Driving a Ferrari at Toronto Motorsports Park

Daniel Demaras is a lifelong Ferrari fan. No matter how the F1 season is going, there’s only one team he cheers for. He’s what you call Tifosi.

With Ontario moving ahead to Stage 3 in the ‘Road to Recovery’ places like Toronto Motorsports Park at Cayuga are re-opening to offer exotic car ‘thrill rides’ to speed freaks like the Demaras family. Chris and Daniel were there on Day 1!

The team at TMP are extremely friendly and made the Demaras duo feel right at home, playfully teasing by asking if they wanted to drive the Porsche instead of the Ferrari.

After s driver’s briefing to help everyone understand how to operate the paddle-shifters, what rev range to keep the cars within and the rules of the road, the participants headed out on track.

For Daniel, the sight of a ‘rosso corsa’ red Ferrari F430 in the parking lot brought childhood memories rushing back; he’d be driving the same car as Michael Schumacher’s cameo appearance in Pixar’s Cars movie.

Technically speaking, Daniel doesn’t have a driver’s license. He’s been racing karts since he was little, and he’s driven his mom’s Mini Cooper S, but only has a learner’s permit. Since the track is a closed course, Daniel’s G2 was sufficient. Young Demaras jumped into the Ferrari’s driver seat ready to hit the track under the guidance of his TMP instructor Chris in the passenger seat.

Pushing the big red button, Daniel fired up the Italian V8, engaged first gear, then headed out on track. At Chris’ instruction, Daniel gave it full throttle and accelerated along the pit lane, grabbing gears at redline as the speedometer approached 200 km/h.

Daniel hammered out 10 laps in the Ferrari. Afterwards he commented that more surprising than the power from the Italian supercar was the amount of grip the car can produce in the corners. The drive was just astounding.

Once father and son had taken their turns at the wheel of the F430, Daniel was already asking when he could come back to Toronto Motorsports Park to drive their F-2000 car in anger…and maybe even a few more laps in the Ferrari.


Thanks to Toronto Motorports Park for providing the Demaras Racing family their first drive in a Ferrari.


Leonard D’Arrigo: MoRad than You

~ by Daniel Demaras ~

Two months ago, I hadn’t even met Leonard. I knew he wrenched his way to the Karting World Championships with my friend Andrew Waring back when Waring still was racing karts. Now, after working with Leonard for the first few races of the season, I got to watch him race.

After a long race weekend at Innisfil, I went to Goodwood to watch the first Moradness race of 2020. The paddock was filled with people, some from club racing, others from arrive and drive, and others who’d never raced before.

Leonard’s Team MoRad Than You took pole positionahead of Team Backmarkers.

The field did a pace lap and then got ready on the grid for a standing start. The green flag flew and 16 arrive and drive karts roared off the start. Team MoRad Than You set great pace off the start, taking off from the pack, while the drivers behind fought tooth and nail.

After building up a healthy lead, the first pit stops rolled around. Leonard swapped into the kart. After pushing hard to stay ahead of the competition while exiting the pits, he smashed the exit kerb in turn 5 and sent the outside wheels into the air. After getting better settled into the kart, Leonard began increasing the gap behind and working his way through lapped karts.

Team MoRad Than You dominated the race, despite picking up some penalties along the way.

After almost two hours of chaotic racing, Team MoRad Than You took the checkered flag, completing 159 laps around Goodwood Kartways/

The Moradness Karting Championship got off to a crazy start, but Leonard and Team MoRad Than You weathered the storm to take a dominant victory.

NSM Boss at Sebring

The first IMSA Prototype Challenge race since the January 4th season opener at Daytona International Speedway took place at Sebring International Raceway this weekend with New Speed Motorsports karting team boss Anthony Simone racing in the event.

Simone races for Gilbert/Korthoff Motorsports. Unfortunately, during a recent team test, the Norma M30 race car sustained damage, so a replacement Ligier JS LMP3 had to be raced at Sebring while the team’s prototype gets repaired back in Indianapolis. Because of a qualifying rainout, Simone did not have any seat time before the Saturday morning warm-up session.

It was an up and down day the No. 23 at Sebring Raceway. Anthony’s co-pilot Jon got spun while running in 4th, but recovered. Then a drive through penalty (for spinning the wheels while the car was up on the air-jacks during a pit stop) put the No. 23 down a lap. They couldn’t get it back, despite great pace late in the race, ending the day in 7th. The team gained valuable points in the IMSA championship as several teams ahead in points suffered DNFs. The team worked hard in really hot conditions and are off to Road America in 2 weeks.


Where’s Anthony?

Most weekends, if you’re looking for family-man Anthony Simone, you’ll find him at the local karting track. He’s keeping an eye on his boy Leo while coaching his older son Rocco and guiding his racers Daniel, Elijah and Santiago back onto the podium.

Anthony seems like a regular karting dad. Mechanically inclined, lots of cool tools in the box, and a pickup truck that looks like it’s been through a war.

But this weekend, the other Anthony…professional race car driver Anthony Simone…will drive the No. 23 Gilbert/Korthoff Motorsports Norma M30 Prototype in the IMSA CADILLAC GRAND PRIX OF SEBRING.

Anthony Simone and co-pilot Jon Brownson will be racing in the IMSA Prototype Challenge on Saturday, July 18 2020. The Florida race will be shown live on IMSA.TV from 11:50 AM to 1:35 PM. Back home in Ontario, the New Speed Motorsports team will be on track competing in the KartStars Canada series…but a few laptops will surely be tuned into the race to see how the boss is doing.

GOOD LUCK ANTHONY!


Marketing

Corey Lajoie’s marketing team are great at creating impressive NASCAR liveries. They re-used his Daytona paint scheme, with the memorable mug plastered across the hood and grille. This time the twist was the addition of a surgical mask!

Maybe NASCAR should hire Lajoie’s marketing team. Sure, not every race will end up with a name as cool as the Firecracker 400 or the Rebel 500. But somebody should have put the brakes on calling the race the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway.

Continued Support

Walking into the Subaru dealership, you can’t help but notice how much things have changed. The acrylic shields on the service department counter. The social distancing markers on the floor. Customers and workers wearing masks to help ‘stop the spread’. And that’s just what you see. What you don’t see are the diligent disinfection processes dealership staff use when preparing cars for test drives, or returning a WRX after an oil change.

Scarboro Subaru at 2590 Eglinton Ave East has supported Daniel Demaras since his first year in racing. With the ‘challenging times’ faced by all businesses in 2020, it meant a lot to Daniel to have Subaru’s continued support, even as other corporate sponsors scaled back.

“Last year I had the Subaru emblem front and centre on my kart, and we did some good promotion for the brand. But this year I want to do something special.” explained Demaras, who at 16, is looking to make his first car purchase from the dealership.

“I’ve got a nice 1992 Subaru Legacy station wagon for you, Daniel.” teased Guy, the General Manager of Scarboro Subaru, knowing that young Demaras has his eye on an early model WRX, and not a Family Truckster. But the colour is right.


Technology

F1 2020 is the twelfth installment in the video game series by Codemasters. The game includes all the current tracks and cars, plus some vintage F1 machinery driven by Michael Schumacher. Racing technology has moved fast in the 30 years since Schumacher drove the Jordan 191 in his F1 debut at Spa. Yet even by today’s standards, the car’s design is … elegant.

Looking at video game technology from only 17 years ago is laughable. The screenshots of Kimi Raikkonen in the 2003 game versus the 2020 game shows how far technology has really gone.

Some things age better than others.

Six Degrees of Separation

Most weekends, Daniel Demaras races his kart past the Sofina logo at his local karting track. The Sofina Driver Development Team helped take Canadian racer Nicholas Latifi from Goodwood Kartways to Formula 1.

Canadian company Sofina Food’s logo will now be prominently displayed on the Williams FW43 as it competes in the 2020 Formula 1 season. For Canadian racers, this adds a real sense of pride.

One of us made it all the way to the big leagues.

No…Not the F40!

~ by Chris ‘#16’ Demaras ~

A year ago I was selling an old couch and rug. Just something I bought cheap to flip and make a buck…but people don’t want to hear that! So I wrote funny little post on social media instead.

A friend of mine, who happens to be a professional race car driver, called me up the next day. He was concerned. “Bro…don’t do it. Put your wife’s sofa back in the living room. I’ve seen it happen before. Once you start selling your stuff to pay for racing, it’ll never end.”

I tried to tell him it was a joke, a marketing angle, but he didn’t believe me. I thought he was nuts. Who would sell their stuff just so their kid could go racing?!


“We need to work on a scheme that we have a large number of kids who can try go-karting, compete in proper kit, and eventually they will make their way into F1.”

Alesi agrees, revealing he had to sell his Ferrari F40 to help fund Giuliano’s career.

“I’m an ex-Formula 1 driver, I have connections but I had to sell my Ferrari F40 to get the budget for my son to race in Formula 2. Why? Because it is almost mission impossible mission to find sponsorship. The price is too expensive and yet nobody wants to change anything.”

Planet F1

Jean Alesi was never a superstar. He raced in 202 Grand Prix over 13 years, his only win coming at with the Scuderia Ferrari at the 1995 Canadian Grand Prix. The F40 is a special car, as it is the last car Ferrari made under the watchful eye of Enzo Ferrari. Alesi’s F40 in particular was a gift from Ferrari as part of his driver’s contract.


FLASHBACK: 2013 Historic Grand Prix

Seven years ago today, our extended family went out to Mosport one sunny day in June for the Vintage Automobile Racing Association of Canada’s 2013 Canadian Historic Grand Prix.

The event was a mixture of old sports cars from the 1950’s to the 1980’s, but the highlight of the day was when the high-horsepower open-wheel cars took to the track. Many of these cars raced before any of these kids were born, so it was a unique opportunity..

Little Daniel was of course dressed in Ferrari red, and Sophia had her Danica Patrick hat on, so they certainly looked the part of ‘race fans’. But they were much more interested in ice cream than old race cars.

With an open paddock and inviting atmosphere, the kids did find some vehicles that interested them, and were surpised at how small race cars of the era really were. Made them believe they too could be racers!