Canadian Tire Motorsports Park – 21-22 September 2013

Following the event at the Glen, I had a couple more opportunities to drive at Calabogie. On one of these days I noticed that I’d used some brake fluid, so something was still not right with the brakes. I changed the rear pads and found that I had to rebuild the rear calipers. The dust boots were still making contact with the centre of the discs, where the parking brake drum is located. I realized that I could solve this problem by moving the caliper away from the hub by about 2 mm; and I could accomplish this by enlarging the mounting holes in the calipers into an oval shape, by using a round file. I set about to do this and it worked very well. Because the calipers are attached with two large bolts each, along with lock washers, enlarging the holes would carry very little risk of them moving afterwards. As a result, the pads are not completely contained within the disc surface, but the overlap is only 1 mm and shouldn’t affect braking materially.

The next event at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park (formerly Mosport), was scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, September 21-22. I went down Friday afternoon and met my girlfriend – the lady I had met at the Glen. She had been driving in a charity lapping day on Friday, so we met at the track and then went together to my friend’s house in Pickering. They prepared a nice meal and we had a very enjoyable evening. The next morning we were up early and at the track in plenty of time for registration and some socializing before the drivers’ meeting.

Before we started, I spoke with one the instructors to be sure that I would follow their customs with respect to passing within the Red group. Essentially they are quite liberal and will accept a passing signal on either side in some of the corners where either side is feasible. Unfortunately it was very cold and wet on Saturday, so the driving wasn’t very good. I tried a lap a couple of times but the windshield fogged up badly and I couldn’t see, so I gave up. On the second attempt, I don’t think I was pushing very hard, but I touched the brakes at the top of 2 and slid halfway down the hill! It was also very slippery exiting three and I spun the tires exiting 5! My car can’t do that! My girlfriend had the same bad luck, although in her case it was a lack of grip.

I had a student in the Yellow group on this day – a fellow from Montreal in a 944 Turbo. He was doing quite well until mid-afternoon, when disaster struck. He passed a couple of cars on the front straight, but didn’t complete the pass as early as one would like. His entry speed to Turn 1 was pretty good, but he couldn’t start turning as early as he should. So by the time he was turned, he was still gong a bit too fast and his rear end got loose. We immediately went into a spin and he locked up the brakes. We slid backwards for at least 100 ft before crossing the track and smacking the concrete wall with the left rear corner. We were both okay but the light assembly and fender were damaged quite a bit. The acting chief instructor and track chair came to inspect the scene and learn what had happened. After they were satisfied, they said the car could still be driven in the event, but the driver was very concerned about having to drive back to Montreal, so he stopped. As far as I know, he made it successfully.

On Sunday the weather was much better, although still very cold, and we were able to have a full day of good lapping. I had four solid stints and drove in a very relaxed, controlled way. I matched my best lap time from 2011 when I was pushing really hard to achieve it and this time I was shifting at 5500 rpm. Go figure. I was assigned a new student in Yellow – a young Oriental named Ivan (!) driving a 2013 GT3RS 6-speed. His father used to drive and Ivan had obviously had some good coaching, because he was really good – smooth, consistent and fast. We reached 240 km/h at the top of the hill several times, until I told him to slow down so my stomach could survive the uneven pavement. Of course, we passed everyone.

I like what they’ve done to the track. The concrete patches have all been removed and replaced with grippy, Calabogie-style asphalt. They’ve removed a lot of trees at the south end, so that now, when you go under the Continental bridge, you can see the entirety of 4 and 5 laid out before you. It’s a totally different sensation from driving into the former gloom of the shadows. I really enjoyed driving it, but it’s still not the Glen.

After the event I loaded up the car and left it at the track, to be retrieved after spending the night in Toronto with my girl. Unfortunately a number of things occurred between us which made me realize that our personalities are incompatible. So I spoke to her after getting home and ended our relationship – sad, but better to find out early. We’re still friends at least.

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