IMSA 2019

You’ve got to love IMSA. The Prototype racers are like spaceships. Four wheeled UFOs. If you didn’t know better, the picture of the Acura ARX-05 DPi above may as well be an aircraft.

The paddock at a sports car event is totally unlike IndyCar or F1. Everything is open. No barriers or extra cost passes. Although some teams, like Wayne Taylor Racing, do look deadly serious, Daniel Demaras managed to locate the ever smiling Helio Castroneves.

When you move down the grid to the GTLM and GTD cars, the mood is much lighter. The competition on the track is still ferocious, but it’s all smiles before the race. Some of the racers are a little older, and clearly Jan Magnussen, IMSA President Scott Atherton, and Chris Demaras all have the same barber.

TV crews and media were out in force, trying to get interviews with superstar drivers like Juan Pablo Montoya driving the Team Penske DPi.

But once the Weather Tech grid girls arrived, attention shifted the the variety of ice-cream coloured race cars at the GT end of the field.

Vance at CTMP

With a rare weekend off from karting, Daniel Demaras and Chris Demaras took the weekend to enjoy the IMSA race at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park.

With plenty of racing over three days, there was no shortage of eye candy. But the highlight of the weekend was watching friend of the family, and professional race car driver James Vance, piloting his #23 Audi around the grand prix circuit.

Vance is a total class act. Once the race was over, he welcomed his young protégé Daniel into the paddock, introducing him to team management, and even letting Daniel sit in his “office”.

Highlighter

LeMans squad Rebellion Racing has revealed a pair of radical ‘art car’ liveries for the big 24 Hour race. The Swiss outfit is dumping it’s boring, corporate colours in favour of two neon designs, the result of a new sponsorship arrangement with Los Angeles-based artist Tomyboy and his Rocketbyz brand.

Inspired, Daniel Demaras has sent his new Arai helmet from Paragon Competition to Lone Palm Design for a custom paint job, an evolution of Daniel’s trademark highlighter yellow brain bucket.



Track Day with Andrew

Mechanics love to give you orders. They tell you how to drive and how you should’ve driven, and sometimes you find yourself thinking “What does he know, he isn’t even a driver!”. I can’t say that about my mechanic, Andrew. He raced karts from the time he was in diapers, and raced all the way to Formula 1200. The guy knows how to drive.

Andrew took me out to a track day at Shannonville Motorsports Park in his beast of a Volkswagen Golf GTI. The first thing I noticed about this small, unassuming car when he picked me up was the unbelievable amount of sound it produced. Driving down the highway felt like being in a small airplane on the 401.

We got to the track and saw all the beat up Miatas, convertible Corvettes and Mercedes station wagons drifting on the half of the track we weren’t using. Despite the intimidation of all the smoke and tire squeals, I was excited to go out on track. I strapped on my helmet, put on my seatbelt, and Andrew stepped on the gas pedal.

One thing I learned at the track day was that nobody is going to hold your hand. When something goes wrong at Goodwood or Mosport, the track send out a recover vehicle (an ATV with a trailer) to pick you up and bring you back to the pits to your mechanic…with his disapproving look. But on a track day at Shannonville, you are the recover crew. You and your buddies just have to push the car back to the puts yourselves.

Andrew Waring is one hell of a driver. Despite being in his daily driver, on slicks, on a track that was slightly wet, he absolutely sent it through the corners, hooking his tires on the inside of the kerbs, passing cars and moving seriously quick. When the rain came, he gave me a running commentary of how he was figuring out the track’s wet line, which gave a glimpse into the thought process of an experienced driver.

Driving a car is clearly a lot more work than a kart. They are so much bigger, heavier, have so much more power; you really have to be on top of the car. More than that, you have to change gears, and if you put it in the wall, there’s no PRO team to put the car back together.

I’ve never been in a car around a racetrack before, this weekend was a truly unique experience before, and a whole lot of fun.