Olly this week heads back over the Atlantic to north of the US border for his annual visit to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, formerly known as Mosport. The Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix – a race Corvette Racing has won nine times since 2001 – takes place on Sunday 21st July, one of only two ALMS races not to be held on a Saturday.
The 2.459-mile, 10-turn road course is one of the fastest in the ALMS and a favourite of all four drivers. The layout features a variety of high-speed corners and daunting elevation changes, and there will be a new look to the facilities this year which, like everyone else, Olly is eager to see.
The facility – now co-owned by former Corvette Racing star Ron Fellows – saw improvements to the entry tunnel (enlarged to twice its original size), paddock and sightlines in 2012. In the last 12 months, the track underwent more dramatic renovations with the additions of a pitlane extension of 300 feet, a state-of-the-art event center, new asphalt at every corner and paved runoff areas at turns 1 and 2 to improve safety.
Olly, who will be arriving in Bowmanville, east of Toronto, directly from a final C7 seat fit at Pratt & Miller’s shop in Detroit, adds: “It’s exciting to go back to Canada and it’s a circuit we all look forward to in the season. The racing there is usually very close, and the outcome can be a nail-biter! Our cars have traditionally done well there as the nature of the track suits the Corvette pretty well.
“The track itself will be similar to past years, but the landmarks and cues you’d use to guide your way around the track – the stuff you pick up in your peripheral vision that all drivers learn – has changed because the runoff and places that were grass have gone to tarmac.
“There is a new pitlane with a different entry. All of that part of the track is different and will take a little bit of re-learning. It will be challenging but interesting at the same time. Ron is a big proponent of safety, and he’s worked at it very hard. You’re going at such a high speed and only have so much road to work with. Any slip up there can lead you into having a big moment as many have seen in the past.
“Tommy and I are going to be focusing on straight-forward racing and a strong strategy with no issues or problems so we can get back onto the podium. We know we have the best team in the pit lane and Tommy is a fantastic partner in the car – we proved it to everyone last year by winning the championship and I’m keen to put the difficulties of our last few races behind us and get back to where we were at Sebring!”
The 2h 45 minute race starts at 12 noon and will be broadcast live on ESPN2 on Sunday, July 21 from 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm ET, LIVE on ESPN3 and ALMS.com from 11:45 am – 3:00 pm ET, and LIVE on Motors TV internationally.