Continuing the theme in a year of firsts, the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship makes its first trip North of the Border for this weekend’s Mobil 1 Sportscar Grand Prix at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. (Sunday, 2 p.m. ET, Live! FOX Sports 1)
The historic 2.459-mile, 10-turn circuit, formerly known as Mosport, plays host to three of the four classes, with Prototype Challenge competitors taking another week off. However, the eighth round of the season still sees a 40-car grid between the Prototype, GT Le Mans and GT Daytona classes.
Following last month’s thrilling conclusion to the Sahlen’s Six Hour of The Glen, all eyes will again be on the battle for the overall win, including the much talked about Balance of Performance between DP and P2 cars.
Spirit of Daytona Racing’s Richard Westbrook and Michael Valiante broke through for their first victory of the season at The Glen, but it didn’t come without controversy, as Westbrook’s Corvette DP out powered the then race-leading OAK Racing Morgan-Nissan of Alex Brundle for the win on the second to last restart.
No performance adjustments have been made to either the P2 cars, which have been at a power deficit, or the Corvette DP for this weekend, although the Ford EcoBoost-powered Riley DPs will benefit from a slight power increase and adjustment in turbo boost pressures.
Will it be a P2 car or a DP that comes out on top on Sunday? That’s the question on everyone’s mind in the 12-car P class field. With the tubeframed DP cars not having raced at CTMP before, which had played host to the American Le Mans Series from 1999-2013, it could put a slight advantage in the P2’s favor.
Brothers Ricky and Jordan Taylor have maintained their lead in the championship but sit only three points back from Action Express Racing’s Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi, with Westbrook and Valiante climbing to third following their win in New York.
While it’s currently a Corvette DP stranglehold in the points chase, OAK Racing’s Gustavo Yacaman isn’t completely out of it, as the Colombian sits 15 points back in fourth. He’s rejoined this weekend by team veteran Olivier Pla at the wheel of the French squad’s Morgan-Nissan.
Fellow P2 outfit Extreme Speed Motorsports, meanwhile, will be looking to rebound following a disastrous race at The Glen that was plagued with mechanical issues and contact, while the same could be said for the Chip Ganassi Racing pairing of Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas, who sit an uncharacteristic 5th in the standings.
Corvette Racing is flying high in GTLM, following the third consecutive class victory for Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia. The co-drivers of the No. 4 Corvette C7.R have taken over the lead in the title race as a result, aided by a challenging outing for the No. 55 BMW Team RLL duo of Bill Auberlen and Andy Priaulx.
While Corvette and the first-year Porsche North America outfit have swept all races to date, CTMP could be the place for BMW or the newly re-badged Dodge Viper GTS-Rs to break through.
The pair of red and white-liveried Vipers are fresh off a double podium finish at The Glen, in what undoubtedly came as a turnaround race for the Bill Riley-led squad.
A total of 18 GTD cars, meanwhile, are listed to take part. It’s one fewer than expected following the withdrawal of NGT Motorsport, which has parked its MOMO-sponsored Porsche 911 GT America for the remainder of the season, except for the Circuit of The Americas round.
Consistency, and another podium finish, has seen AIM Autosport’s Townsend Bell and Bill Sweedler continue to lead the championship, with the Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 pairing now holding a seven-point advantage over the second-placed Andy Lally and John Potter.
Alex Job Racing’s Leh Keen and Cooper MacNeil sit third, and realistically one of the only other teams that could take the fight to the AIM or Magnus squads in the second half of the season.
TUDOR Championship track activity gets underway on Friday, with final practice and qualifying set for Saturday afternoon. The Mobil 1 Sportscar Grand Prix takes the green flag Sunday, with live coverage on FOX Sports 1 beginning at 2 p.m. ET.