Hot and heavy at CTMP
Hot and heavy at CTMP
A hot race track and heavy competition are expected to be the order of the weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park for today’s qualifying session and Sunday’s Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix, the seventh round of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
While sunny, hot weather and a steamy, hot race track are expected, the competition in the TUDOR United Sportscar Championship GTLM class may prove to be even hotter.
While lap times are typically slowed by high track temperatures, Friday afternoon’s second TUDOR Championship practice session saw the top four cars in GTLM covered by a mere 43 thousandths of a second (1:15.741 to 1:15.784), a margin of approximately 8 feet on the 2.459-mile circuit.
When the afternoon session began at 4:00 pm under a clear blue sky, the temperature of the sun-baked track had risen from 83 degrees F to 115 degrees F (46C), a hefty 30 degrees higher than the ambient temperature.
Corvette Racing’s Oliver Gavin set the pace in the second session as Porsche’s Patrick Pilet, Corvette’s Antonio Garcia, and BMW Team RLL’s Bill Auberlen matched the times as teams focused on longer runs in anticipated race conditions.
All nine TUDOR Championship GTLM entries posted times in the afternoon session that were within an incredibly tight 0.444-second band.
Teams are required to start Sunday’s two-hour, 45-minute race on three of their four qualifying tires. With the tightly packed field and championship fights developing, key decisions on softer range tire compounds may come into play. That may occur despite the forecast for even higher temperatures when qualifying begins this afternoon at 4:40 p.m. local time and for the race on Sunday that starts at 12:05 p.m.
Fifteen different drivers have claimed GTLM pole positions in the first 15 events (race 16, at Watkins Glen two weeks ago saw qualifying rained out), and a 16th different pole winner is certainly possible as teams go all-out to secure a favorable starting position on the difficult, high speed circuit.
Viper Racing’s Kuno Wittmer won the 2014 GTLM pole at CTMP with a time of 1:15.206.