A LAP OF CTMP WITH MARC MILLER
Marc Miller spent many of his formative years competing North of the border in Canada. He has raced numerous times at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park or Mosport as it was when he first came here. Ironically, local boy, Danny Burkett, has never driven at the 2.459 mile track so we asked Marc to give us a corner-by-corner tour of this fantastic and historic circuit.
You cross the start/finish line and you probably won’t even downshift, maybe just a light brush of the brakes and early turn into Turn 1 which is extremely quick. It used to be even quicker because you could drive it right down to the wall although there is drainage there now and it can also be a little bit dusty and bumpy.
You have pick the throttle way earlier than you expect and then use every bit of the exit to set up for Turn 2 which is my favorite corner here. Turn 2 really separates the men from the boys. Atlantic cars used to do it flat at 140mph but sports sedans do not! You have to make sure you get the car settled and turn in a little bit early and almost shoot for the grass because when the car goes ‘full droop’ over the hill the suspension literally droops and you are praying the the tires make contact with the ground and give you some grip as you come down the hill. It used to be a lot scarier as it was all grass and dirt on the exit so if you dropped a wheel you were going on a wild 100 yard ride into a tire barrier. It’s all paved now so drivers can show a little bit more bravado as they crest the hill knowing they have that additional safety net. I still treat it like it has grass in the true spirit of the track although I may have to change that this weekend if I need an extra couple of tenths. If the car is good on landing, it doesn’t take much to go back to full throttle and you can get settled in for the run down to Turn 3.
The entry to Turn 3 requires a brake and a downshift, the turn goes slightly uphill so turn in has to be very precise but then as you crest the hill you begin to lose grip in the car so really you have to get your turning done before you get there in order to get maximum power down for the run to Turn 4.
Other than the Andretti straight, this is the longest straight on the track, it leads you to the flat downhill left-hander at Turn 4. Just like Turn 2 you have to wait for the car to compress at the bottom of the hill before you can start braking for Turn 5 A and B.
You have to try and ‘float’ the car around 5A gradually decelerate and then add more wheel to get that optimum angle out of 5B. It’s so important to get good power down, if you are carrying too much sped through the middle of 5B it will hurt your speed down the long Andretti Straight so really it’s all about timing and patience between the first and second parts of Turn 5.
The Andretti Straight has always been the most frustrating part of this great track as I have always been in an under powered car and that won’t change much this weekend with the Cayman compared to some of our competitors in the GS Class. However, nailing the exit of Turn 5 will alleviate some of that and maximize the rest of the time on the flat out .75 mile run up to T8. The key is placing the car and having it in the right location for the entry to Turn 8.
This an extremely fast fifth or maybe top of fourth gear corner. Again you try and settle the car and turn in a little early to keep as much speed as possible as you follow the apex curbing for as long as you can to help you get a good run into Turn 9.
Turn 9 is a corner that you can kind of give up a little bit on entry because it is all about placement you want to get a good run out of 10 and onto the front straightaway as that will really dictate how good your next lap is going to be. If you are defending in Turn 9 there are a lot of things you can do to make sure you avoid getting the ‘Chrome Horn’ into 10, something that happens quite often here especially in stock car and sportscar racing. So you need to protect yourself through nine and have a lot of awareness of where your competitors are going to be. If you are running by yourself through Turn 9 you will trying to avoid over driving so that your entry and exit from Turn 10 are perfect. What little you may sacrifice in 9 will be more than made up for what you can gain coming out of Turn 10.
That leads you back onto the front straightaway and if you have not used every single inch of the curbing on the exit then you have definitely left some on the table but if you have used every bit of the curb as you exit then you will have a strong run down to the checkered flag.