What To Watch For: IMSA Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park

The two-hour, 40-minute race around the 2.459-mile circuit that once hosted the Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix and also annually hosts the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series takes the green flag shortly after 1 p.m.

It’s the one and only trip north of the border for the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship as the annual summer stretch rolls on with Sunday’s Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix presented by Acura at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario.

The two-hour, 40-minute race around the 2.459-mile circuit that once hosted the Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix and also annually hosts the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series takes the green flag shortly after 1 p.m. ET with live television coverage on the NBC network.

IMSA Radio also will have live coverage throughout the weekend on IMSA.com and RadioLeMans.com, with the race call also airing on SiriusXM Radio (Sirius Channel 219, XM 202, Streaming 972). Tickets for the race are still available on CanadianTireMotorsportPark.com.

Here’s what to watch for this weekend:

Three of the four WeatherTech Championship classes competing in this weekend’s Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix presented by Acura feature razor-thin championship battles.

How thin? Try one point between first and second in the Daytona Prototype international (DPi), LMP2 and GT Le Mans (GTLM) classes.

In DPi, No. 6 Acura Team Penske ARX-05 co-drivers Juan Pablo Montoya and Dane Cameron have 177 points, one more than second-place Felipe Nasr and Pipo Derani in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R. The third-place team in DPi – Helio Castroneves and Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura Team Penske DPi – are right there, too, trailing their championship-leading teammates by just four points.

In the LMP2 class, it’s the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports ORECA duo of Cameron Cassels and Kyle Masson holding the thinnest of leads, 131-130, over No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA driver Matt McMurry, who heads to CTMP carrying the momentum of back-to-back victories in May’s Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio and the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen last Sunday.

It’s a close one in GTLM, too, with No. 911 Porsche GT Team 911 RSR co-drivers Nick Tandy and Patrick Pilet atop the standings with 152 points. They are one point ahead of a two-way tie for second between their teammates in the No. 912 Porsche, Laurens Vanthoor and Earl Bamber, and two-time defending GTLM champions Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen in the No. 3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R.

Only the GT Daytona (GTD) class points leaders have a little bit of breathing room. In the overall WeatherTech Championship standings, No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 co-drivers Trent Hindman and Mario Farnbacher – who picked up their first win of the season last Sunday at Watkins Glen – hold a 16-point advantage, 119-103, over second-place Jack Hawksworth and Richard Heistand in the No. 14 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3.

Heistand and Hawksworth, meanwhile, lead the WeatherTech Sprint Cup – a separate championship for GTD competitors encompassing the seven races two-hours and 40-minutes in length or shorter – by 10 points, 70-60, over No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R driver Patrick Long. The No. 14 Lexus team is perfect so far in WeatherTech Sprint Cup races, winning at both Mid-Ohio and last month’s Chevrolet Sports Car Classic in Detroit.

 

In DPi, No. 6 Acura Team Penske ARX-05 co-drivers Juan Pablo Montoya and Dane Cameron have 177 points.

 

A possible secret to success in WeatherTech Championship competition at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park may be for the first three letters of your team name to be spelled “C-O-R.”

Corvette Racing and CORE autosport are the two most successful WeatherTech Championship teams at CTMP, with 17 victories between them. Corvette Racing has won 11 times, most recently in 2014 when Garcia and Magnussen took the GTLM class victory. The team will look to win an even dozen in the land of Tim Horton’s this Sunday with Magnussen and Garcia in the No. 3 and Oliver Gavin sharing the No. 4 C7.R with Marcel Fassler, who is standing in for the injured Tommy Milner.

CORE autosport has six wins spread between its DPi/Prototype/Prototype Challenge efforts and the two-car Porsche GT Team it fields on behalf of the German manufacturer in GTLM. CORE’s most recent CTMP win came last year, when owner/driver Jon Bennett and longtime co-driver Colin Braun took the No. 54 ORECA LMP2 machine to the overall victory. The team returns this year with Bennett and Braun looking for their first victory of the season in the No. 54 Nissan DPI.

The South Carolina-based squad also has two chances at GTLM victory with the Nos. 911 and 912 Porsches, which have combined to win each of the last four class victories in 2019. Pilet, Tandy and the No. 911 squad also were winners at CTMP in 2015.

 

CORE autosport has six wins spread between its DPi/Prototype/Prototype Challenge efforts and the two-car Porsche GT Team it fields on behalf of the German manufacturer in GTLM.

 

It’s been a tough few weeks for No. 33 Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3 co-drivers Ben Keating and Jeroen Bleekemolen.

The team crossed the finish line first in the GTE Am class three weeks ago in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but post-race technical infractions disqualified their No. 85 Ford GT, giving the class victory to another IMSA regular, No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R driver Patrick Long. Last Sunday in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen, Keating was involved in an opening-lap incident that prevented the No. 33 from even completing a lap in the race.

That’s why heading north of the border may be just what the doctor ordered for Keating, Bleekemolen and the No. 33 GTD team. CTMP is the site of the team’s most recent WeatherTech Championship victory, which came in the GTD class in last year’s Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix.

Keating is a two-time winner at the Canadian circuit, also scoring a GTD win there with Bleekemolen in 2014. Bleekemolen has three CTMP winner’s trophies, adding a 2013 American Le Mans Series (ALMS) GTC class win alongside Cooper MacNeil.

It’s been a tough few weeks for No. 33 Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3 co-drivers Ben Keating and Jeroen Bleekemolen.

Like most WeatherTech Championship venues, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park affords IMSA fans the opportunity to move freely about the facility and take in different vantage points.

But if you’re looking for a likely place for a race to be decided, look no further than the legendary Moss Corner. Named for legendary Formula 1 racer Stirling Moss – who had a hand in designing the quick succession of right hand turns also known as Turns 5a and 5b – Moss Corner is popular with race fans and drivers for the passing opportunities it provides.

Positioned between the end of one high-speed portion of the track and the start of another one, countless position and lead changes have happened at Moss Corner over the years. So, if you happen to be at the racetrack and there’s a close battle toward the end of the race, you’re going to want to get over to Moss Corner.

 

If you’re looking for a likely place for a race to be decided, look no further than the legendary Moss Corner

The Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix presented by Acura will be televised to a national, network audience this Sunday, the first time the WeatherTech Championship will air on NBC as part of IMSA’s new-for-2019 long-term broadcast partnership with NBC Sports.

The two-hour, 40-minute race will air live on NBC beginning at 1 p.m. ET. It is the first of three NBC network telecasts for the WeatherTech Championship. Other NBC races in 2019 will be the penultimate round of the season at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on Sunday, Sept. 15 and the start of the season-ending Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta on Saturday, Oct. 12.

 

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