Open-Wheel Racecar Experience

~ by Daniel Demaras ~

As a lifelong fan of open-wheel racing and motorsports, I’ve always wanted to try the real thing. Watching it on TV and playing it in video games is fun and all, but it doesn’t satisfy me. I’ve always wanted to drive an open-wheel racecar. At Toronto Motorsports Park in Cayuga this Wednesday, I finally got to do it.

I had no experience in anything like the Reynard F2000. I’d driven a road car on a race track once, when I took a Ferrari F430 out for hot laps this summer. The F430 was a paddle-shift semi-automatic, and my only experience driving a manual transmission stick-shift (like the one the F2000 was equipped with) came in a couple of two-hour driving lessons in a Honda Civic last December! Needless to say, this was a very new experience.

It rained the entire drive up to the track, and throughout the in-class instruction. But the skies cleared up just in time for the group to head outside. After taking pictures with the racecar, we drove our road cars onto the circuit, over to where the F2000s were pitted. Even as a passenger in my dad’s lifted GMC Sierra, driving down the front straight at Cayuga was pretty freaky.

I got a chance to check out the cars before driving them. What struck me was how they were both so small and so simple. Seeing the gear shifter sticking into the cockpit, directly connected to the engine, located right behind the driver showed this vehicle was clearly meant for performance only with no thoughts spared for comfort.

Watching the other drivers take out the racecars before me, I realized that this would not be easy to drive. Lock ups, missed shifts, spins and stalls were frequent, as everyone tried to come to grips with their machines.

Finally, it was my turn. I stepped into the tiny cockpit, got belted in, fired up the engine and put it into first gear.

And I stalled it.

I tried again, and stalled it again. Now, in my defense, my experience in stick-shift cars is very limited, but after some time fighting the car, I got it to engage and off I went. After feeling out the car, finding where to shift and where to brake, I got into a rhythm. Fourth gear on the straights, third, then second into turn two. Third gear into the final corner and back into fourth. The tires were squealing often and I had to fight the car at some points, but I had it under control. After a couple laps in I tried to push my braking zone into the final turn, but instead I carried too much speed and spun it. I started the car back up, put it into first and got going again.

Once I got over the jitters, and got my first spin out of the way, I really started getting the hang of it. I pushed harder into the corners, accelerated earlier, and tried to brake later and later. I ran up behind another racer on-track and decided to go for the pass. Taking a nice tight apex on the final corner I had the inside line on the front straight, where my dad was filming. I hammered the throttle, leaving it in gear right up to redline as I zoomed past.

Driving an open-wheel racecar was a dream come true for me. For those laps, I felt just like the drivers I’d watched and idolized all my life. It was nerve-wracking but it was also incredible. A totally new experience in a new motorsport discipline.


Incredible Day

~ by Chris “#16” Demaras ~

I’m not sure when we really started planning yesterday’s events. Maybe last year when Daniel took stick-shift driving lessons. Or at Christmas, when Santa stuffed vouchers for “Laps in an F2000 Car” in our stockings. Perhaps years ago when we designed the Demaras Racing logo. Probably even further back, to when Daniel attended Champ Car races at Exhibition Place when he was a toddler. It’s been a long time coming.

Toronto Motorsports Park (TMP) sells thrill rides in an open-wheel car as a once-in-a-lifetime type of experience. ‘Bucket list’ items. But for me and Daniel, it felt more like a beginning than an ending. His first drive in a race car.

Awake at 5:00 am, on the road to Cayuga before the sun was up. The weather didn’t look promising as rain came down throughout the slow, two-hour drive to the track, getting heavier as we arrived. I knew Daniel would be nervous, so I joked about Fuji ’76 and how real racers love the rain. But for the kid’s first time in an open-wheeler, a dry track would be less intimidating.

Arriving at TMP we were greeted by Cindy, Dov and Christine who we’d met months earlier when we did hot laps in a Ferrari F430 at TMP. It was like seeing old friends again. Uli Bieri, the track owner, could be overheard telling everyone to be patient; the skies would clear and we would be on track soon. He went back to work on the cars and track preparation.

By the time driver training was complete, the sun broke through and the strong winds dried the track, rapidly. All the dreamers and would be racers tried on loaner helmets and suits, while Daniel unpacked his gear. To kill some extra time while the track sweepers did their duty, everyone posed in front of the Reynard F2000 car. This would be a moment to remember.

Waiting trackside while others did their laps, the nervousness was getting to Daniel. He’d been nervous about the clutch and old-school H-pattern shifter. I don’t want to say too much here, as Daniel will be writing about his own experience in the car in the coming days.

But as a dad, watching my kid get to live out a dream moment…it was incredible. Just an incredible day.

When the F2000 program was complete, we headed back to the main building to grab our gear. We’d already missed work and school, and it was after noon, so rather than heading home, we spontaneously decided to join the Dragstrip Experience that had started an hour earlier.

I went from watching Daniel to racing him in an SRT8 Hemi powered car! 175 km/h, door-to-door down the quarter mile.

More than once during the day, I compared Toronto Motorsports Park to Canada’s Wonderland. It’s a state fair of thrill rides that ends only when you run out of nerve or cash. But it’s much more than that.

It’s a historic track with a passionate owner. Uli Bieri is a legendary Canadian sports-car racer. He bought the track in 1997, added the road course, brought in supercars from his dealerships, and even the F2000 cars from Mosport’s Bridgestone Racing Academy. He’s really created a place where you can live every motorsports dream for a day, or every weekend.


Today! F2000 at Cayuga

Ten months ago, Santa brought Daniel Demaras the gift of speed. A lapping day in an F2000 open-wheel race car at Toronto Motorsports Park (Cayuga).

Two months ago, Chris and Daniel visited Cayuga for a day of driving a Ferrari F430 on the road course at TMP. A great precursor to the big day.

The wait is over!

Today, Daniel Demaras gets his first opportunity to drive an open-wheel race car. Rain of shine, Daniel is ready!

Racer Throws Bumper at Rival During Karting World Championship

Italian kart driver Luca Corberi attempted to throw his bumper at a rival driver during the FIA KZ World Championship. Corberi was taking part in a race at the Lonato circuit and was forced to retire after coming in contact with another driver. However, Corberi hung around at the side of the track and picked up the bumper from his kart. The 23-year-old then attempted to throw it at his rival, then angrily stomped across the track. Luckily, the other driver did not suffer any injuries from the attack.

Following the race, Corberi started a brawl in the pit with an unnamed driver before other competitors intervened.

The reaction on social media has been swift. After millions of views, the racers started pushing back against this abhorrent behavior.


TV

Anthony Simone has helped guide Daniel Demaras through 2020. As boss of the NSM team, Simone has provided technical expertise, driver coaching, and taught by example by competing in Rok VLR Masters races in the KartStars series.

At home on Sunday, Daniel Demaras got a chance to see Anthony at his day job, as driver of the No. 1 Silverline Tools Nascar Pinty’s Series racecar, as TSN broadcast the race at Jukasa Motor Speedway.

Getting to learn about racing from someone who battles against racers like Alex Tagliani and D.J. Kennigton is amazing. Every kart racing team promises to help young drivers learn to become a race car driver. New Speed Motorsports is actually run by one.

Alonso to Help With ‘Anything Needed’

To prepare for his 2021 return to Formula 1, Fernando Alonso has been spending time at the Renault F1 team factory in Enstone. He toured the offices, spent time in the new simulator, and got reacquainted with the team he won F1 World Championships with in 2005 & 2006.

Surprising pictures emerged, showing a Formula 1 champion getting his hands dirty, working on his racing seat, reminding many of Kimi Raikkonen. In 2019, Kimi was photographed in the Alfa Romeo garage sanding and shaping his race seat, with the caption “I didn’t go to school for nothing.”

Daniel Demaras is on his 6th racing seat of 2020. The handling of the kart when the seat is low in the frame just feels right. Raise up the seat even a few millimeters, and the kart starts “two-wheeling” in the corners. Thanks to super-tuner Cale Mead, a fiberglass repair kit and a couple cans of Bud Light, Daniel will have enough seats to last through the end of the 2020 season.

Bridgestone Discontinues Kart Racing Tires

PRESS RELEASE: Tokyo (September 25, 2020) – Bridgestone Corporation today announced that it plans to discontinue supply of kart tires effective December 31, 2022.

  • The supply of kart tires will be discontinued on December 31, 2022.
  • This decision reflects careful examination of the company’s portfolio and resources.
  • Bridgestone will continue its longstanding, passionate participation in motorsports.

Since 1977, Bridgestone has continued to develop, manufacture, and supply kart tires for domestic and overseas markets. In Japan, we have supplied kart tires accredited by the Japan Automobile Federation. Overseas, our kart tires have been homologated by Commission Internationale de Karting, an organization under the umbrella of the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile. These tires have been used to support the aspirations of kart racers of all types, from hobby to serious racers pursuing new heights in their sport.

The decision to discontinue kart tire supply was made through a careful examination of the company’s portfolio and resource allocation to reflect operating environment changes consistent with the Group’s Mid-Long Term Business Strategy. However, Bridgestone will be fully responsible for the supply of kart tires until December 31, 2022, at which time outstanding supply contracts with customers are scheduled to conclude.

We would like to express our sincere appreciation for the many customers and kart racing staff who have used our tires in their racing pursuits. Bridgestone will continue its passionate participation in motorsports as a company and we hope that our customers will continue to support Bridgestone’s motorsports activities.

https://www.bridgestone.com/corporate/news/2020092501.html


For local perspective, Bridgestone’s decision will effect the MRFKC (Motormaster Ron Fellows Karting Championship) and MIKA based out of Mosport, as their 2-cycle racing classes exclusively use Bridgestone tires.


NSM’s Anthony Simone in the 90s

Here’s some old videotape (courtesy of AdrenalineTV) from the 1999 SKUSA SuperNationals in Las Vegas. It was the third-straight event held at the ‘Las Vegas Karting Center’ or as it was commonly known, the ‘Rock Pile’. The early days of the SuperNationals helped to build the foundation of Superkarts! USA.

Some of the (future) professional drivers competing at the event included Anthony Simone, AJ Allmendinger, Ward Imrie, Juliana Chiovitti, Jonathan Bomarito, Scott Speed, Memo Gidley and “Fresh Prince of Belair” actor Alfonso Ribeiro (A.K.A. Carlton).

The SuperNationals was a stand-alone event, labeled as the ‘Festival of Shifterkart Racing’, that drew a total of 253 entries. Headline categories S1, S2 and K1 (80cc Senior Shifter) made up 75% of that total, with 80 Junior, Formula C, 250cc Moto and 60cc Novice rounding out the class roster. A complete breakdown of the event can be found in at the Superkarts! USA website in the SuperNationals section.


Original article by David Cole on EKN.


Ford Drives Down Limits

Pump the Brakes! This week, Ontario announced a roll back on the number of people permitted at gatherings. Toronto, Ottawa and Peel region gatherings are now limited to 25 people outdoors and 10 people indoors. Those new maximums don’t extend to places like restaurants, movie theatres, banquet halls and convention centres. Also, Demaras Racing’s home track of Goodwood Kartways is located in York Region, which has not seen such an increase in the number of cases. Racing has not been effected by the change.

The roll back could have been much worse, and impacted the conclusion of the 2020 racing season. This week, the SKUSA organization (acronym for “Superkarts! USA”) announced that SuperNationals 24, their big November kart racing event in Las Vegas, has been cancelled. The county where the race was to take place has a limit of 50 people gatherings, and the hosting Rio Hotel & Casino remains closed due to ‘the virus‘. Organizers waited as late as possible to cancel, hoping for improvements in the situation, and an increase in the number of individuals allowed to gather.

Written with details from CBC and EKN.

Evolution

Kart racers have favourite race car drivers. Could be someone who inspired them to take up racing in the first place. Daniel Demaras even ran the No. 7 on his kart back in 2018, in honour of his racing hero Kimi Raikkonen.

Raikkonen is a legend in F1. the last driver to win the World Championship in a Ferrari. But lately his upped his social media game with posts like this, below.