MOSPORT RECAP + NJMP LEAD-UP
By Trey Dusek
Good morning racers! We have now concluded our third race weekend of the VS2NA 2023 season and it was a very fast and very eventful weekend up in Bowmanville, Ontario. For those of you that were able to attend, you put on a spectacular show and it was great to spend time catching up after our long hiatus from the track. For those of you that were unable to make it to the event, be sure to put it on the calendar NOW for next year as it is a truly incredible race track and a great event put on by the VARAC. Your next opportunity to get on track with VS2NA will be at New Jersey Motorsports Park during the last weekend in July (28-30). Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this email to sign up and reserve your spot for more fast and fun racing!
Photo Credit: Joshua Eisen
MOSPORT WEEKEND RECAP
The weekend started out strong with four sessions to learn our way around the track. As many of our members had never raced at Mosport before, we all took our time finding turn in points and apex's that where hiding behind blind curves and drops of over 3 stories tall. There was no live timing on this test day which let us all focus on where we were going and not what the competition was doing. For those who had never raced at the track, this Thursday test day was mandatory as the learning curve at Mosport is steep, but it was worth it for all as it made for a more enjoyable and fast weekend! After a very busy day, everyone relaxed with live music and free burgers and sausages provided by VARAC.
Friday was scheduled to be another busy day with 3 sessions, a practice, a qualifying, and the first race of the event. The morning practice session went smoothly with no FCY's having to be thrown and everyone gearing up for the more important sessions to follow. Following lunch, qualifying rolled around, which again was a very clean, no FCY, 10 lap session which saw Ben Sinnott taking pole with a 1:24.277, followed by John Thompson, Brent Gernert, Henry Payne V, and Rob Sherwood to round out the top 5. WIth a little less than an hour between the qualifying checkered flag and the race 1 green flag, it was a busy paddock with people making adjustments to their cars, putting on sticker tires, and hopping back in the car to be sure make the false grid in time. With 20 cars taking the green flag for race 1, it was an eventful 16 lap race which saw Ben Sinnott take a comfortable win with a margin of 4.464 seconds back to Brent Gernert in P2. John Thompson rounded out the podium taking third place just 47 thousandths behind P2. The evening concluded with the VARAC annual award ceremony which provided more free food for participants and their crew, held in the Mosport timing and scoring building/tower.
Saturday was a 2 race day with the remainder of the grids being determined by your fastest lap from the previous race. The morning race saw 22 cars take the green flag but sadly no checkered flag as a single car incident saw the race prematurely ended after 13 laps due to a red flag. Ben Sinnott once more took the top spot of the podium as well as the fastest lap of the race followed by Brent Gernert and Rob Sherwood. John Thompson did not finish the race on the lead lap due to a mechanical issue but did get back on track after a quick fix to set the second fastest lap of the race and put him on the front row of the grid for the third race of the weekend. Race 3 was a 12 lap race that saw 19 cars take the green flag and a close finish with just 0.662 seconds separating P1 and P2 at the line. Ben Sinnott took the flag first for the third consecutive time this weekend, asserting his dominance over the field. John Thompson got back onto the podium after a disappointing race 2 due to his mechanical issue and Brent Gernert continued his podium streak rounding out the podium in 3rd. Once more, VARAC provided free barbecue to all with more live music to listen to and enjoy.
The final day of the weekend hosted the fourth and final race which saw Brent Gernert on pole and John Thompson rounding out the front row. Ben Sinnott started 3rd after having a slower race 3 lap time than the two ahead of him. It was a tight race that ended under safety car, but not after 11 hard laps of racing down the entire order. Brent Gernert led the entire race flag to flag with John Thompson slotting in P2 and Ben Sinnott finishing P3 while also setting the fastest lap of the weekend at a 1:23.121! All in all it was a fantastic weekend for everyone. It was a relatively clean weekend with only one 2 car incident within our group, and an event that is sure to be on the schedule again in the near future, if you were unable to join us this year.
NJMP THUNDERBOLT CIRCUIT INTRO
New Jersey Motorsports Park (NJMP) is a complex that is home to many of our club members. For those who have never been to NJMP, it is a two track complex with lots to offer its members and guests from purchasable garages and apartments, to dining services, axe throwing, paint balling and more. The two tracks, Thunderbolt and Lightning are both challenging in their own right and present different opportunities. Lightning is a smaller track more oriented towards track days and small club events that is known for is 180 degree banked turn onto the front straight, Thunderbolt, the track we will be racing on in a few weeks time, is a larger track more oriented towards larger racing organizations and professional level events offering great racing and spectating for all. Thunderbolt presents a unique challenge for all Sports 2000 chassis alike and will soon be getting a repave and additions to its layout. NJMP is near and dear to VS2NA's heart as club member Lee Brahin is one of the individuals who pioneered the creation of this great complex and treats all our members like family whenever we visit.
The lap starts out with a quick right hander with a curb best only to kiss. Don't get too greedy here as you don't want to drop a wheel over the narrow exit curbing and ruin your lap. Turn 2 is a right handed blind crest that is flat if done properly, but that said, not everyone will be flat here. Be sure to take your time building up speed here because the back half of the exit curbing here is not your friend. If you are lifting and/or braking at all, the application of power is well before you are able to see the exit curbing so be sure to have the nose pointed in the right direction to set yourself up for what's next. While I can't be certain of the track layout that FRP/SVRA will be going with for the weekend, I can give you my best guess based on last years event. There is an optional chicane between turns 2 and what would normally be 3 that they chose to run last year (as shown in the video below). If they choose not to run the chicane, all you need to know is keep your foot planted as much as possible, turn 3 is fast and fun, but if they choose to run the chicane, it is a bit more technical. Turn in is a very fast right hander but don't worry too much about slowing the car here as you can focus on that in between 3a and 3b. Nail your apex in 3b but whatever happens make sure you can get back to the left side of the track so you can be flat out through turn 3c.
The fun doesn't stop there, turn 4 is a very fast right hand kink that again should be flat, but don't expect it to be easy flat. Many will be lifting and/or braking here also, so work up to your own individual level and not that of others. The momentum of 4 will carry you to the left side of the track but you will want to hustle back over to the right and settle the car for the hardest braking zone of the lap into the left handed turn 5. Hit the apex of 5 and use a little bit of the curbing, be sure to get back on power as fast as your rear traction will let you. I might sound like a broken record, but if done properly turn 6 can be flat. Not every driver and/or car will be able to do this so work your way up to speed once more and slowly work your way off the brake pedal. Turn 7 is a short braking zone into a right hander that it is easy to carry too much speed into. Be careful using too much curbing here as it can push you wide with very little exit curbing to save you. That being said, the runoff all around Thunderbolt is very generous and it is a very easy track to build speed on!
Turn 8 is something you won't have to think about as your focus will be ahead into finding a turn in point for turn 9. There isn't much in the way of reference markers for turn 9 so find a bleacher or something that works for you out in the distance and stick with it. Turn 10 is a 200 degree long left hander that is the most important corner on the track. I would tell you what to do here but everyone has their own idea of what's best, and whatever feels best for you is what you should do. The only thing I can tell you about turn 10 is that you should be using the asphalt patch as a reference for your acceleration zone and the curbing adjacent to that patch to help rotate the car and set you up for the longest flat out section of the track. Turns 11 and 11a are easy flat. The only thing to be paying attention to here is cars slowing for pit-in as it comes right after 11a. Turn 12 is again a turn that should be flat, and while it is much more easily flat than 2, 4, and 6, it is still a turn to respect and build speed slowly.
That is a lap of NJMP Thunderbolt, and if you think it sounds exhilarating, just wait until you get out on track for the first time! Below is a video of a lap from club member Trey Dusek that might help those new to the circuit learn your way around. Also below is the tentative weekend schedule, so print it out or have it on your phone and let's go racing!
Video Credit: Trey Dusek
We hope that all of the members of the VS2NA Club find a venue that works for their schedule and will join in the challenge, fun, camaraderie and excitement of our racing events. Join now to be included in this seasons activities, it's never too late. The membership form can be found on our website under the Members tab (link at the bottom of this email). If you haven't yet, be sure to click the registration button below to sign up for our second event of the season with FRP at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Keep it clean and the track stays green!