BOWMANVILLE, ON, (JUNE 17, 2018) – The VARAC Vintage Grand Prix is always one of the most popular events on the Toyo Tires F1600 calendar and this year’s was no exception.
35 cars rolled in to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park for the Father’s Day weekend classic enjoying amazing weather, large enthusiastic crowds and some intense on-track action.
Britain West brought five cars piloted by karting standout and rookie to F1600 racing Zachary Vanier of Garson, ON, Matt Gidman of Toronto, ON, Hanna Zellers of Granger, IN, Ross Drybrough of Worthing, UK and Jason Sharpe of Bolton, ON.
With so many classes of cars competing the team rolled into town on Wednesday for setup and in preparation of 4 sessions of testing on Thursday. The extra track time was extremely helpful to Drybrough and Zellers as they had to learn new cars as well as the fast CTMP track.
An early Saturday morning qualifying had Vanier the fastest on the team posting a time good enough for 5th on the grid. Gidman was next up with a time fast enough for 14th, Sharpe 15th, Zellers 16th and Drybrough rolling off 17th.
Late the same day was race 1. Vanier was strong all day long battling in the lead pack and bringing his car home in an impressive 4th place. Sharpe had a very impressive drive back up through the field and rolled across the line 9th, followed by Drybrough in 11th and Zellers in 14th. Gidman was forced to retire after only a handful of laps with numbing in his arm. Likely a lingering result of his crash a week previously in Montreal.
Sunday was Father’s Day and we were lucky to have both Vanier’s and Gidman’s Dad’s in attendance for the event.
Race 2 was eventful with one full course caution period for several on-track incidents. By the time it was all over Vanier had himself another 4th place finish and was knocking on the door with the lead pack all race long. Drybrough had a great run up into 9th followed by Sharpe, struggling with the handling of his car coming to the line 11th. Zellers finished 12th and Gidman tested his arm all race long and did all the laps, finishing 15th from the back of the grid.
The final race of the day was another eventful one. Vanier once again proved he is ready to run consistently at the front and powered to yet another 4th place finish. Drybrough had an incredible run going inside the top ten up to the last lap when he was forced to take evasive action for a slowing competitor on the exit of corner one. He lost control of the car and slammed hard into the wall on the inside of the exit of the corner. He was unhurt but the damage forced him to retire. He would be one lap down at the finish and was scored 16th.
Sharpe was looking for a good run but on lap 3 started to lose power due to a drop in fuel pressure. It became progressively worse and he limped the car home to a 12th place finish. Gidman was next across the line in 13th followed by Zellers in 15th.
There’s a little break before the team’s next event at Shannonville Motorsport Park July 6-8., marking the halfway point of the Toyo Tires F1600 Championship season.