July 6-8, 2012 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park
By Mike Edmonds, UCR Club Race Chair; photographs by Michael A. Coates. Click on any of the images for a full screen view.
Those of us who follow the history and pedigree of Porsche automobiles know one thing for certain… they were designed to race. Porsche’s racing heritage is unequalled by any other auto manufacturer in the world, their engineers tirelessly searching for the best performance on the track.
There are few better ways to experience Porsche racing, past and present, than Porsche Club of America’s Club Racing. With almost 30 events in 2012 at tracks across North America, PCA Club Racing is an exceptional program that allows members to experience the thrill of competition with their Porsches in a safe, fun, and exciting venue. From 944s, early 911s, modern Boxsters and Caymans, to GT3 Cup cars, the breadth of Porsche engineering is showcased along with the passion of the drivers who compete.
Upper Canada Region is always excited to host our annual CanAm Challenge, which this year took place over three days, July 6-8, at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. With two PCA race groups, an advanced solo lapping group, and our special guests, the BMW Club of Canada Trillium Chapter hosting a concurrent BMW CCA Club Race, there were certainly enough great race cars and driving exhilaration to satisfy everyone! CTMP is known as one of the most challenging and thrilling circuits on the calendar, so drivers and race teams from across Canada and United States make the journey to enjoy this great event.
One of the most satisfying moments for me is feeling the anticipation in the air when I get to the track on Thursday, seeing all the trailers, cars, drivers, and teams of dedicated enthusiasts in the paddock getting ready for the intense driving and fun competition to unfold over the next three days.
An event of this magnitude is not possible without the immense commitment of our club, in both the planning and execution of the weekend, which begins with registering and preparing for all the drivers, team members, and volunteers who make everything happen. Therefore it’s off to the registration building to see our great team in action; a special thanks to our official race registrar Brent Muir, Laurel Ward, Horst and Marie Petermann, Paula Charters, and Mick Oliveira for receiving everyone and making sure they were processed and ready for their driving run groups or work assignments.
PCA Club Racing is made possible by both our region and a dedicated group of national staff volunteers, who are assigned to races and function as the chief operating officials, ensuring the rules and principles of the program are followed and the competition is fair and safe. Working our event this year was Weston Dillard (Chief Steward), Walt Fricke and Nadine Saville (Scrutineers), and Chuck Perilli (Timing & Scoring). I make sure the tech centre is ready, where the race cars are tested to ensure they meet all the safety criteria and class rules. Very special thanks to Alex and Kathy Pankiw and Auguste Lecourt for setting up and maintaining the equipment to assist the scrutineers for the weekend. I check with timing and scoring and long-time UCR friend Tim O’Brien that everything is working and ready to go, and West finishes his important meeting with all the rookie candidates and first-time provisional drivers.
Friday is when the real action begins, as all these great cars and drivers enter the track for their first full day of practice runs. Before this happens though, there is an incredible amount of support, which has to be in place for a racing event. A full complement of marshals at every station, paramedic crew, race doctor, and fire and rescue crew have to be in place and ready before the race cars can roll. Also, our full complement of UCR volunteers needs to be ready. Guided by the tower announcements by John Adam, our grid captain, Terry Cassan directs his crew to stage the cars and release them onto the track. Once the runs are completed, every racer wants to know how their lap times were, so they can see where they can improve and compare to their peers. This is the responsibility of the timing and scoring crew and our tower copy centre, running smoothly under the direction of Jack Webb.
After a great day of practice runs, famed Canadian racer Rick Bye once again graciously provided an informative track walk for us. Surely those who participated were aided by his intimate knowledge of the track and insights into how to maximise their speed and track awareness.
Saturday is when the real action begins. Unfortunately, the infamous Mosport weather patterns were at work, bringing a fantastic morning thunderstorm, complete with lots of thunder and lightning and torrential rains. The entire track was without power for hours, and our event tent was almost flooded out! Everyone involved stayed resilient throughout the difficult morning, and the schedule was altered to ensure that, once the weather broke and power was restored, the races would get under way. Due to the hard work of everyone, we had an excellent day of racing, fitting in all the sprint races that were on the schedule, and everyone enjoyed their time on the track.
After a very busy day, it was time for UCR to show our hospitality to everyone with our Saturday night dinner and awards reception. Janet and her crew once again prepared a wonderful meal, and over our food and drink we all had a chance to reflect on the day’s excitement and enjoy the company of all the Porsche enthusiasts who make this event such a success. It also provides an opportunity to thank our sponsors, in particular Braidan Tire and Michelin, whose generous contributions make this event possible. Sunday concludes with my personal favourite event, the 90-minute endurance race. This longer format tests both the drivers and crew, with the additional concentration involved in the longer run and the complexity of pit stops. We had a tremendous race, with a large grid of Porsches from every era. The speed differentials can be challenging, but all the drivers showed amazing poise and skill in running a flawless race with no caution periods!
For those of you who have never experienced a PCA Club Race, I highly recommend watching the calendar for the CanAm Challenge 2013. UCR produces one of the best events on the schedule, thanks to our amazing volunteers, Canadian hospitality, and one of the most exciting tracks to test a driver’s skill and racing prowess. Get involved in racing, volunteer with our great crew, or just come out to watch the incredible Porsche racing machines compete around the track; it’s always a fun and exhilarating time!