Time to Take the Wheel

on .

CASC-OR Lays Out a Path to Go Racing

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We are often asked “How does one get into this?” The question, of course, refers to motorsport and, in particular, road racing. Over the next two issues of PRN we will try to get you up to speed and give you the ABCs on how to get started and what types of cars and opportunities are available to you. The Canadian Automobile Sports Clubs (CASC) provides oversight for Club racing in Ontario and is responsible for everything from Drivers’ Schools to the sanctioning of Race Events. A typical season will start with a Drivers’ School in April (with a second school in June). This two day event is a prerequisite for obtaining a race licence. Instructors are typically paired with two students, and while one receives classroom instruction the second is on track with an instructor, ensuring maximum one-on-one coaching. So what do you need to take the school? A two-seater manual shift car, an approved helmet and some comfortable shoes - that’s it.

The month of April also has the first organized test (practices). “Spring Fling” gives competitors the opportunity to shake off the cobwebs after a long winter. Like the CASC Race School, Spring Fling is held at Shannonville Motorsport Park near Belleville, Ontario. The technical nature of this circuit makes it ideal for both driver training and testing. A typical race season consists of eight Regional Events organized by the various automobile clubs and held at venues like Mosport International Raceway, Shannonville Motorsports Park and Calabogie Motorsport Park. Not all race groups attend all eight events -- some race only six weekends and others drop some regionals in order to attend pro events. In part one of the series, we take a look at open-wheel cars also known as purpose-built race cars, classes which have been a favourite of long-standing regional competitors, but are also recognized as the jumping-off point for the budding professional.

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Formula 1200 (formally known as Formula Vee) is a signal seater car utilizing many components along with an engine from the lovable Volkswagen beetle. The original concept dates back to the late 1950s and has been recognized globally (Canada, USA, Europe, and Australia, to name a few) as a legitimate formula. Married to a purpose-built space frame chassis, the combination of old and new makes for a potent race car while keeping costs down. While the formula’s horsepower figures are somewhat modest (57hp), don’t be fooled -- these race cars can attain speeds well over 100 mph and can pull 1.5 g’s during cornering. Racecraft is the all important key to success, and multiple lead changes are commonplace, with drafting the rule rather than the exception. Arrive and drive rental programs are available, with pricing for new cars in the $10,000 range and pricing for used cars starting at around $7,000.

In 1967, Formula Ford was launched in the UK and has proven to be the starting point for many a budding professional, and the Ontario- based OFFC (Ontario Formula Ford Championship) is no different. 2010 Formula Mazda Champion Conor Daly and American Le Mans Series LMPC frontrunner Kyle Marcelli are both graduates of the OFFC. Like the Villeneuves Tracys and Goodyears before them, both are using this iconic formula as a foundation to build a professional career. Catering not only to the young aspirant, the core group of OFFC Drivers are made up of club racers who year after year never seem to tire of the cut and thrust nature of this formula. The Ontario series is split in two classes: “A” for cars 1995 and newer and “B” for 1994 and older cars. Getting started in Class B can be achieved for about $10,000-$15,000 with Class A cars running in the region of $25,000-$40,000. Speciality race shops can handle your every need from replacement parts to full rental rides. As with F1200, the racing is fierce with the emphasis placed on racecraft and set up. It is not uncommon for the race winners to be decided on the last lap. New for 2011 is the Team Canada Scholarship, which provides an opportunity for one talented individual to compete in the seasons’ end prestigious Formula Ford Festival in England, which is renowned as a showcase for new talent.

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The third group we are going to look at is Formula Libre, a bit of a catch-all class for purpose-built race cars. The class structure is based on three groups: Wings and Slicks, Sports Racers, and Other. Wings and Slicks cover all open wheel cars with aerodynamic aids and sticky slick tires; this group also includes the long- standing Formula 4 (F4) class. Based on a 750cc motorcycle engine and weighing only 850 lbs. F4 delivers a big bang from such a small package and, as most of the cars are home-built, the formula is a tinkerers dream. With Professional race series constantly reworking their technical regulations, seemingly obsolete cars are finding their way into the Wings and Slicks category of Libre. These redundant vehicles can be purchased for well under the current market value and are proving to be ultra-competitive. Resembling scaled down Le Mans Prototypes, Sports Racers are the fastest growing category in Libre. These full-bodied single or two-seater prototypes produce a large amount of aerodynamic downforce and it is not uncommon to see them battling with an open-wheel winged formula car for overall positions. As the name implies, “Other” rounds out the Libre grid, and offers a place for everyone else to run, including the recently formed Formula Classic. Cars built from 1971 to 1981 form the core of the Formula Classic grid, and must run in their original configuration. Although driven with as much verve as the rest of the Libre cars, Classics adhere to a tough driver conduct rule, as many of these cars are irreplaceable museum pieces.

Contacts:

www.casc.on.ca
www.formula1200.com
www.offcseries.com
www.formula-libre.ca
www.formulafour.com
www.varac.ca

2011 CASC-OR Regional Autoslalom Schedule

Sun Apr 10 
Open house/Registration     
Newmarket, ON (CSC Racing)
Sat Apr 30 2011 Autoslalom School Day 1 hosted by SPDA Brampton, ON (Powerade Centre)
Sun May 1  
2011 Autoslalom School Day 2 hosted by SPDA Brampton, ON (Powerade Centre)
Sat May 7   
Event#1 hosted by OMSC Mosport, ON (DDT)
Sat May 28
Event#2 hosted by SPDA Picton, ON (Airport)
Sun May 29 Event#3 hosted by St. Lac Picton, ON (Airport)
Sun Jun 12
Event#4 hosted by TLMC Barrie, ON (Molson Centre)
Sun Jul 17 Event#5 hosted by PMSC    
Peterborough, ON (Kawartha Downs Speedway Oval)
Sun Aug 7  
Event#6 hosted by HADA Brampton, ON (Powerade Centre)
Sat Sep 18
Event#7 hosted by TLMC Barrie, ON (Molson Centre)


2011 CASC-OR Time Attack Schedule

Sat Apr 9 Instructor School DDT 
Mosport
Director
Sun Apr 10
Open House  
CSC Racing HADA
Sat May 14 School #1 DDT     
Mosport
OMSC
Sun May 15
School cont’d DDT   
Mosport 
SPDA
Sat June 4 Event #1 DDT Mosport OMSC
Sun June 5 Event #2 DDT 
Mosport OMSC
Sat June 18 Event #3 SMP – Nelson Shannonville HADA
Sun June 19 Event #4 SMP – Pro Shannonville HADA
Sat July 9 School #2 MIR 
Mosport  
TAC
Sun July 10 Event #5 MIR  
Mosport 
TAC
Fri Aug 26 
Lapping MIR Mosport SPDA
Sat Aug 27 Event #6 MIR
Mosport
SPDA
Sun Aug 28 
Event #7 MIR
Mosport SPDA
Sat Sept 10 Event #8 SMP FABI Shannonville TAC
Sun Sept 11
Event #9 SMP Long Track 
Shannonville
TAC

All dates are tentative and subject to change.

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