BRACK: Regional Racing License

~ by Daniel Demaras ~

I was really excited when arriving at Shannonville Motorsports Park. Confident too. I knew the track pretty well from racing the modified ‘Nelson Circuit’ in karts this summer, and the ‘Fabi Circuit’ in Anthony Simone’s NASCAR Pinty’s Series race car in 2020.

But then I saw the cars I would be sharing the track with, and I got worried. A Porsche 911 GT3, a resto-mod Mercury Cougar, and two NASCAR racecars. Could my Subaru even keep up with these guys?

But the Brack crew put me at ease. Cars were separated into different groups based on vehicle speed and driver experience. I would be on track with other new guys looking to get their racing licenses, not professionals.

In the morning we performed some exploratory laps, and my coach Ken helped me feel comfortable right away. Despite the car being a 2003, it held up fine, and I gained confidence with every lap.

Before lunch we shifted gears and went to the skid pad. The circular track was soaked with a firefighters hose so we wouldn’t burn up our tires as we explored the limit of grip. RWD Camaros tried to turn oversteer into four wheel drifts, while FWD Hondas understeered right off the track. I was totally impressed with my WRX. No traction control, no problem. The car just has so much grip!

In the afternoon lapping session, my gas gauge was beyond empty, and we had to refuel. I took the opportunity during the break to watch the experienced drivers applying the techniques Ken was teaching me.

During the final session, Ken watched my driving from outside the car. Though I was a little nervous to drive without an instructor at first, as soon as I started turning laps, it felt great. I had a proper understanding of the track from the time spent with Ken, and I could focus on driving fast and having fun.

My day with Brack Driving Concepts was a success. My coach Ken gave me the green light to move on to the next step in acquiring my Regional Racing License; the race procedures written test. I may only be a road racing rookie, but after this day, I am filled with confidence!

Max Fun

~ by Chris #16 Demaras ~

Rolling into Downsview Park, you just knew something was different last night. The parking lot of the K1 Speed looked like a car show, and I lined up the WRX next to a pair of Subaru BRZs, one of them with Drift Queen decal in the window. I was definitely in the right place.

Drift Night at K1 Speed is zero competition but maximum enjoyment. It’s style points, like figure skating or monster trucks. Nobody cares about lap times on this night.

The ‘Clubspeed’ live timing app says my last visit to K1 Speed was September 28, 2020. Two weeks short of a year! Between CRKC and TRAK, I feel like I’m at a race track every weekend, but it’s usually Goodwood. Indoor karting is more something we do in the fall and winter. But I just couldn’t miss Drift Night. It’s too much fun.

My daughter Michelle, plus her friends Angeline and Mia, decided to take the plunge and try drifting. Michelle has raced at K1 before, but for her rookie-racer pals, it would be trial by tire!

The only member of the Demaras Racing family who wasn’t at the track was Daniel. He’s a serious student now that he’s at U of T. But, man, was he jealous when he found out New Speed Motorsports co-owner Max Preston was there! Max heard about the fun, grabbed his helmet, and drove down to the track to meet up.

Max is a championship-winning Shifter Kart driver who takes great joy in helping the next generation, like my son Daniel, become better racers. While this might seem odd, I actually have a poster of Max in my garage.

Lining up in front of Preston, I actually felt nervous. He said he hadn’t been to K1 Speed since the old days (when the track was called Grand Prix Kartways) and by comparison, I’ve raced at K1 681 times since they opened in Canada. I tried to look relaxed, but inside…I knew I was chum in the water for this shark.

Even in the drift race, Max gapped me by 3.128 seconds, but like I said nobody is keeping score! This night is just for fun.

On to the main event of the evening, the Power Trio of Angeline, Mia and Michelle. K1 Speed’s own Anthony R. took special care of the youngsters, making sure they were properly belted in, booster seats installed, with helmets that didn’t make the girls feel like bobbleheads.

When these young ladies attacked the track, it was scary. All the warnings about the lack of grip didn’t dissuade them from going flat-out right away. It didn’t take long for one of them to find the wall (not naming names here) and the crash sound reverberated deep into the girls ears.

K1 was really busy, and those that didn’t arrive early were faced with long delays. That’s what scarcity is all about Charlie Brown! It was great to see Dale and Logan (from 130R) and Christian and Sherri (from KGR) but I’m not sure if any of them got to drift race. Even Max had to call it a night. But not the East York Crew. Nope. They were ready for one more race, and I was lucky enough to drift against them.

All the hesitancy of the first session was gone, and when Michelle, Mia and Angeline got out on track after 9:00 pm (on a school night!) there was nothing I could do to keep up with them.

But nobody was keeping score, right?

Retro Hot-Rod Symbolism

Michelle provided a finishing touch on her brother Daniel’s WRX. On a trip to Canadian Tire she spotted a pair of fuzzy dice, and knew that no performance car is complete without this piece of retro hot-rod symbolism. While driving to work, Daniel keeps the dice in the in the glovebox. But once the work day is over, he opens the cutout on the VAREX exhaust to hear the subie rumble, and hangs the dice in the mirror.

What’s with this ‘dice in the mirror’ thing anyhow? In World War II, fighter pilots would put a pair of dice on their instrument panel, showing a rolled seven, for good luck. After WWII, the golden age of hot-rodding began, as returning veterans used the mechanical skills they acquired in service to trick-out their Model A’s. The tradition of ‘dice’ on the dashboard was adopted into the car culture. and displaying them came to mean the driver was willing to roll the dice in a street race. No longer a symbol of recklessness, today’s generation has embraced them as a nostalgic symbol of speed.

2022 WRX

The new 2022 Subaru WRX.

It was supposed to be unveiled at the New York International Auto Show yesterday, but with the cancellation of that event, the company is pushing the launch back. The AWD, performance-car icon, is about to enter it’s 6th generation and 30th year in production, and the Subaru enthusiasts at Demaras Racing cannot wait to see the new model.

Back on the Road

Retro, vintage Japanese cars can be trying…challenging…infuriating. For weeks we’ve been trying to track down an engine issue. It’s amazing how one little lump pf plastic and aluminum can cause such a headache.

Hope to get this car out to the Toronto Subaru Club meetup in Scarborough tonight.


Always check the background. While dropping by the body shop to discuss a little touch-up on the WRX, something was lurking in the garage.

Here was a mint condition, 1948 Studebaker Champion powered by an 80hp inline six. With an overdrive, 3-speed transmission, this car is a cruiser, not a bruiser.

One of a handful left in existence, this is the finest, most well preserved example in Canada…yours for only $80,000.


~ by Chris #16 Demaras ~

It’s been a couple years since I brought my SVX out to a car show. It was probably Toronto Subaru Club’s 2019 Hyper Meet. That was a good day for the me and Daniel…and a pic of the SVX even made it to a DRIVING.CA article. Cool!

Since that last show, the SVX has undergone major improvements. Fresh paint on the scratched up hood improved the looks. But the big change was thanks to NV Auto’s custom AirLift installation. Oh yeah…and they moved that ugly license plate under the bumper.

My GMC monster truck is my daily driver, but I put it on the street to take the SVX out last night. There isn’t going to be a TSC Hyper Meet this year, but every Wednesday at the RONA at Midland Ave & McNicoll Ave in Scarborough there’s a late evening Toronto Subaru Club meet up.

It wasn’t quite what I expected. The parking lot was really dark, and the overhead lights where the Subarus were parked, was burned out. When I parked the car and aired-out of the suspension, I heard someone say “…whoa, a bagged SVX…” and I couldn’t hide my smile.

Pictures came out like crap, and I had to use my flashlight just to get a good look at custom powder-coated BBS wheels and insane splitters. But I met some cool people, and got a chance to see what the late-night Toronto car scene looks like in 2021.

PPKC Thursday

~ by Chris #16 Demaras ~

Time for the first ‘away race‘ of the 2021 season. Daniel and I jumped into my dad’s Subaru Forester XT turbo for a quick drive to Leamington. The Invidia dual exhaust played the songs of our people as we sped across the 401.

Fast forward a couple hundred kilometers, and we’re on a regional road just off the highway. Daniel and I decide to switch drivers for the last stretch into town, so we randomly pull into the first parking lot we could find. It’s just a dusty old garage with Sparky’s on the hand-painted sign.

Through the garage door we could see a mechanic working away under a rusty 1969 Mercury Cougar. We walked in just to say hi. After all, he was nice enough not to greet us with a rack of the 12-gauge and a “…the sign says private property, city slicker…” like we expected.

What a surprise we found.

Inside were a pair of 1957 fat-fender GMC pickups and a 1963 Continental with suicide doors. Sparky was nice enough to let us wander through his shop, and I almost expected to find three Piston Cups on the shelf. The map may say Sparky’s is located at 6295 Kent Rd 1 in Tilbury, but there’s so many classics in the shop, you’ll think you wandered into Radiator Springs.

We said goodbye to Sparky, and prepared for the last leg of the tip to Point Pelee Karting. In the parking lot out front in the sunshine was the top dog. A 1970 Dodge Challenger in Sublime neon green paint. I played tourist one more time, and posed for a picture, as Sparky asked if I was was interested in trading the Subaru station wagon for a real car.

More Parts

Old cars will test your patience. No matter how much time and effort and money you put into them, there’s always something else ready to wear out. The WRX had its first ‘mechanical‘ this week when the alternator decided life was just too hard for it. The Scarboro Subaru parts department took care of sourcing a new one.

One day out of the shop, and the next issue occurred. Wipers were on this morning due to the rain. At ‘HI’ setting, there’s so much play that the wiper arms extend past the A-pillar and scratch up the paint. The rubber bushings in the wiper linkage are completely disintegrated. Tony the parts guru at Subaru commented “I remember back in the day this was a common issue, I can get the part in right away.”

Surely, these are the last parts the car will need.

Something New at Subaru

~ by Chris #16 Demaras ~

This is what I like about Subaru. This morning, the Japanese manufacturer released a very artistic shot of the soon-to-be 2022 WRX. With the rising sun in the mountainous background, the car is all back-lit, and no details can be made out. The general shape of an aerodynamic 4-door coupe…sure. But no details.

Except that. The iconic hood scoop. Supplying fresh air to a top-mount intercooler, the basic architecture of the WRX is intact.

The car bears some resemblance to the VIZIV Performance STI concept from the 2018 Tokyo Auto Salon. But that’s just the general silhouette. And we’ve been tricked by automakers before. Remember the concept of the Chevy Volt? Then you remember what we actually saw at bowtie dealerships? Not good. So I decided to visit my friends at Scarboro Subaru for the straight story on the just released pics of the 2022 WRX, and what to expect next.

I bumped into three generations of the Vigliatore family, who were giddy about what they had in the back of the shop. I put on my mask and ventured past the service desk to see it. Did they get hold of a Subaru 360? A fully restored XT6?

Nope. It was a land yacht.

A pristine 1978 Mercury Marquis Brougham. White with the blue, padded landau roof. This vehicle had a monster V8 under the hood, spats over the rear wheels, and simulated crocodile skin on the headlight covers. The ultimate in late ’70s excess from Detroit. This car had been in the extended family for decades, was loved by it’s mechanic owner, and has now been passed along to the grandson.