© 2019 by Andy Pilgrim

Mosport GT - "I had the best seat in the house

August 27, 2008

I love racing at both Mosport and Elkhart Lake’s Road America circuits, two of the best race tracks in North America.

You know about the fireball at Road America.  Well, last weekend at Mosport ended with a rather disappointing 6th place, but as usual, the ending position doesn’t tell the whole story.

The most disappointing part was that the championship leader, Randy Pobst, finished 2nd, pretty much putting the GT championship in the books with three races still left to go. That’s very unusual for the GT series, which has gone down to the final race for the last four years.

Road America was a very good weekend for my teammate Michael McCann, who backed up a good finish at Road America by finishing 5th at Mosport -- great job by him.  I had the best seat in the house to watch Michael battle Tommy Archer for 4th place for most of the race.

I had my hands full with Tommy Milner.  He was driving the Aston Martin DB9 owned by IRL team owners Bobby Rahal and David Letterman.  I was ahead and he was doing all he could to get by.  We touched several times in turn 8 and turn 1, while fighting for 6th place.  If they show it on TV it should look pretty good; it was hard, close racing.  

Michael had a 5th place qualifying position and I ended up a disappointing 8th after being blocked by a competitor for the second race in a row.

I’ve been racing at Mosport since 1988 in the old Corvette Challenge series. This was my 27th race there, I’ve won four of them, finished on the Mosport podium 13 times, and a quirky little statistic somebody researched shows I’ve finished more than 98% of the total laps possible in all those 27 races, which includes five 24-hour races. Obviously, the track suits me well, a fact which puts any driver’s Attitude Meter into the positive side.

I’ve certainly had some bad Mosport days, too, like the huge practice crash there in 2005 when a wheel hub broke at the top of turn 2, but this weekend we had a good day. Not a great day, but a good day for AP, having the great battle with the Aston and the awesome view of Michael battling with Tommy Archer.

I was not happy about finishing 6th but I’m not going to complain because my rival for second place, Brandon Davis, broke his clutch on the start line and never even got a chance to run.  I was very sorry to see that; he also had bad luck at Road America and has now dropped to 5th in the championship points.

I’m not one to dwell on things I can’t do anything about, but we have a couple of things going on in the series which I feel need sorted out at the moment.  

Prior to the Road America race, the SCCA worked out a deal with Toyo tires to chamfer all the tires in the series, in response to an issue Porsche was having with their rear tire.  I get the safety aspect and understand why they did what they did to help Porsche.

But, it seems after two races with the new chamfer, the Cadillac is definitely not happy with this change.  For the past two races, I have had the worst-handling, most-unbalanced race car I’ve ever had, we cannot keep the front tire from washing out and can only put it down to the tire chamfer.  The chamfer takes away a certain percentage of our tire’s contact patch, and this has unbalanced the car.  I hope we can get approval to go back to the old style tire at Detroit, just to see if that was the issue. I’ll keep fingers crossed.

The other part that kind of blows my mind is this:  After Road America, Porsche had a huge lead in the Drivers’ championship and Porsche was leading the Manufacturers’ championship.  Despite that, before Mosport, SCCA Pro Racing helped Porsche by dropping their base weight by another 50 lbs.  No changes were made to help any other car.  Porsche then finished 2nd and 3rd at Mosport.  I will say nothing else other than I’m dumbfounded.

The next race is this coming Sunday on an island in the middle of the Detroit River between Michigan and Canada, called “Belle Isle.”  I’m told the island is larger than even Central Park in New York City, and was settled in the 18th century by French colonists, who called it “Hog Island.”  Let me guess what feral animals roamed the 982 acres.

Because of its proximity to Detroit, the three American manufacturers in our series should have quite a presence.

I hope the configuration of the Belle Isle track will be a good one for us, I’ve never raced there and I’m looking forward to getting know another track.

Team Remington Cadillac’s game plan will be the same as it is every race. Do 110% and drive hard.  We will never give up, that’s for sure.

The Speed TV broadcast of the Mosport race is Wednesday at noon ET.

 

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