Great Day 1 at Mosport Star Mazda Championship Practice Day

Great Day 1 at Mosport

Star Mazda Championship Practice Day

Round 9 of 12 of the Star Mazda Series is now under way at the Mosport International Raceway near Toronto, Canada.  Last week I gave you a glimpse at what the track is like to drive.  Today we drove for three 30 minute practice sessions with everyone present.  It was a great opportunity to drive in colder conditions, work in traffic, and experiment with lots of options on the track and with the car.  

In the first practice the early morning cold had the track very slippery.  We were all several seconds off the pace until like a light switch, grip returned, and drivers began to post their flying laps.  I found it to be quite fun going quicker, but nearly every lap had some traffic that ruined what might have been.  In practice, we don't worry about losing lap times as much, but you still would like that gauge of how you're doing.  We ended up 5th quick for Session 1.  Not bad at all, good momentum coming off Road America.

In the second session the track was warmer and grip was much better!  How then did we not go any faster?  Well, that's the soap opera that practice can be.  Again, traffic creates interesting scenarios limiting how many flyer laps you can do, along with the errors you make in trying to go faster, and a really old set of tires, its rarely perfect.  Again, we learned quite a bit and felt good about our run.  We were listed in 6th overall, with my rejuvenated teammate Ramiro Scuncio right there with me in 7th.

In the third session we somehow managed to squeak in the changes we wanted (thank you Remi!).  The car was very good, and my driving felt a bit erratic but aggressive.  I continued to experiment all around the track.  I bonded with my car better than I have in a while.  I was feeling the track, the tires became my hands.  It had become so satisfying that each time I caught and got held up by someone I wanted to fire a missile at their car and blow it into six thousand pieces.  I had to settle for passing, or slowing for a nice gap.  With all the commotion (and something about a bit of hot fiberglass), we somehow squeaked a lap that was good for 4th overall.  How was that possible?  I guess everyone else had bigger problems that us!  Either that or we're getting somewhere.

I'm feeling terrific.  Tomorrow we'll do two more practice sessions, then qualify Saturday morning, and race at 1:05 pm EASTERN time Saturday.  Wish us luck!

Special thanks to my Mentors.  Now more than ever, your help is making me stronger.  Thank you.

Big thanks also to my crew, including engineer Remi Lanteigne, lead mechanic Jim Desautel, data specialist Mike Reggio, and the rest of the staff who took the best care of me today allowing me to do my job in the cockpit.  Thanks guys.


© Gerardo Bonilla 2015