On a very cold, wet and even snowy Saturday at the Canadian Tire Motorsports Park Driver Development Track, three lucky go-kart racers took advantage of the opportunity to trade in their go-kart for a day in professional F1600 race car as part of the CASC Karts to Cars program with support from Move Motorsports Management.
Club racers Dan Bender, Taegen Poles and Chase Hanchar were all ecstatic to drive a the F1600 race cars, even given the weather.
Especially Taegen Poles, who was jumping back into a race car after completing her first outing not too long ago. “Having just come off completing the Bridgestone Racing Academy, I was ecstatic to get the chance to get back in a car and test out everything I’d learned. I’d really missed racing since the karting season ended, and I couldn’t wait to get in the cockpit and do what I love the most…despite the snow and subzero temperatures!”
Under the guidance of Canadian F1600 powerhouse teams Brian Graham Racing and Britain West Motorsports, plus series race winning drivers Zacharie Robichon and Chase Pelletier, all three drivers were given a true test experience of getting up to speed in a race car.
Drivers were given demonstration laps in a road car first, driven by Robichon to get accustomed to the tricky new layout of the CTMP Driver Development Track. With snow falling and visibility low the extreme circumstances created an even more unique opportunity for the three lucky drivers.
Getting their first taste of action following lunch, Poles was strapped into a Brian Graham Racing Piper while Hanchar and Bender jumped into Britain West prepared Van Diemens. While the snow let up, rain continued to fall all afternoon really challenging the drivers. After a handful of sessions on track with debriefing and tips from both teams, all three drivers completed their running full of smiles and excitement.
“It was just a fantastic feeling,” exclaimed Chase Hanchar as he recaps his opportunity with CKN. “No video game simulator could compare to the real thing! It was amazing to compare the car to my go kart. To drive a car for the first time at the famous CTMP was a dream come true, I never wanted to come into the pits! It was a fantastic opportunity and one that I will never forget.”
Hanchar couldn’t have summed it up any better as all three drivers will remember this opportunity for the rest of their lives. Upon returning to the CTMP hospitality area both Bender and Hanchar shrugged off the cold and wet to show their pleasure of the opportunity while Poles took advantage of every minute to chat with BGR team and learn as much as she could about the F1600 machine.
Also on track for the day were fellow go-karters Roman DeAngelis and Elvis Stojko. Both drivers tested F1600 cars for the first time in their careers and helped offer a little feedback to the three CASC award winners. Getting on track early in the day, DeAngelis recalls driving in heavy snow with very little visibility, but he too relished in the chance to drive a race car for the first time.
Dan Bender summed up his experience to CKN saying “I had an amazing time in the Britain West Honda powered F1600 car. The entire crew was very helpful, while I tried to discover the limits of the car in the conditions we were experiencing. By the final session after some brake bias adjustments I was feeling a lot more comfortable in the car and was able to pick up the pace. It was an amazing experience that I’ll never forget. I would like to send a huge thank you to David Clubine and Gord Ross of Britain West, CASC, Jason Sharpe and Diane Dale of Move Motorsports, Chase Pelletier and Zacharie Robichon for donating their time and experience, and everyone else who made this Karts to Cars day a reality. It’s easy to see why the Toyo Tires F1600 Series is growing so fast.”
In addition to the test, all three of the karters took the opportunity to curiously have a sneak at the current upgrades of the CTMP Karting Centre. Construction crews have been on site for the past couple of weeks to give the track and paddock a facelift. The track will provide some excellent new opportunities in 2015 with the upgrades all looking very positive for the facility.
CASC Karts to Cars organizers Jason Sharpe and Diane Dale of Move Motorsports are greatly thanked for helping provide this opportunity to these three go-kart racers. It truly was a once in a lifetime chance for these racers who will be talking about this day with their friends and families for many weeks to come.