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CHAMPS' Cars: Paul Tracy hot on the wing of Sebastien Bourdais

2006 Molson Grand Prix of Toronto

By Robert Dysiewicz
Wheel Edge.com Magazine
(Editor's note: this marks the beginning of our partnership with Wheel Edge. We welcome them to our pages and wish them much success.)

Champ Car racing is for the people – Toronto welcomes the Molson Grand Prix. 

(right: CHAMPS' Cars: 2003 Champion Paul Tracy hot on the wing of defending Champ Sebastien Bourdais)

My hat’s off to the organizers of the Toronto Grand Prix.  The spectacle is not only… amazing, exciting, thrilling, on-the-edge-of-the-seat racing – but also incredibly well organized.  This is arguably one of the most exciting stops on the Champ Car tour.

The event offers something for everyone.  Racing fans, sport fans, the hip crowd, business community, young and old alike are assured a great time at the Indy (oops, the event is now called the Grand Prix).

Although TV rendition offers more complete coverage by blanketing the course with cameras, there is no substitute for the real deal – being there in person.

First, there is the sound.  The explosive nature of a race bred motor, the popping of blow-off valves and the shriek emitted at 14,000 rpm+ generates what can only be described as an audible orgasm.  Body, mind and spirit are treated to an instant shot of adrenaline thanks to a turbocharged, 2.65-litre (161 cubic inches) V-8 burning Methanol and delivering 750+ hp.  Vital statistics compare favorably with F1: 0-60 mph in 2.2 seconds, 0-100 mph in 4.2 seconds and a top speed in excess of 240 mph.

Scent is the second sense to receive a wake-up call.  As you get closer to track side action, the air becomes filled with unmistakable aroma of burning fuel and rubber.  They should really bottle the stuff – or at least make air fresheners out it…

The visual completes the picture – and how!!!  No TV camera or still photograph can accurately convey the sheer velocity of a Champ Car.  At full speed, so much air is displaced by the speeding mob of cars, that the sensation is felt deep within the body.  Corner entry and acceleration speeds border on unbelievable – as if someone pressed the fast forward button – zip, pop, zzzzoom and they’re gone!

I started this article by saying – ‘Champ Car racing is for the people’… well, there is a reason.

In addition to the reasons described above, the deal maker has to be the deliberate attempt by event organizers to make the spectacle fan friendly.  At this event, the fans are invited into team garages where cars, mechanics, managers and drivers all intermingle on the paddock.  Drivers can be seen cruising around on pit bikes (bicycles) handing out autographs and granting picture ops to anyone who asks. 

And if you find yourself at the event because your significant other dragged you out against your wishes – don’t worry.  The GP has something for everyone.  Demonstrations, games, concerts, food and booze guarantee to entertain even if the racing does not… people-watching alone is worth the price of admission!

As for the results, after an intense 86 laps sprinkled with some crashes (Katherine Legge, Jan Heylen, Nelson Philippe and Oriol Servia), great pit strategies and on-track bravado, A.J. Allmendinger (Team Forsythe) emerged victorious.  In second, Paul Tracy of Toronto gave the Forsythe Team a one-two finish.  Joining A.J. and Paul on the podium in third was the Frenchman Sebastien Bourdais (Newman/Hass Racing).

Excellent race, excellent event – until next year…

For more info on the race and on CHAMP Car racing, visit their web site here.

Wheel Edge.com Magazine


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