Mosport Preview : Series Heads to Canada
New York, NY – The F2000 Series heads to Canada this coming weekend for rounds five and six of the 2009 championship at Mosport International Raceway in Ontario. The F2000 cars will be sharing the track with the popular NASCAR Canadian Tire Series along with the Ontario Formula Ford Challenge (OFFC) and Castrol Touring Car.
With another large car count expected in the F2000 paddock, the two most important ones North of the border will be the Canadians, Quebec’s Remy Audette, who leads the series points standings coming off his first win at Lime Rock and Ontario’s own Caitlin Johnston, who is sitting sixth in the points after a string of top-ten finishes.
Audette, who has reset track records at both VIR and Lime Rock so far this year and hopes to continue the streak at Mosport, has an 18-point lead over second place American Matthew Inge.
“It’s fun to race in Canada as everyone is going to be cheering for Caitlin (Johnston) and I,” commented Audette. “At Mosport you need a lot of speed as the entire track is very challenging and you’re always on the limit. You have to be very confident in your car to pass people. We’re going to be very fast I think.”
Audette drives the #21 Dimension Doors/Novatech Van Diemen for Audette Racing, which operates out of Quebec and will also be fielding a touring car for Remy’s brother, Mathieu.
Inge hopes to grab the first win of his F2000 career at Mosport. The St. Clair Motorsports driver is coming off two third place finishes at Lime Rock Park.
“After somewhat of a disappointment at Lime Rock, I am looking for a much stronger performance out of myself and my team at Mosport,” said Inge. “Since the team and I have never been there, we are unsure of what to expect. The goal is to come out with a win, plain and simple. We've shown we can run up front every race, now all we need is to be there at the end.”
Just six points behind Inge is fellow American Chris Miller, who won the second round of the season at VIR by just a tenth over Inge, and finished second in both races in his JDC Motorsports entry at Lime Rock.
Miller commented: “Mosport is another high-speed track, like Lime Rock, that rewards bravery and setup. With only two practice sessions before qualifying, it will be particularly important to get up to speed quickly and find a good balance for the car. Visiting Mosport last year with the series should be an advantage, and hopefully we can start the weekend strong and near the top of the time sheets. As always the goal is to win, but at this point in the year the most important thing is to keep putting together solid results towards the championship."
Benjamin Searcy, who is perhaps the fastest man in the series this season, sits fourth in the points. The Z-Sports driver dominated the season opener in the rain at VIR and then drove away from the field at Lime Rock and won round three. With Searcy’s two wins, he only sits fourth in the standings, 12 points back from Miller, as a late race spin in round four at Lime Rock cost him second place points.
Searcy commented, “At Lime Rock I was trying to chase down Audette for the lead and was turning qualifying lap after qualifying lap and finally overcooked it going into one. I was going for the win and should have been thinking about the points.”
Caitlin Johnston is sitting sixth in the points in the #20 Pizza Pizza / Xtreme Tire Garage Van Diemen, fielded by Z-Sports, after posting three consecutive top ten finishes at tracks she had never seen before. Johnston made her series debut at Mosport last year finishing seventh in the second race on a track she calls home.
“I’m very excited,” said Johnston, who has a large contingent of friends, family and sponsors coming to support her at her home race. “It’s my home track and I’ve spent so much time there so I’m hoping I’ll be at a bit of advantage on home turf. There is so much history to the place, especially with the idea that back in the day F1 cars used to race there, it creates quite an atmosphere.
“I remember the first time I drove a race car, it was at Mosport. I was 15 years old and it was a Formula Vee, going down into turn two with the elevation change, it made my stomach go into knots. It’s my favorite turn, as much as it makes me nervous it’s so cool and challenging, TV doesn’t do it justice. Once you walk the track you’re like ‘oh my god, this is enormous.’”
Not only will Johnston be contesting the F2000 races, she will be doing double duty as she is also a front runner in the OFFC. Currently, Johnston sits fourth in the OFFC standings, coming off third and fifth place finish finishes at Shannonville.
“Switching between the cars is quite interesting,” she explained. “In Shannonville, I was braking too late and I had to remember that the Formula Ford has no wings, no slick tires and no super brakes. You have to remember you’re in a different car and clear your head when you go out.”
As far as her goals for the weekend, Johnston said: “Racing is the one sport that is so unpredictable. If luck continues to be on my side, knock on wood, we’ll continue to improve a couple positions every race and move up in the standings.”
Jonathan Scarallo logged his best finish of the season with a seventh place in round three at Lime Rock and hopes to improve the progress his team is making this weekend.
“Mosport is one of those tracks everyone wants to win at this year,” commented Scarallo, who saw car trouble leave him laps down in round four at Lime Rock. “I think that we can contend for the win or podium if we can just get the monkey off our back. It seems like every time we get some momentum going something bad happens.”
Tom Fatur currently leads the Masters Class championship by 16 points over Tim Minor, who is holding onto second by just a single marker over John Dole. Craig Clawson sits fourth in Masters Class standings, another 12 points back.
Fatur surprised the paddock at Lime Rock by topping the time sheets during Friday’s practice sessions and hopes to continue his speed into Mosport.
“My goal is to avoid mistakes and shoot for two consistent top ten finishes,” said Fatur. “Like Lime Rock, Mosport is another fast track that favors drivers with previous experience and that are good at coming up to speed on difficult tracks. Since I fall short on both accounts I think consistent top ten finishes would be a good result for me.
“I enjoy racing in Canada. The fans are really into it and are very knowledgeable about motorsports in general.”
Another talking point going into Mosport is the speed that Alegra Motorsports is picking up. The rookie team saw their best finish to date in round four, with Fabio Orsolon being able to keep up with the leaders, logging a fourth place finish. Orsolon, however, sits a distant 12th in points.
Keith McCrone and R-Sports make their 2009 series debut at Mosport this weekend. In addition, Adams Racing makes their first appearance of 2009 with two cars, Dan Denison in the #51 and Jon Adams in the #50.
Mikhail Goikberg also joins the grid in the #1 Brian Graham Racing RF03 Van Diemen/Zetec. Goikberg makes the jump from Formula Ford Challenge to F2000.
Seven time SCCA National Champion Dave Weitzenhof returns to the series at Mosport, a place he calls his “favorite track in the world”.
Stay tuned to F2000ChampionshipSeries.com for the latest news, photos, results and commentary from Mosport.