As we rolled into Canadian Tire Motorsport Park for the third event of the Pirelli World Challenge season, Blackdog Speed Shop was on a roll. Four consecutive podiums and the championship lead with our new beast, the Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R.
Any race North of the Border proves time and time again that the Canadians are passionate about motorsports. They are one of the most loyal fan bases and always come out in full force!
Plus, there is no better place to showcase the incredible speed and technology of sports car racing than CTMP.
This track has extremely fast corners and exciting elevation changes that leave you no margin for error. One mistake and you can kiss your weekend, and car, goodbye!
To say this circuit is unique is an understatement…
After a successful start to the season and debut of the new Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R, we came into this weekend focused and ready to continue our push to get that important first win. We felt we had a good shot, but in all honesty you never know what to expect until qualifying.
Solid practice sessions and countless changes allowed us to fine-tune our hot rod. We were battling understeer issues (due to our mandated ride height), but my engineer, Eric Miller, was able to hit the nail on the head for qualifying.
I felt we got the maximum out of the car but found ourselves sixth. Disappointed, yes, but I knew the race could be a different story.
The Camaro GT4.R gives me the ability to attack from the drop of the green flag. I had to make it count those first few laps because tire wear and understeer were going to be tough to manage the whole race.
When the green flag flew in Race 1, I made every effort to pick up spots…outside of Turn 1, inside of Turn 2, outside of Turn 3 and down the Andretti Straight. If there was an opening, I was going to take it. Fortunately we made our way to third.
However, after a few laps it was clear that it was going to take everything we had to keep people behind. Third through sixth were in a train and I was going to have to be perfect. Every. Single. Lap.
Racecraft is something that is honed over time. You find little nuances here and there at every track that can help you in the future. Fortunately, I’ve been to CTMP more times than I can count on my fingers!
After a tough, close, and – most important – fair fight we were able to hold on and finish on the podium. It was a great battle out there!
Race 2 had us starting seventh and, again, it was all about those first few laps. When the lights went out, I had quite a bit of wheel spin but was able to stay on pace and close on a few drivers. Using the same spots as the day before, I was able to work my way up to second.
I tried to press the leader, but it was clear he had the speed to pull away at any time. In the end we took second, but all-in-all we were very happy with the result.
After seeing the qualifying times, I knew we had an uphill battle. In the end, execution is everything. You can have the fastest or slowest car out there, but it’s how you handle the situation that determines your ultimate result.
My teammate, Tony Gaples, finished with a double podium in GTSA to further a successful weekend for the team!
It’s comforting to have Blackdog Speed Shop supporting you every race. They work tirelessly day in and day out to provide me with the best possible car to compete for wins.
Six podiums to start the season is a great feeling, but we want that elusive first win! I know the effort and focus is there…
On to Lime Rock!