of the Six Hour. “You know, looking back at it now, I think maybe there was something we overlooked in terms of the drag levels of the two cars, because obviously it did leave us vulnerable in, I would say, key points in a race when it is quite difficult to overtake; so obviously that’s gonna be a small lesson. But, ultimately, everything that could go right for them towards the end of that race kind of did, and obviously they capitalized on that. We’ve just got to make sure that when things are coming our way we capitalize on them and make the most of it.
“We’ve done our job now, putting the car on pole which should make my life a little bit easier. Hopefully, track position around here is gonna be key again.”
Ron Fellows, who played a big part in sports car racing history as a driver for Corvette Racing, including a trio of American Le Mans Series GTS championships and a pair of Le Mans victories, is one of the owners of Canadian Tire Motorsports Park. He’s quite happy to welcome the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship back to the track, as well as see the fans turn out en masse.
“Three years…it seems like a lot longer than that since since they’ve been here,” he said. “I’m thrilled to have the WeatherTech Championship come back. To have them come to the track that Linda and I and Carlo Fidani own, and the place I grew up learning how to race at — it’s special. I can say I’m just thrilled, as are our fans. We had a number of fans that, when they bought tickets for 2020, didn’t ask for refunds, so [it’s a] very passionate fan base and just a great turnout. We’ve seen over our Victoria Day weekend event, and this one, superb ticket sales. I think it’s just the pent-up demand, too.”
“This is the kind of track we like.”
With Canadian Tire Motorsports Park having been absent from the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship schedule for the last two years, there are many drivers for whom this
is their first time racing at the historic Ontario circuit that has hosted just about every form of racing, including Formula 1. Mathieu Jaminet, who put the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3R on the GTD PRO pole yesterday, is one of those. The place definitely made an impression when he first tested at the track a couple of weeks ago.
“It’s super fast,” the Frenchman explained. “After my first run – I did six, seven laps – I told the guys, ‘I don’t know how is this place still homologated to race,’ because coming from Europe, this would never happen. So, yeah, just a big smile on my face. This is the kind of track we like as race drivers. It’s fast, good flow, a little bit dangerous and yet I really, really love it, and maybe place it as my best North American track so far.”
One of the changes to CTMP since IMSA last raced here in 2019 is a repave, which likely aided in Blomqvist’s record run in qualifying. The surface was replaced in stages, beginning in 2019 and continuing into 2021, thus the different shades of grey.
Track Limits In Effect
Track limits ended up playing a pretty big part in last week’s race at Watkins Glen, and they are in effect at CTMP in Turns 1 and 2. There have been far fewer track limit penalties applied so far this weekend, however, so it may very well not be a factor in the race.