Prototype Challenge Canadian Tire Motorsport Park Friday Notebook
Friday, July 7, 2017

Just northeast of Toronto is a winding stretch of road once described by a notable GT3 Cup Challenge driver, as tricky as facing “a monkey with a knife.”

Canadian Tire Motorsport Park proved Friday that it still lives up to Angel Benitez Jr.’s moniker and gave the IMSA Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda drivers a serious challenge as the 19-car field wound its way around the 3.957-km (2.459-mi), 10-Turn road course in two practice sessions to dial in their setups in preparation for a 20-minute qualifying session that takes place Saturday morning.

In the morning session, it was Colin Thompson in the No. 14 Kelly-Moss Road and Race entry that set the pace with the fastest lap of the day of one minute, 14.345 seconds in his Norma M30, just edging out rival Kenton Koch in his No. 8, P1 Motorsports Ligier JS P3 to put him at the top of the combined speed charts following the second practice.

Thompson continued to push the car throughout the morning session, running his fastest lap at the halfway mark, setting a benchmark for the remainder of the LMP3 class to challenge.

Not one to back down from a challenge, Koch continued to pour on the speed in the second practice session of the day. The two battled with decreasing lap times until Thompson went off-track and made contact with the wall on Lap 6, forcing him to end his run early. Koch battled on, running his fastest time of 1:14.437 on his very last lap of series practice, but it just wasn’t quick enough to out-pace Thompson.

The LMP3 Masters Championship category for drivers 45 years of age or older, was led by the Extreme Speed Motorsports pilot, Naj Husain, who ran a top combined time of 1:16.724 to keep his season championship expectations high. He currently leads the series points after Watkins Glen.

In the MPC category, running the nimble Elan DP02 entries formerly known as the Lites 1 cars, it was no surprise to see Kyle Masson once again set the standard in class competition.

The agility of the Elan chassis maintained pace with the LMP3 class and Masson ended both sessions in third position overall and first in class with a hot lap time of 1:15.753 which he set in the morning session.

Kris Wright, of JDC Motorsports was just behind Masson in the No. 7 MPC entry in very nearly a repeat performance of their race finish at Watkins Glen International in Round 2 to take fourth position overall in combined practice results. 

In an interesting twist, Michal Chlumecky of Eurosport Racing set the MPC Masters Championship pace in combined practice, and finished in fifth overall – putting three MPC cars in the overall top five results.

All IMSA Prototype Challenge drivers will start their day Saturday, July 8, with a 20-minute qualifying session from 10:40-11 a.m. to determine their grid positions for the first of two 45-minute races. Race one will take the green flag at 5:30 p.m. ET Saturday with race two Sunday, July 9, at 9:30 a.m. Both races will be streamed live on IMSA.tv. Live timing and scoring will be available on IMSA.com.

Delayed television coverage of the IMSA Prototype Challenge Races at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park as part of the Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix in conjunction with the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will be provided July 27, 2017, at 8 p.m. on Fox Sports 2 (FS2). The broadcast will also be available on YouTube 24 hours after it airs on television.

For more information on all IMSA competition - or to access IMSA Radio, which will have live streaming of both races - visit IMSA.com.

For more information about the IMSA Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda series, visit www.imsa.com, follow hashtag #IMSAPC @IMSA on Twitter or IMSA on Facebook.

Schedule (all times ET):

Qualifying: 10:40-11 a.m. Saturday, July 8

Race 1: 5:30-6:15 p.m. Saturday, July 8

Race 2: 9:30-10:15 a.m. Sunday, July 9

 

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