BOWMANVILLE, Ont. (1 July 2019) – Whelen Engineering Racing looks to build on its solid record at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Sunday’s Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix.
Felipe Nasr and Pipo Derani will co-drive the red and white No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R in the two-hour, 40-minute race on the challenging 10-turn, 2.459-mile road course.
The team has finished on the podium in all four of its visits to the Canadian road course once known as Mosport Park, winning in both 2016 and 2017 while finishing second in 2015. Last year, Nasr co-drove with Eric Curran to a third-place finish after starting 12th, Nasr’s only race at the circuit.
“Canadian Tire Motorsport Park is one of the old-school tracks on our calendar,” Nasr said. “It has very fast, flowing corners that I really enjoy, especially in our DPis that really carry a lot of speed through the corners. Mosport is quite technical, as well. We have downhill braking for a double-right hander with very slow speed, where it’s important to get a nice exit for the last sector. I’m looking forward to it. I feel we have a good package all around for that track.”
The team is coming off a disappointing seventh-place finish in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen. Nasr lost several laps in the opening moments of the race when he punctured a tire and was stranded in a gravel trap, with the team battling the rest of the way to salvage a decent finish.
Whelen Engineering Racing heads to CTMP running second in the DPi standings, just one point out of the lead with four races remaining.
“At this point of the season, we have two races in a row, and that keeps everybody busy, sharp,” Nasr said. “It requires more from everybody; from the drivers, the engineers, and the mechanics, to be on top of everything.”
Nasr felt that last year’s result was a key to winning the WeatherTech Championship Prototype championship, Whelen Engineering Racing’s second title in three years.
“Every weekend counts,” Nasr said. “What I’ve learned from last year is sometimes we don’t have the winning car on our hands, but we had the right calls and the right decisions, and that helped us win the championship. I’m expecting nothing but the same this year, in terms of the team being on top of the calls and the strategies. That’s why we can make the difference in the races.”
Derani raced twice at CTMP with a different team, with his best result ninth in 2017.
“I think it is one of the fastest tracks that we have, and the fast that it’s one of the narrower tracks makes it even more of a ‘go-kart feeling’ for these type of cars,” Derani said. “Our cars are so quick, and they’re right on the limit of how fast you can go at a track like that.
“It’s a super-difficult track,” Derani continued. “You’re always on the limit, always on the edge. It’s really quick, especially with traffic, which makes it even harder on a small track. It’s a place where it’s great if you qualify up front, because it’s so difficult to pass. We want to be as consistent as possible and maximize our chances. We’re not sure if we’re going to be the quickest, but we’re sure that we’re going to do our best in the pits. We have the best team, and we can use that to our advantage at the tracks that don’t suit our car, and continue the fight for the championship.”
Sunday’s Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix will be televised live on NBC, starting at 1 p.m. ET.