The STANMECH Technologies, Good Cars Only, Gabo Solutions #77 Formula Mazda Team had an outstanding weekend at our first race weekend of the delayed 2020 racing season. The event was the SMP Cup, held at Shannonville Motorsport Park. We were placed in the Formula Libre/Formula 4/VARAC Formula Classic Race group. We had registered our #77 Formula Mazda in the VARAC Formula Classic A class. There were a total of 7 cars in our race group including, Formula Ford’s and three Formula 4’s. Formula 4 (Canada) race cars are motorcycle powered, open-wheel, open-cockpit formula cars with wings and slicks. The cars are light and very quick because of their inherent power to weight ratio. The weather was perfect for the entire race weekend, with a mix of both rain and sunny days, ranging from the upper 20's to the low 30’s Celsius.
Over the course of Friday, Saturday and Sunday, we were on track a total of 10 times; 4 on-track practices during the Friday test day, followed by one practice session, one qualifying session, Race 1, Race 2 and Race 3. Our race class included some very nice vintage open wheel race cars.
With our Mazda 13B rotary engine rated at 200 horsepower and weighing in at 1350 pounds, we were very much underpowered compared to the Formula 4’s with 140 hp and weighing in at 850 pounds. Fortunately, the weather and the technical layout of the Shannonville Motorsports Park racetrack played to our advantage.
As this was our 1st race of the 2020 season, we spent quite a bit of time on the test day ensuring that the #77 Formula Mazda set up for this particular track. The race car performed beautifully during the test day as a result of careful preparation and the ideal chassis setup. We were using test day tires from the previous 2019 racing season and we were bedding new brake pads, so we weren’t really trying to set a race pace. Our best lap for the test day was a 1: 47 flat – pretty respectable lap time on old tires.
Saturday morning the forecast for the day was expected to be warm and sunny so we put on the new race tires that we would be using for the balance of the race weekend. The racing during Saturday would be carried out on the long track at SMP (this track is 4.03 km long with a total of 14 turns). During practice, we scuffed in the new tires (not really being concerned with setting a race pace lap speed) setting a best lap time of 1: 52.732. During qualifying, we set the P1 lap time of 1: 45.977, 1.33 seconds ahead of the car in P2. In Race 1, we battled with 2 of the Formula 4 race cars, having a protracted battle with Jim Morton, whose car is blazingly fast. In the end, we prevailed over Jim and finished in P1 and 1st in class with a best lap time of 1: 45.279, 0.617 seconds ahead of Jim’s car.
Sunday morning brought the threat of rain at some point before noon. Additionally, racing would be carried out on the pro track at SMP (this track is 2.47 km long with a total of 9 turns). As it happened, we ended up with a 1 hour rain delay during the late morning. By the time we were supposed to be on track for Race 2, the track was fully wet without a lot of standing water. We elected to stay with slicks as the aggressive nature of our rain tires required lots of standing water on the racetrack. During Race 2, we were outclassed on the track by Doug Beatty in an F1600 Formula Ford with treaded tires – we finished in P2, 2nd in class with the best lap time of 1:29.142.
For Race 3, the weather improved substantially with mild temperatures and a sunny day. Jim Morton managed to develop a sizable lead during the course of the race. We finished P2, 1st in class with the best lap time of 1: 08.846 – in the end, our tire choice coupled with the challenging racing surface at SMP was our biggest challenge. Overall, an awesome race weekend and a terrific showing for the STANMECH Technologies, Good Cars Only, Gabo Solutions #77 Formula Mazda Team for our 1st race of the shortened 2020 race season.
Our race car performed beautifully during the entire event - a very big thank you to our sponsors; STANMECH Technologies, Good Cars Only, Gabo Solutions , to Bill & Shirley Vallis of Vallis Motor Sport and to our biggest fan Teddy Subject Murdoch.
Click here for more photos from this race weekend.
A very big thank you to Shannonville Motorsport Park for hosting such a great event!! And last, but certainly not least, we want to thank our long suffering family which allows us to continue to race……….