Bowmanville, ON (June 16, 2019) – The annual VARAC Vintage Grand Prix is one of the teams favourite events on the calendar each season. It always draws great crowds, interesting vehicles from all over the world and the Toyo Tires F1600 Championship series is always a fan favourite.
Britain West brought 3 cars to the event for Zachary Vanier, Matt Gidman and Jason Sharpe. Vanier has a string of podium finishes to his credit in both the Ontario and Quebec championships and Gidman has been improving rapidly and is looking for a breakout weekend to make his mark on the series.
The Thursday test day was a bit of a washout with heavy rain and cold conditions. Two practice sessions on the Friday set the stage for an early morning qualifying session that would see the track start wet but rapidly dry over the course of the 20 minutes.
Zachary Vanier would start race 1 in 4th, Gidman in 14th and Sharpe in 18th.
In race 1 Vanier battled hard with the lead pack but took several laps to get clear and into 2nd place. By the time he did eventual race winner Olivier Bedard had broken the draft and cruised to victory. Vanier came home in 2nd place.
Gidman had gearbox trouble right from the start and was forced to retire. Sharpe had a good mid pack battle with several cars and crossed the line 16th.
The weather finally turned for the better and race 2 was run under bright sunny skies on Sunday morning. Vanier had work to do in order to get to the front of the pack again and crossed the line 2.6 seconds behind winner Bedard after a lengthy safety car period.
Gidman had a stellar run from the back of the pack, making up 20 spots, and eventually finishing in 11th position and earning the hard charger award in the process.
Sharpe had a good battle with again with several competitors and brought his car home in 16th place.
Race 3 got off to a bit of a rough start with 2 separate crashes happening on the opening lap and forcing officials to throw the red flag for a lengthy re-gridding procedure.
On the restart Vanier was able to stay with Bedard, not allowing him to break away and setting the stage for a late race duel between the two competitors. Vanier spent the last 4 laps giving Bedard fits as he attempted passes in several corners, several times a lap. Bedard would hold on with Vanier crossing the line in 2nd, just .17 seconds behind.
The story of the race however was Matt Gidman. After a solid morning race Gidman was on fire for race 3, passing another 6 cars from his starting spot and finishing in 6th position.
Sharpe struggled with his car somewhat and although he did get a good restart, a spin in corner 5 dropped him to the back of the field and force him to pass several cars to eventually finish in 16th position. Not the weekend he wanted but he will back at some point this season.
Next up for the team is Shannonville Motorsport Park in 2 weeks for the next 3 rounds of the Toyo Tires F1600 Championship…make sure to follow along on Instagram and Facebook.