MMR Community Newsletter

October 18, 2013 Comments (3)

F1 - The Japanese GP

Webber out-qualified Vettel and started on pole. Vettel never passed Webber because he didn’t have to. The team changed Webber to a three stop strategy, one more than Vettel, and he finished second. It should be very clear to Ricciardo that he will be the new Webber. The deck gets reshuffled next year and based on past history it would be foolish to believe that Renault will not have a competitive engine for the Lotus and Red Bull chassis. Kimi is quick but he is also impatient. If Ferrari doesn’t supply a winning package for Kimi they may learn to dread his après race interviews.

IndyCar Fontana Finale Saturday @ 8:00PM ET

The Auto Club Speedway two-mile oval at Fontana will be the site of the final race of this year. It should be an interesting cap to a season that has seen exciting races and the emergence of a number of competitive teams and attractive drivers. The organization is still young and some of the tracks they use are less than ideal, but they do race and ten different drivers have won.

Petit Le Mans – ALMS Series Finale at Road Atlanta Saturday @ 11:00AM

The final race of the year and the final race in its history. Our man Tommy Kendall is 23 on the grid in the fastest Viper. Next year the ALMS and Grand-Am series will combine. The ungainly titled TUDOR United SportsCar Championship will hopefully bring together two organizations that have struggled for years to bring sports car racing to North America. Good luck.

Memories: Racing in the Sixties

With my meager savings and different sponsors every year, I managed to race little English sports cars for the first three years of my twenties. When I went for a loan to finance the fourth, my bank manager pointed out that, among other things, like collateral, I lacked talent. That was the end of a racing career full of promises. But I wasn’t through with racing.

From Monday morning thru Thursday at 5:00PM every week, I was a regular Champion Spark Plug Co. Sales Representative calling on service stations throughout the Province of Quebec and sticking Champion decals on doors and windows. On weekends, I put Champion decals on the cars, motorcycles, and boats of racers that carried our products. My task was to help the real Champion Spark Plug techs who, with their diagnostic tools and years of experience, were occupied with potential winners. If you were not a potential winner, (read: poor) I helped you. And god helped you too.

Fortunately we blew up very few engines. Please keep in mind that blowing up engines was not a rare occurrence in those days and melted plugs weren’t either.

At the time, I shared a ski house with a good bunch of people near the Mont Tremblant race track so I was in that area almost every weekend of the year. When the F1 teams came to Canada, because some of them spoke better French than English, I was their liaison with the Champion professional tech reps that were sent from the US to help them. In 1968 when they raced at Le Circuit Mont-Tremblant, I was translating with the teams and recommending fine restaurants and arranging fancy box lunches. I was a 24-year-old kid! What did I know?

The real techs went to dinner with the teams and I took visiting race reps to my favorite restaurants and bars. I introduced them to young women friends and Canadian high-alcohol beer. Because the roads in the Laurentian Mountains are neither straight nor smooth, the ride back in my Champion Spark Plug Co. supplied 318 V8 Plymouth 4-door also introduced them to a new level of anxiety. All vaguely memorable to me now.

But it all worked out and at the end of that F1 weekend at Mont Tremblant, Ferrari’s Team Manager, Mauro Forghieri, gave me a Ferrari pin for my efforts. That was very cool. The next day I went back to putting Champion decals on doors and windows. It was good to be young in the sixties.

This week’s great images were taken by Chuck Schwager who recently co-drove Jim Taylor’s C-Type on this year’s Colorado Grand. Brave soul, he shot several of these from the passenger seat at speed.

Peter Bourassa


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Comments (3)

  1. bob mclennan:
    Oct 19, 2013 at 09:37 AM

    Hi Peter
    In the fifties, in Montreal, the father of a friend of mine, Capt. Tony Miller was the Champion Spark Plug rep for motor racing (cars and bikes) in Eastern Canada. Capt. Tony was an ex motorcycle racer, competing on dirt ovals and beaches in the North East.
    In the the forties Capt. Tony lost his left arm, at the elbow, in a racing accident at Langhorne Speedway in PA.
    The Capt. always had great stories of dirt racing in the US and especially at Wasaga Beach, near Collingwood Ontario. In addition to speed trials, the Canadian Land Speed
    Records were set there. The beach also hosted 100 mile bike races where average speeds
    on the sand were around the 100 MPH mark.

  2. Jim Thykeson:
    Oct 26, 2013 at 09:34 AM

    T.K., as well as you, should realize that U.S. automakers NEVER play by the rules. When the FIA relegated all competing marques to adhere to 3.0 liters Ford & Chevrolet had to be allowed the exception of 6 & 7 liters. Should the Viper be fast? At 8+ liters what do you think? I remember, as you should, when Porsche finally had their fill of this cheating and decided whats good for the gander should be good for the goose, bringing their 7Liter boxer 12 to Can Am, virtually ending the series.

  3. Peter Bourassa:
    Oct 28, 2013 at 08:51 AM

    Thank you for your thoughts.
    In general, I don't disagree that most, if not all, manufacturers try to influence rules makers to their benefit. That is business. What you and I want relates more to "sport". I get a kick out of the title of the FIA's rule book being titled "Sporting Regulations" when in fact they are to regulations that influence the business of sport. Limiting choices and innovations in order to control costs is a business decision made by organizers that allows more teams to participate.
    History hasn't shown that allowing a lack of regulation breeds success either. Witness Can-Am. Whether we like it or not, the sport we enjoy needs money to work and the only people with that kind of money are the Fiats, Renaults, Mercedes of the world. And they are in it for the exposure that comes from winning, not to insure a "sporting" experience.
    As to your comment about the Vipers. They finished 5th and 7th. 8+ liters didn't do that much for them and when the people who beat them become worried that 8+ liters is a factor and threaten to pull out, something will be done. Meanwhile, all the rest of us want is a fair fight.

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