After the championship’s last round of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship at the unfamiliar venue of Watkins Glen, Corvette Racing heads this weekend to more recognizable surroundings. Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP) – formerly and still more familiarly known as Mosport – plays host to the GTLM’s sixth round of the season and it’s been a happy stamping ground for both Oliver and Corvette Racing in the past.
The team is aiming for an 11th victory at the storied road course just outside Toronto, and is in a strong position coming into the weekend, leading the GTLM driver, team and manufacturer standings. Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen rank first in points after their third straight series victory but Olly and Tommy are the defending race winners.
Last season, Tommy held on in a pressure-packed final stint to win by 0.267 seconds in the final year of the Corvette C6.R. This year’s race sees the Canadian debut of the Chevrolet Corvette C7.R, which has proven itself as a front-runner at each TUDOR Championship round to date.
Canadian Tire Motorsport Park is one of the most daunting on the schedule. The 2.459-mile, 10-turn layout is known for high speeds and high risks. The first three turns, drivers say, are among the biggest challenges on any track in North America.
The circuit has been like a second home to Corvette Racing since its first race there in 2000. Its 10 victories there are the most at any circuit – a tie with Road Atlanta – and the team has won two of the last three races there. Three of those wins were by Corvette Racing star and Canadian legend Ron Fellows, now a co-owner of Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
The character of the track hasn’t changed much since its first race in 1961. Through the years, CTMP has played host to Can-Am, Formula 5000, USAC stock cars, IndyCar, Trans-Am, Formula Atlantic, and of course the American Le Mans Series and IMSA. Most notably, the circuit was the site of the Formula One Canadian Grand Prix eight times between 1967-77.
Live television coverage of the Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix presented by Hawk Performance starts at 2 p.m. ET, Sunday on FOX Sports 1.
OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R
“In a funny way, Watkins Glen should be a pretty good barometer for how things will go at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. You need downforce there to be quick, but you also have that very long back straight where you need decent straight-line speed. It’s always a little bit of a toss-up between how you much downforce you run and how much drag you run. You have to decide before the start of the race which strategy you’re going to go with, particularly with where you are on the grid and whether you’re going to have pass cars or whether you feel you have the pace to drive away and fight from the front. There is plenty to think about going into the event and while we are there in order to maximize the performance of the Corvette C7.R. So it should be a fun weekend, as it always is.”
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R
“It was a great race last year – one of the races I feel was one of my best. To have that much pressure from a car that was quicker than us in the Viper… pushing me hard and running qualifying laps for an hour. The last couple of laps were definitely exciting. I had a disabled car that slowed me up into Turn 1 and that allowed the gap I had built up to go back to basically zero. So over the last two laps I had to defend in a lot of places. I used every bit of road and every car I could on the last lap to try and stay ahead and was just barely able to. I don’t think I was able to breathe until after the checkered flag. It was definitely a great feeling. It came at a time where we had a couple of bad races, but Oliver and I had been pushing hard to get some points and it reinvigorated our championship challenge. We’re hoping for the same this coming weekend.”