100th start for Corvette's O'Connell
It’s more than appropriate to have Johnny O’Connell make his 100th start in the American Le Mans Series at Mosport International Raceway. Corvette Racing’s American star will make his 11th consecutive appearance at the Series’ lone Canadian stop, eager to add a record seventh victory to his Mosport résumé.
Next weekend’s Mobil 1 presents Grand Prix of Mosport will see O’Connell and Jan Magnussen shoot for their third straight class victory at the circuit – they won in GT1 in 2007 and 2008 – and again turn back the clock to their prototype days. They were teammates on the Panoz factory effort and won together at Mosport in 1999.
O’Connell also won with Canadian legend Ron Fellows in the Corvette from 2001 to 2003. It’s 99.9 percent likely, JO said, that he will qualify and start the Corvette.
“The place is really special,” said the native New Yorker but current Georgia resident. “The win in 1999 there was my first in the American Le Mans Series and also the first win for Panoz. The circuit is just awesome. It’s so fast and so challenging. It has an incredible rhythm and flow to it.”
But there’s an additional reason for O’Connell to rave about Mosport. Would you believe he’s practically a Canuck?
“A couple of years ago all the Corvette owners even made me an honorary Canadian!” O’Connell boasted. “They even had Ron there to see it! I had to answer 10 or 15 Canadian questions…what is on the flag, what is the Canadian dollar called, what are Canadian police called, what do you use a hockey stick for – opening a beer! - … It was a really fun time and great experience. The fans there really are the best.”
Along the same lines, Porsche can become the first manufacturer to win 100 Series races with a win at Mosport.
The next round of the American Le Mans Series is the Mobil 1 presents Grand Prix of Mosport at 3:05 p.m. ET on Sunday, August 30. The race will air live on SPEED. American Le Mans Radio presented by Porsche and Living Timing & Scoring will be available on Racehub at americanlemans.com. Live coverage also can be heard on Sirius 126 and XM 242. You can follow the Series on Twitter (almsnotes).
The race will also mark the eighth round of the 2009 MICHELIN® GREEN X® Challenge. Tickets are available at americanlemans.com and mosport.com.