24 June 2007
I thought Watkins Glen separated the men from the boys. Mosport makes Watkins Glen look sane. Most of the turns seem to have been designed by the Marquis de Sade. Off camber downhill blind corners. A lot of them.
Here’s a blow-by-blow. It’s worse than it sounds. A lot worse. Starting with Turn One off the front straight you slice across the track right to left and drop down a hill that lightens Peyote’s front end so much it feels like I have power steering. You’re dropping towards a corner that you can’t see the apex or even the midpoint of. Of course, it’s off-camber. Why wouldn’t it be? They tell me it’s possible to do it flat out in fourth, and I think that’s true, but I’d have to go back to the trailer for a third testicle. You exit the apex in a bumpy drift across a wide concrete repair patch with substantially less grip, slide out to the gator bumps with the throttle buried, gather up the car, and what’s left of your composure and head towards the blank cliff called turn two.
You can’t see ANY of the turn at the entrance–just a hill crest with a lot of rubber streaks on it. You come into it right of center (clearly marked by the tire streaks), drop over the brow, and aim for an apex about halfway down the hill. Make that properly and the car starts sliding away to the right in the off-camber steeply downhill section that lightens up the front end and compromises your steering. You drift out, point the car at the second apex and its wide repair strip, and hang on. Turn in too soon and you’ll run out of track briskly. Do it just right and you end up in the gator bumps and make it back to the black stuff just before the bumps end.
You let the car keep swinging so the nose points left to the entrance of third. Incidentally, you really haven’t used the brakes at all so far–just little chicken stabs to make you feel better. If you try to brake as you head down the hills in the off-camber turns you’ll be dragged way offline and probably won’t make it back.
Turn three is a right-hander with a decreasing radius, and of course, it’s blind and has a big repair strip you need to negotiate. It’s also flat out in fourth, though you do get to brake a bit before turning in.
Turn four is a downhill swoop that’s unbelievably steep and it twists left as you drop. You don’t brake at all heading into it, and the wide base makes it safe (SAFE!?!) to go through it flat out, but the pucker factor is simply amazing as your car gets pulled offline and seems to be headed directly at a grove of big, firm trees. Nope, amazing isn’t the right word. I’m not sure what is. You’re less than halfway around the track, and you’re scared spitless.
As you exit four there’s a short straight that you brake hard on once the car quits sliding right. It’s a very short chute. Five A and Five B are tight right turns with an uphill run into 5A that is steep as a cow’s face. I tried a bit less braking on one lap because I figured the steep ramp would pull the car down enough. I got airborne and wound up going backwards off 5A, so I didn’t do that again. You shift down two gears to second, drift through 5a and punch the throttle for a second, then lift and turn into 5B. You slide all the way through this turn, sawing the wheel and getting as much power down as you can because you’re exiting onto a long uphill straight.
Turn Six and Seven aren’t really turns at all for a car with a weenie little motor like Peyote. I get up to about 120 MPH at the end, which is, of course, a steep uphill crest that you can’t see beyond. There are lots of skid marks on the crest, but I have to sail right over it, flat out, brush the brakes for luck and turn in to eight at full throttle. It’s a wide corner that looks tight but isn’t, I go all the way through flat out in fourth. Of course, you have to get the line just right or you’ll hit the wall. Someone didn’t yesterday, and he’s in the hospital, though it looks like he’s okay. His car is an expensive cube of wadded F1 hardware.
After eight I lift, blip and downshift to third, get back into the gas to settle the rear end and push into nine, a thoroughly unforgiving, decreasing radius, but puzzlingly fast corner. Then a short chute to the hard right-hander of turn ten, which empties onto the straight.
It’s exciting all the time. My heart is pounding just writing about it. No rest, no letup, no room for error or concentration lapses. Zero, none, nada, no respite.
I’m doing a decent time, but it’s just the car. I haven’t done a single turn with any kind of skill or consistency in the three days I’ve been here. In many ways, this is the most difficult track I’ve ever been on. They race motorcycles here. That’s just crazy. I wouldn’t think of riding a bike here.
More on the art and culture of the area next time. Very funny place. I like these Canadians, but they sure have funny ideas about race tracks.
There was a nutball Canadian with a car called “The Filson Falcon” that looked like the big brother of Peyote. I think it had a straight 6 in it but it might have been V8. It was quick as hell in the straights, a bit of a handful in the turns, and the guy drove the wheels off it. I had a blast racing with him and I kept having the strange feeling I was looking at my own car. An out of racecar experience? Why do you think they call it Peyote.
ONE RESPONSE TO “HOLY MOSPORT.”
June 25th, 2007 at 4:24 am e
Glad you enjoyed Mosport.
Spent some time talking with your Mrs. (Ms?) at corner 3 on Saturday.
I’d be happy to forward some pics I took – I just can’t seem to decipher your email address on this blog. If you would forward it to me I’d be happy to send ’em along.
In any case, glad you enjoyed the track – we sure enjoyed your being here. Hope you come back again!