Fellows out for one more Mosport memory
No other name in Canada is more synonymous with excellence in sports car racing than Ron Fellows. That is especially true at Mosport International Raceway, Fellows’ home track and site of this weekend’s Mobil 1 presents the Grand Prix of Mosport for the American Le Mans Series. A three-time GT1 champion, Fellows will make his final Mosport start with the factory Corvette Racing squad by teaming with Andy Pilgrim in an arctic-white Corvette C6.R, a mirror image of the Ron Fellows signature edition Corvette Z06. Fellows took time to reflect on the emotions of the weekend and his feelings on Mosport.
Question: Were you surprised to see the Ron Fellows Signature Edition Corvette rolled onto the grid for Sebring?
Answer: “It’s a huge honor to have Chevrolet and Corvette do a special edition in my name to commemorate the Corvette championships and the history that I have as well as the legacy that is Corvette Racing. They did a limited number – 399 Corvette Z06s – and they’re all sold, which is very cool. I am going to get, once it’s finished touring around, serial number 001 so I’m pleased about that obviously. To have the guys do the race car up on raceday in the white with red stripes was pretty emotional but very cool. A lot of what this is about is the success that Corvette Racing has had and I just happen to be the guy who has been around the longest. The team has done a tremendous job in helping me to be a part of the championships. It’s a huge honor for me and my family to have a limited edition Corvette named after yours truly!”
Q: What led you to Mosport and obviously such a stellar sports car career?
A: “Mosport is the track I grew up learning how to race on. My first exposure to a live car race was the Canadian Grand Prix in 1969. My brother and I - I think we were 8, 9 or 10 at the time - saw the Formula 1 cars, the Formula 1600s and a sedan race. That was it and I was bitten by the bug. So there’s a lot of history for me at Mosport. Harvey Hudes, the former owner who has now passed on, provided me with some really sound advice and steered me in the direction of sports car racing. It obviously was very good advice!
It’s an awesome track. I don’t think there is a driver who says ‘I don’t like going to Mosport’ because it’s a driver’s track. With the elevation and the fast corners, they don’t make them like this any more. This certainly is a special place for me.”
Q: Is there a part of the track that still blows you away after all these years?
A: “Probably the most difficult section to get right consistently is Turn 4 and Turn 5. Turn 4 is just about flat in top gear with the Corvette and you’re upward of 160 mph down the hill. Then it’s abruptly uphill and two slow 90 degree right-hand turns. Niki Laudia always called it the most challenging section and most interesting. Certainly it’s a lot of fun when you get it right but you really have to be on your toes because you’re carrying so much speed going down the hill. And then as you climb the hill you get down on the brakes and down a couple of gears to 5A. Then 5B is the slowest corner at the track probably at 55 mph and then on up the Andretti Straight. It’s a section that is a lot of fun and really difficult to get right all the time.”
Q: Why has the American Le Mans Series gained such a following at Mosport and in Canada?
A: “Sports car racing roots in Canada go back when they first opened the track in the early 1960s; the first race they had - the Players 200 - was a sports car race. So the roots are deep at Mosport and it transfers from one generation to the next in terms of the spectators. Canadians in general always have been very passionate about car racing. Mosport has a rich history and that has a lot to do with it. They are very appreciative of the quality of the cars, the quality of the drivers and the quality of the show. And that’s what the Series brings to any circuit and certainly Mosport.”
Q: Do you and Andy have what it takes to beat the two other Corvettes on Sunday?
A: “We’re going to try. We wouldn’t be here otherwise. It’s going to be a tall order. We’ll go out there and have some fun, do the best we can and see what happens. The strategy with three Corvettes and two pit crews is going to make it a little bit tricky but I know the guys will do a great job for us. It just depends on track position as to which crew will do the stop for the 33 car. I’m just looking forward to having some fun, and we’re running the Cadillac as well.
“I know Andy is looking forward to it; he hasn’t driven the Corvette much. I think he’ll find the C6.R to be an awfully impressive piece. Really the last time he raced was with the C5. He did a little testing with the C6.R this is the first time he’s had to race the C6.R. It’s just night and day from the C5 days.” ALMS PR