With months of planning and a week of qualifying wrapped up, Sunday night was the moment racers had waited for. The ‘SO, YOU WANNA BE A RACE CAR DRIVER’ go-kart race combined the opportunity for individuals to support charity partner Melanoma Canada, while also trying to win a dream day in an open-wheel race car.
There was a real buzz at the track. The Vallis Motor Sport F1200 race car parked beside the front counter inside K1 Speed Toronto sparkled under the flood lights. While casual race fans jumped into the driver’s seat for a quick picture, select K1 Speed competitors would battle for the chance to drive this same open-wheeler.
The amount of interest in Formula Vee (called Formula 1200 in Canada) was surprising, and reigning 2022 Canadian Formula 1200 champion, Phil Wang, gladly answered everyone’s questions. Road racing in Ontario is organized by the CASC (Canadian Automobile Sport Clubs) which sanctions events, licenses competitors and sets safety standards. There’s always a demand for affordable, amateur racing in Ontario, and F1200 is the purest incarnation of this concept. That’s why the formula is celebrating its 60th anniversary next season!
The event was a fundraiser for Melanoma Canada, and every dollar that drivers donated went directly to charity. Racers with the fastest lap times during ‘qualifying week’ were invited to make a minimum $50 donation to secure a spot on the grid. But ‘pole position’ was decided by the most generous racer who made the largest financial contribution. Visitors to K1 Speed who had not qualified for the big race were invited to compete in the bonus race, a friendly fastest-lap competition. Track veterans like Chad Webster and Miggy Montano jumped into the fray, but podium finishers Miles McDonald, Nathan Wilkie and Nicolas Mariotti foreshadowed the Final Race which took place a few hours later. The Top 3 awarded a prize pack courtesy of Reeve Webster Racing and the Canadian Formula 1200 Championship series.
Regardless of whether they’re competing for charity, or the chance to drive a race car, the racers at K1 Speed go all out. The rousing play-by-play commentary by Chad Webster (host of The Racing Topic podcast) added another dimension to the event, really taking it to the next level.
Bottom line, the event was a success no matter how it was measured. Including all the cash donations made at the track, plus the initial donations by the 17 racers, a staggering $2,978 was collected for Melanoma Canada, almost triple the fundraising goal for the event.