A Moment in the Desert with K1 Speed

The desert. Dry, barren, devoid of life. But stories are common where protagonists reach the desert and are struck by a moment of inspiration, of clarity. Like in 1945 when Bugsy Seigel saw the potential in the wastelands of Nevada to build a luxury and casino hotel as a stopover for GI’s returning to the west coast.

Or Kimi Räikkönen’s existential moment in the Bahrain desert in 2017 when his Ferrari burned up during practice and Kimi went for a walk through the desert in 37°C heat … with full race suit and helmet on.

But that one might just be madness.

After nearly four years of planning, waiting, developing and waiting some more, the K1 Circuit in California has broken ground, and the shape of the track is visible. So is its elevation change! This will be the first outdoor electric karting facility in the K1Speed empire.

Enjoy as Ryan Jurnecka takes us on a tour.

Hop Out The Whip

With evening temperatures over 25°C this weekend, Chris and Michelle Demaras decided to take a lap of the downtown core. Plenty of Corvettes out doing the same thing. But the Miata is a hardcore track car with stiff suspension and straight pipes with no heat shields. Not much of a cruiser.

But with the roof off, Michelle can hop out the whip, and hop back in.

2022 Spring Trophy Races – Sunday

~ by Michelle Demaras ~

On Sunday, I went to Canadian Tire Motorsports Park to watch my brother Daniel race. In all honesty, I wasn’t sure how fun it would be. When he was still in go-karts, days at the track were often incredibly hot with not much for me to do. But, but I actually had more fun than I expected this time!

My mom drove us to the track, a LONG hour-and-a-half in the car, just to watch more cars! We went in through the gate, found my dad (and the Miata!), and we watched Daniel’s 2nd race of the weekend. It was so much more than I expected.

I knew Daniel graduated from go-karts to Formula 1200, but I had no idea just how fast (and loud!) these cars were. Seeing Daniel’s races, it was really cool to watch just how different the new cars which he races in are from what I’m used to seeing him do.

We drove down to the paddock where Daniel and his teammates cars were. We spent most of the day there, waiting for the next race to start. When it was time, we drove up a gravel hill, set out some lawn chairs, and watched from Turn 3. We were close to the track, which enhanced the viewing, but also made it 10 times louder.

We finished the day by watching the podium ceremony, then drove back. The day was hot, and pretty long, but I still had a much more fun day than I had anticipated. I mean, who doesn’t love seeing their brother beat guys triple his age?

VIDEO: BEMC Saturday

Round 1, Race 1 of the 2022 Canadian Formula 1200 Championship at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park . The 70th BEMC Spring Trophy Races included the Formula Libre grid, which included F1200, F1600, F2000, Formula Mazda and F4 machinery.

2022 Spring Trophy Races – Saturday

~ by Daniel Demaras ~

After eight years of racing karts, it was time for me to step up to racing cars. My first race weekend in the Canadian F1200 Championship was the opportunity to achieve a life-long dream.

A solid day of practice on Friday, and I was ready for my first race on Saturday. After a chilly driver’s meeting in the morning, I went out for free practice. I ran in a group with my teammates, which was a valuable experience. The draft is very important in F1200, and I benefited from experiencing it in practice.

Qualifying was not optimal. Mechanical issues meant the 1200 CC engine was unable to reach full throttle on the straights, making it impossible to stay in the draft or set a good lap time. I qualified P6 in class for the race.

During lunch break, the Vallis Motor Sport team worked very hard to sort out the issues with the car. VMS is an incredibly knowledgeable and highly experienced crew. When it comes to F1200, and I know they can solve any issues I’m experiencing because they have already faced the same issues many times over in the past 45 years of racing. They took the body off the frame, serviced the carburetor, and put everything back together in time for the race.

My first ever race start in an F1200 race was…poor. I was in the wrong gear and lost two positions by Turn 1. But by Turn 3, I completed a pass and made one position back up. I continued to work through the field or drivers, caught one on the back straight, and passed another on the next lap in Turn 2. At this point, I had reached the lead pack, and it became time to drive smart.

I patiently waited to make my next move, opportunistically following drivers attempting overtakes ahead. While running in fourth place, the car ahead began to have performance issues, causing us to lose touch with the two leaders, so I made my move on the front straight, driving down the inside of my rival, trying to complete the pass before Turn 1. But another racer made the same move on me, driving down my inside at the same moment!

Exiting Turn 1, I was back in fourth place still, but now with no threat behind me, but no chance of catching the top two. I chose to wait for the chance to take third place, staying in the draft until the last lap. I made my move at Turn 8, taking the outside line with more momentum and speed … but I was driving in the ‘clag’ as David Hobbs used to call it. I held it around the outside of Turn 8, which became the inside line at Turn 9. A drag race to the finish and I crossed the line in third place…not bad for my first ever open-wheel race. I was even recognized at the ‘hard-charger’ with most positions gained in the race. Whoo!

My driving performance wasn’t perfect, and I still have a long way to go until I can truly compete with the top drivers, however, members of the team praised my patience in those closing laps. With a podium under my belt and managing to impress a group of veterans who have seen it all, I set my sights on the next race.

2022 Spring Trophy Races – Fast Friday

~ by Chris Demaras ~

Grassroots motorsports are intriguing. There are independents wrenching on their own equipment and big teams with double-decker, triple-axle haulers. Somewhere in the middle is Vallis Motor Sport who’ve been competing in the F1200 for 45 years, they have the knowledge and experience without the high cost of a big organization.

Even though the BRD race car was manufactured before the turn of the century, a full rebuild over the winter, plus some fresh paint and decals, made it look new again. Daniel was dazzled by the sight of the No. 12 race car. It looks like nothing else in the F1200 paddock. It is unique. Sticker tires on 15″ Fuchs wheels give the F1200 a little vintage 911 look to it.

Friday at the track included 5 practice sessions peppered throughout the day. The weather was cool in the morning sessions, but remained dry throughout. The F1200s shared the track with much quicker cars like F1600s, Formula Mazda and vintage F4 cars. The first sessions were a feeling out process for Daniel, trying to correlate the track IRL and in the SIM. Bill Vallis was in the pit lane with Daniel, providing words of wisdom and encouragement.

Years ago, Daniel raced at the old karting track, and would steal glances at the big track as open-wheelers raced past. Now, Daniel is the one driving the open-wheeler as kids race karts are in the background. It’s a real turning point.

Months of preparation went into this day. Daniel acquired his CASC racing license at Shannonville, ran exploratory laps at Cayuga in VMS’s No. 27 car, and participated in multiple sessions in the Force Dynamics simulator at HIP racing against coach Venditti.

The biggest gains were from the LDRC, DriveTeq and 6th Gear Motorsports track days in the Miata. The British racing green beauty is similar in size to the F1200, but with twice the weight and horsepower. It made for an excellent training tool.

Friday was a chance to shake down the car, and give the driver an opportunity to get comfortable behind the wheel. The sessions that count would happen over the weekend.