Rick Mayer's inside track on Mosport As he has all season, Risi Competizione technical manager Rick Mayer offers his unique insight as to what it takes to be successful on the various venues in the American Le Mans Series. In advance of this weekend’s Mobil 1 presents the Grand Prix of Mosport, Mayer talks about the keys to being successful at Mosport International Raceway, one of the fastest tracks on the schedule.
“Mosport is a 2.46-mile track (a quick lap was 1:18 for GT2 in 2006) with mostly high-speed corners. It was bumpy before the repave four years ago; the current surface is more undulating then bumpy as the pavement was put over the existing surface without any track grinding.
“The grip varies through the corner as you go from asphalt to concrete apex patches and back to asphalt. This makes the high-grip line different then the geometrical ideal line. When these conditions are compounded with rain, the line for grip changes once again.
“Last year we saw 260 Kph (160 mph) on the uphill backstraight and it should be the same this year. Curbs don’t really come into play here as they’re not very usable; this may change as our damper package has improved this year. You don’t want to go off track here as there isn’t a lot of runoff for the speed of the corners; if you go off track the car is usually damaged.”
“With the long straight being important, you would like to run low downforce but you lose so much on the other sections it ends up being a quicker lap with a higher downforce setup. Saying that, you still need to be conscious of straight-line speed. If the Porsches have straight speed on us we’ll have to consider reducing downforce to reduce drag.
“The mainly fast corners, and little requirement for low speed power down, suit a stiffer setup (anti-roll bars and springs). A stiffer setup gets you in, through and off the faster corners better by maintaining the down force more constantly. A stiffer setup allows you to run the car low without damaging the floors from touching around the track. Damper work will help on the undulating bumps and entrance and exit platform stability, but dampers aren’t as important as they will be at bumpy street circuits.
“Mosport is the easiest track on brakes that we go to. We’ll run a lot of brake blocking here to keep temperature in them; the brakes generally “over cool” here; there are no hard braking zones. This track isn’t nice in the rain and we’ll have to sort a wet setup as for sure it will rain in testing and there’s a chance of rain for the race.”
“None of the Risi Competizione drivers have been here, and most of the top GT2 drivers have. We have a test day on Tuesday and all the drivers should be well up to speed before the event testing starts on Friday, assuming it’s dry on Tuesday.
The Porsches and the Panoz should have a straight speed advantage here, especially the Panoz. But this didn’t hinder the Ferraris at Road America where top speed was at a higher premium. But at Mosport, the long high-speed corners certainly favor the Ferrari. Risi was 1st and 2nd here at last year’s race; let’s hope, this time, history repeats.”