Sunday mornings are for sleeping in. Since the invention of the Digital Video Recorder, all my motorsports viewing has been pre-empted until the afternoon, when a big mug of coffee, some eggs and a spoonful of hot sauce has been ingested, and I’m comfortably ensconced in my couch, with no exposure to fresh air or natural light.
Unless my friend is racing.
I was invited to head out to the historic
Mosport Canadian Tire Motorsports Park to watch Brian Makse, my friend, mentor, driving coach and fellow journalist race my favorite car, the Mazda MX-5, against a field of Mazda MX-5s. There would also be American LeMans and Porsche GT3 Cup cars there. I decided to set my DVR to record Formula 1, and head out mid-afternoon. Brian has had a long, successful career in both pro and club racing, and has coached and raced against our own Jack Baruth, while helping to fine tune my own driving skills when we both have a chance to get away to the track. Today, I’d get a rare chance to watch him at work.
No matter how wretched my hangover was after a Saturday night out on the town, I was determined to be there and lend some moral support. Luckily, my transportation for the day was a brand new Shelby GT500 – 662 horsepower, 24.5 MPG on the journey there, doing 80 mph with the A/C on full blast. Who says modern cars are boring? Brian had a 991 Porsche Carrera, which got next to no attention in the tiny town of Bowmanville. The bright blue Shelby was the winner in the land of chain restaurants and tract housing. I’ll take the Porsche, electric steering and all.
The paddock area was Miata heaven; race-prepped MX-5s everywhere, for both the Challenge and the Playboy Cup (which use slightly different setups, and tend to run a bit faster). Mazda had some displays with the parts needed to turn a regular MX-5 into a Playboy cup car. Suspension nerds, note the Sachs remote reservoir dampers.
I missed most of the ALMS race, after yakking about Miatas to the owner of a 1993 with 27,000 original miles, but some of the faster stuff was on display. There were also a couple of banged up MX-5s on display.
This one’s got a bit of a crooked smile. A trip to the orthodontist is likely.
Here’s Brian getting into his MX-5. The cars use revised shocks and springs, BF Goodrich race tires and proper safety equipment. Nothing more. They are very close to stock.
Oops, I lied. There’s an awesome Supertrapp style muffler out back. Not too loud, but still buzzing and frenetic.
Playboy Cup race tires
Don’t forget that memo!
Brian ended up finishing 4th, not losing a position but not gaining one either.
While Brian generously provided a free pass, I’ve come to realize that watching racing without trackside credentials is inferior to watching it on TV. Even though the sounds, smells and other details aren’t there, TV cameras give a superior vantage point. Standing on a hill overlooking the front straight, I’d be peering down, waiting to see Brian’s car fly by and then re-appearing a minute and a half later.
Even better is participating…but I’m still not there, just yet. Though Mosport technically is my “home track”
Too bad the kart circut was closed that day.