POUNCE! There is no better word to describe what my husband Brad did the moment he heard that Calabogie Motorsports Park had just opened the track, with new infection precautions, as COVID-19 restrictions eased in Ontario. In moments, he booked himself for a lapping session on Friday night (cut short for him as his racecar clutch packed it in “because race car”), and husband-and-wife HPDE bookings for two days later, on Sunday May 27. Pounce. Sessions sold out fast. This was our first destination drive to an “event” since mid-March, with the province having issued a state of emergency; not just any destination, but a race track!
So, how do you have fun and respect social distancing and other precautions at the same time? The CMP team (no, I’m not shilling for them!) worked for days with the province to meet the public health guidelines. Can you spell “contactless?” I knew you could. The waiver and sign-in process went from paper (so yesterday anyway!) to online and even the drivers’ meeting was virtual with “attendance” electronically confirmed before anyone was allowed to darken the doorstep of the track. No spectators were to be permitted. CMP, knowing what had gone on only days earlier at another track, was not interested in having those shenanigans occur.
Since in-car coaching was verboten, the CMP track pro, Ted Martin (pictured socially-distancing from Brad and I), made a special effort to accompany me on the track in a lead-follow arrangement, he in his GT3, while we shredded even more rubber changing positions from “hunter” to “prey.” Pounce!
On Saturday, Brad prepped our 718 Cayman S for us, eyeing the Pirelli PZ4s carefully, calling me a “tire shredder” but, after a raised eyebrow from me, assuring me that we could drive to the track, drive on the track, and drive home from the track without drama. Track box and helmets loaded. Good to go!
Sunday was gorgeously sunny and not too warm, and, with restrictions in place, the track was simultaneously welcoming and respectful of the interesting times in which we still find ourselves. Everyone kept their proper two-metre distance, which, given how social the group normally is trackside, felt a bit weird, but no one was complaining. After all, there is no such thing as a bad day at the track! Brad would normally have taken his racecar, but instead took the Cayman on the track in the advanced group, trying to preserve the tires for yours truly.
Despite the COVID-19 restriction on passengers, the track intelligently interpreted the restriction and Brad was able to co-pilot with me during my track sessions in the intermediate group. I needed some re-familiarization since I’d just been signed-off solo last year. Twenty turns. It’s hard for anyone to keep track of it all! Pun intended. Since in-car coaching was verboten, the CMP track pro, Ted Martin (pictured socially-distancing from Brad and I), made a special effort to accompany me on the track in a lead-follow arrangement, he in his GT3, while we shredded even more rubber changing positions from “hunter” to “prey.” Pounce!
All too soon, the day was over and we were packing our stuff back into the hatch and the frunk. Ingenuity and dogged determination on the part of the CMP team had made it both a fun and safe (in more than one way) experience. Well done! Our tires were still sort-of intact too! Now, you get out there on the track!