It’s not drifting… But here is a practice run at the Mosport World Challenge weekend in the LPL Lotus Exige S. This track is awesome and fast! A real old school type of track! We slapped on some new tires and made a few adjustments in the rear for qualifying and found 2 seconds, which put us on pole for the race on Sunday.
This is my second time racing the LPL Lotus Exige S in World Challenge and my first time at Mosport. Mosport is one of those old school tracks with history and a ton of character. It is a very fast track so I wasn’t sure if the Lotus would be as competitive as it was at Long Beach.
We did a test day on Friday and the first session was for me to get up to speed and learn the track. By the second session I was quickest but we had a few setbacks with mechanical problems so it limited our time to get a good setup on the car. Even though the car was not perfect yet, we knew that we could be competitive for this double header race.
On Saturday I qualified 3rdbehind John Heinrecy in the corvette and Peter Cunningham in the Real Time Acura. I was only 5 tenths off pole but not too happy with the car. Our setup was a little off and we didn’t have much time before the race for changes. For the first race, I got a great standing start and got by the pole sitter Peter Cunningham into turn one. I got held up a little by a slower GT car, but was able to keep the lead going into turn 5. The Corvette had no problem driving by me down the straight, which I knew would happen if I didn’t have a gap on him into 5. On lap 2 Cunningham was on me going through turn 3 and I was trying to create a gap going into 4 and I had a BIG moment and found myself grabbing wheel to save it. I then found myself getting punted by Cunningham but I still manage to keep the car on track and in front of him. We spent most of the race nose to tail and side by side many times, which allowed Heinrecy in the Corvette to check out. It was a lot of work to stay in front of Cunningham because my car was SO loose. I was sawing on the wheel at every corner for 50min and was able to finish in 2nd place.
We made many changes on the car for Race 2 and they proved to be good ones because we were able to qualify on pole! The top 3 were only separated by 2 tenths which would make for an interesting race because all 3 cars are fast in different areas. I was kind of a sitting duck because I knew I needed to get at least a 5 car gap going into turn 5 on the Corvette to have any shot at holding him off on the straight. That would be very hard to do with all the GT traffic in front of us on the first lap and just like I thought I was held up a bit with the GT car dicing. He did a good job to set me up and got me down the straight. My plan at that point was to just stay close and push him to use up his tires. I did that for the first 6 or 7 laps and we pulled out a 7 second gap on Cunningham in 3rd. It was around this time that my motor started to miss and I tried to switch the ignition, map settings, but nothing seemed to fix it. I fell back to Cunningham quickly and it was pretty easy for him to get by me. I kept working on the car and it got better but not fixed. I was able to run the same pace as Cunningham so I knew that I might have a shot at getting 2nd back. I eventually got by him going into turn 8 but by the time we got to turn 3 my motor bogged down and he got along side of me into turn 4. We stayed side by side through 5, which set me up with a good draft down the back straight. I was on the outside going into 8 and we both drove in there very hard and went side by side again but it put me on the inside for turn 9 and the pass was completed. I was able to hold on for the rest of the race and finished 2nd … again.
I’ve done three World Challenge races this year in the LPL Lotus Exige S and I have two poles, a first, and two seconds. Even though we missed the first two rounds, we are third in points. Not too bad! I just hope we can finish the season and make a run for the Championship, but it’s not looking good on the money side at this point. If we don’t find a major sponsor, we will not make the next round and that would be very disappointing to everyone involved in this program. Keep your fingers crossed!!!