Local Sports

North of the border

The TUDOR United SportsCar Championship records another milestone this weekend as the unified series competes in Canada for the first time.

The second half of the TUDOR Championship begins with the Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix presented by Hawk Performance at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario.

The two-hour, 45-minute race begins at 2 p.m. Sunday, with competition in the Prototype (P), GT Le Mans (GTLM) and GT Daytona (GTD) classes.

All three classes feature intense competition for the respective championships.

Brothers Ricky and Jordan Taylor, drivers of the No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP, lead Prototype competition by three points over No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP drivers Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi, 187-184. Michael Valiante and Richard Westbrook – winners of the recent Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen – are third with 174 points, two points ahead of OAK Racing’s No. 42 Morgan/Nissan driver Gustavo Yacaman.

Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen have won three straight in the No. 3 Corvette Racing Corvette C7.R, opening a nine-point lead in GTLM over No. 55 BMW Team RLL BMW Z4 GTE drivers Andy Priaulx and Bill Auberlen, 154-145.

Tied for third with 150 points are Dominik Farnbacher and Marc Goossens in the No. 91 SRT Motorsports Dodge Viper SRT GTS-R, and Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner in the No. 4 Corvette Racing Corvette C7.R.

Townsend Bell and Bill Sweedler, drivers of the No. 555 AIM Autosport Ferrari 458 Italia, lead GTD by seven points over Andy Lally and John Potter in the No. 44 Magnus Racing/Flex-Box Porsche 911 GT America, 145-138.

Roles reversed

The recent race at Watkins Glen International was the first visit for former American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron competitors to the circuit that hosted the former Rolex Sports Car Series since 1999.

It will be a reversal of roles this weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, a circuit that showcased the ALMS annually since 2000. It will be the first race at the challenging venue for all Daytona Prototype teams, including Action Express Racing, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, Wayne Taylor Racing, Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian, Marsh Racing and Spirit of Daytona.

From the LM P2 side, OAK Racing will be making its first visit to CTMP.

One team with plenty of experience is Extreme Speed Motorsports. Last year, ESM finished second and fourth in the ALMS P2 class. Lead driver Scott Sharp joined Johannes van Overbeek in winning the GT class in an ESM Ferrari F458 Italia in 2012.

The former ALMS GT category returns virtually unchanged as GTLM. While many of the former ALMS GTC-class teams included in the GT Daytona (GTD) class have raced at CTMP, they will be racing a new Porsche 911 GT America at the track this season.

Tech Corner

A warm day at the race track can mean sizzling temperatures inside a closed-cockpit race car.

Competitors in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class will be keeping their cool this weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and all other events on the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship due to a mandatory air conditioning system required for all cars in the class.

Using FIA regulations for the class, closed-cockpit cars must maintain a maximum temperature of 32 degrees Celsius/89.6 degrees Fahrenheit (or equal to the ambient temperature if it is higher than that), and be able to attain that target within eight minutes after a pit stop.

“Keeping cool” is more than a matter of personal comfort.

“At the end of a race, if it’s cooking hot, it’s always good to keep a cool head and stay 100-percent concentrated,” said Dominik Farnbacher, driver of the No. 91 SRT Motorsports Dodge Viper SRT GTS-R. “The AC is very comfortable and keeps you cool, but the most important thing is it keeps your mind clear.”

Kuno Wittmer, driver of the team’s No. 93 Viper, agrees with his teammate.

“Concentration is number one on the list for air conditioning, especially in the long-distance races,” Wittmer said. “The air conditioning also cools down a lot of the electronics that we are allowed to use in the GTLM class. That cannot overheat, just as we cannot overheat.”

Consulting with Dodge SRT factory engineers, Riley Motorsports used Chrysler factory components for the system, primarily the AC compressor, condenser and evaporator. Riley Technologies then designed the lines, air box and fan used inside the car.

“The fan pushes the air to the driver through the vents in the factory-shaped dash, which is actually carbon fiber,” said Steve Floyd, car chief for the No. 91 Viper. “It blows cold air at their face, feet, and their torso, while a tube hooks up to their helmet. There’s also an air conditioning tube that comes down and cools some of the components in the car.”

While AC is mandatory in the GTLM class, it is optional in the GT Daytona (GTD) category. Riley Motorsports has an air conditioning system similar to the GTLM setup in the team’s No. 33 Dodge Viper SRT GT3-R that races in the GTD class, for similar reasons that the team uses for its GTLM cars.