MONTREAL, PQ, (JUNE 10, 2018) – The Grand Prix du Canada provided lots of excitement and some great racing for the team over the course of the weekend.
Britain West brought four cars to the event piloted by karting standout and rookie to F1600 racing Zachary Vanier of Garson, ON, Matt Gidman of Toronto, ON, popular Quebec racing legend Bertrand Godin of St. Hyacinthe, PQ and Jason Sharpe of Bolton, ON.
The team rolled into town on Thursday for setup and a track walk with Godin providing insight on the nuances of the technical circuit. Godin is a former winner of the event in Formula Atlantic.
Friday saw the start of on-track action with a late day 30-minute practice. Gidman had an unfortunate coming together with another competitor on the opening lap and the damage, as well as some aches and pains, would delay his debut until the Sunday morning race.
Saturday morning qualifying had Godin taking no time to shake the rust off and posting the 7th fastest time. Vanier was next with a 15th place time and Sharpe struggled with some brake issues and sat 19th.
Late the same day was race 1. Godin had some great battles with the lead pack and brought his Velec sponsored car home in 4th. Vanier drove his Technica Racing / Anmar Mygale to an impressive 12th place finish. Sharpe saw a rapid improvement in lap times and raced his way up to the 14th spot.
Sunday the team was met with sunny skies and lots of enthusiastic fans.
Godin lined up 7th, Sharpe 14th and Vanier 16th based on lap times from race 1. Gidman was feeling remarkably better and suited up to race his Fortress Racing Van Diemen for the first time on the weekend and would start from the back of the field.
The race was filled with action from the drop of the green flag. After a clean start the field of 31 cars steamed into the famous hairpin with two touching and sending the field scrambling. All of the BWM cars came through unscathed.
The entire team were making up spots simultaneously. The race was slowed for a safety car period lasting 4 laps when the cars of Archambault and Schraenen touched with two other competitors and slammed the outside wall hard on the front straightaway.
Vanier had his car stall during the safety car period and lost all of the positions he had gained during the race to that point. He fell to the rear of the field once he got it running again and had lots of work to do in a short period of time.
The green flag came out again for a few more laps of competition and the entire team were embroiled in multiple battles. Godin with his eyes set on a podium -Sharpe fighting hard for a top ten, Vanier with a masterful drive back through the field and Gidman making up spots as he gained experience on the tricky circuit.
Godin would cross the finish line in 5th, Sharpe in 11th, Vanier in 15th and Gidman in 17th. Great results and an amazing experience racing in front of thousands of passionate motorsport fans.
The cars have been loaded and are headed west on the 401 for next weekend’s popular VARAC Vintage Grand Prix at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Testing gets underway on Thursday followed by 3 days of action for the 36 F1600 cars entered.
Feature image by Francois Belley