We've Got the Place to Race!
We’ve Got The Place To Race” has long been the motto of CASC-OR. But, how do you get started? Where can one learn to drive and race on a race track? One answer is quite simple – the CASC-OR’s Mobil 1 SoloSprint Championship Series Presented By PRN.
The Mobil 1 SoloSprint Championship Series consists of a total of nine events, run over five weekends. Events are held at the Mosport International Raceway, the Mosport Driver Development Centre, and Shannonville. Points from the best six events count for the Championship; trophies for overall, class, and novice winners will be presented at the CASC-OR Annual Awards Gala held in early November.
SoloSprint is widely regarded as the easiest way to start competing in motorsports – all you need is a car and a helmet, and with a relatively small outlay of money, you’ll be thrown into some fierce and fun competition that beats everything else in the dollars-to-smiles ratio.
Essentially, SoloSprint racing means a driver is out on the course alone, trying to put together the perfect lap without any traffic or other competitors to deal with. Think of it as Formula 1 qualifying, and the pole-sitter wins. It is the perfect way for people to get involved in motorsports without exposing their cars to the damage that can happen in a regular “fender-to-fender” race.
The track is where the ‘bull’ stops and the stopwatch rules. You have to have power, but you also have to be able to turn. The racing is one car at a time, and your best lap counts out of a day’s worth of runs.
SoloSprint allows everyone to ‘take it to the track’ to find out whether their RSX Type-S can really wax that Celica GT-S, whether the ‘Vette or the Porsche will be ‘king of the hill,’ whether the WRX really is a BMW-beater, and whether they have what it takes.
The classes are designed to let cars of similar performance compete against each other. V8 muscle cars run against turbocharged imports, sports sedans from Europe against domestic and Japanese challengers, swift little front-drivers against small roadsters.
SoloSprint caters to racers with many different levels of investment in terms of time and money. Someone new to the sport can pull up to an event in their daily driver, with no modifications made to the vehicle, compete for a day, and drive home afterward having only paid the $50 or so for the entry fee. It doesn’t have to be a provincial or regional event, as many local motorsport clubs will organize their own.
Conversely, some competitors will invest tens of thousands of dollars in upgrading their cars with innumerable performance parts, such as turbochargers, racing suspensions and brake kits, all in the quest to find a faster lap time.
The rules charge preparation points for different types of modifications, allowing you the freedom to choose which ones will make your car fastest. Pick your poison: will reworked camshafts and lifters work better than intake mods and a chip? Or will stiffer swaybars help more than either of them?
If you do modify your car, safety is encouraged by allowing the additional weight of a roll cage and extinguisher system to be offset with stripping out the interior. Or leave your car completely stock; lots do. Regardless, all cars must be inspected for safety at each event.
For those who really want to go fast, here’s a tip: tires rule. Good rubber will transform your car and allow it to live up to its potential. Many competitors bring along a set of race tires and change from their “streets” before every event.
To get involved, you first need to be a member of a CASC-OR affiliated car club. Secondly, you need to get a Competition License, Grade C, for which you’ll need your club membership card and $50. Then you’ll need a helmet (full face or open), with a Snell 2000M or higher rating.
After that, a Solo school should be first on anyone’s recommended “things-to-do” list. They help get new drivers used to being on the track in high-speed situations, and are a great way to start being competitive right away.
In 2009 the clubs organizing SoloSprint in Ontario are again organizing their two schools for high speed race track driving.
The first school took place on May 9th and 10th at Mosport’s Driver Development Track and the second school takes place on July 4 at Mosport International Raceway.
The schools are aimed at beginners as well as more experienced drivers. The time is spent equally in the classroom, skid pad and on the race track. Cornering, braking and handling exercises will teach the students the basics needed to drive safely at speed on any race track. This school is taken in the students own cars and can be enjoyed in anything from a high performance exotic down to a grocery getter.
- Basic seating and driving positions
- Car Balance and the Contact Patch
- How to determine the fastest line in a safe manner
- The Basics of High Speed Cornering
- Marshals and Flags
- Car preparation
- Driver preparation
- How to compete in SoloSprint competition event
- The goals of the CASC-OR Solosprint Schools are fourfold:
- Teach you performance driving in a safe environment;
- Help you practice safe car control on the track;
- Give you an opportunity to explore your car’s limits in a perfectly legal way;
- Give you an understanding of how a Solosprint competition event is run.
The exercise areas consist of driving through obstacle courses marked by pylons. Tight turns, wide turns and serpentine segments will challenge the student’s car control abilities. Very useful time is also spent on the skid pad.
The performance driving on the track is a graduated experience where you put the classroom knowledge to the test. By the end of the second day, each student is amazed by how well they have learned to control their car.
Some students just want to learn what they and their cars are capable of while others may be motivated to get into the low key and relatively low cost of SoloSprint time trial racing. SoloSprint time trials are a great way to get into competitive driving on a road circuit without all the investments of time and money required in wheel to wheel competition. There is nothing like the cold truth of the stopwatch to tell you if you are improving your driving skills.
For more information on SoloSprint and the CASC-OR’s Mobil 1 SoloSprint Championship Series Presented By PRN, go to the CASC-OR website, www.casc.on.ca and click on SoloSprints.