David Calvert-Jones Takes First IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge Win at Grand Prix of Mosport
Aussie Wins Second Race of Doubleheader After Starting from Pole
LOS ANGELES (July 23, 2012) - Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada may have gone from being daunting in the eyes of David Calvert-Jones at the start of the race weekend, to being a new favorite track.
One thing is certain, the track formerly known as 'Mosport International Raceway' will always be special to the man known as 'CJ,' as it was the site of the Aussie racer's first victory and first pole position in the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama Grand Prix of Mosport last weekend.
CJ parlayed his fastest Gold Cup class race lap aboard the No. 12 Porsche in Saturday's first half of the doubleheader weekend into the class pole position for Sunday's race. He then parlayed the pole position into his first class victory on Sunday afternoon.
"It feels awesome to get a win," said CJ, who claimed his first victory since winning a Pirelli Cup race at Las Vegas last year. "Starting on pole was a good feeling in itself, so I started off the race pretty happy. I got a good start and I settled into a bit of a rhythm, but I had Angel Benitez Junior hard on my tail and we had a couple of Platinum guys who were around me sort of giving me some grief. I also started getting a low water warning light on and then low water pressure, which started taking a little bit of my concentration away. Benitez got around me and took off into the distance. I was running second and sort of managing the car for the majority of the race with the warning lights going off.
"I just wanted to get home. Every corner, I had warning lights come on. I had this big red light coming on and the MoTeC [data display] was flashing at me. I was on the radio back to the crew, just working through the temperatures and the pressures and making sure that the car was going to get through. Really, to be frank, I was playing for second. I was just thinking, 'Let's get the points and stay here and manage the gap to third.' Unfortunately for Angel, he spun it in Turn 5 on the second-to-last lap and I came through. He must have pushed it too hard into Turn 5 and he was up in the fence, and I came through for a win, which was fantastic."
Saturday's first race of the doubleheader was a fair bit more difficult for CJ. Following an incredibly competitive qualifying session on Friday evening where CJ was just two tenths of a second off the second-quickest time, the No. 12 Porsche started eighth on Saturday. As every IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge race is actually two races in one, with the Platinum Cup and Gold Cup classes racing at the same time, the presence of the other class created a few issues early on for CJ.
"It took a long time to get through some traffic," he explained. "I could have been a lot faster, but it's a really hard track to pass on, especially trying to pass the Platinum cars with more horsepower and more downforce. Down the straightaways, they'd sort of pull away from you, but I was catching them in every corner. It's really hard to pass mid-corner, so I just had to be patient and work my way through those guys. It took a lot longer than I would have liked, but I think it was smart by just being patient, which I'm learning as I go on in this game."
That lesson obviously paid off, as CJ eventually managed to work his way into fourth place as the race neared its conclusion. With too large a gap to the podium finishers and a decent gap over those behind him, CJ turned the final laps of Saturday's race into a 'qualifying' session, as Sunday's starting grid would be set based on each driver's fastest race lap on Saturday.
"When I was three laps from the end, I felt the tires going away a little, but I was feeling the track so much better and I didn't mind a bit of sliding through Turn 2 and Turn 8 and a lot of understeer," said CJ. "I thought, 'Let's just push as hard as I can to try to get a fast lap so I can try to get somewhere for tomorrow.' I ended up throwing down a really quick one."
All in all, it was a successful weekend, not only for CJ, but also for the entire Competition Motorsports team. Fred Poordad followed CJ across the finish line in second on Sunday in the No. 72 Porsche to give Competition Motorsports a 1-2 result.
"It was a really great weekend for Competition Motorsports," said CJ. "We're really proud for the team. It was Fred's and my first time at Mosport and we both worked together on the first practice days. We did some lead-follow and watched each other's video and used each other's data. It was a real team effort. It was great. [Team owner] Bob Faieta and Competition Motorsports were fantastic. The car was prepped really well and it was just great teamwork."
And what are CJ's thoughts now on Canadian Tire Motorsport Park after a win, a pole and a fourth-place result from his first visit to the track?
"I'm a lot more happy with the place now," he said. "It's fantastic. I really enjoy the track, it's fast, and now I feel comfortable through some of those fast turns. It's a really great track. It's cool."
Next up for CJ and the rest of the IMSA GT3 Challenge by Yokohama is a doubleheader at another legendary North American racing facility as the series heads to Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis. for the 2012 Road Race Showcase on the weekend of August 16-18.