From karts to racing Formula Fords against the likes of Spencer Pigot and Kyle Marcelli to setting the LMP3 lap record in last year’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race while trying to chase down Colin Braun, Garett Grist has practically grown up at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, or as it was known when he began racing there, Mosport.
“It’s fast. I mean, that’s the first thing that comes to mind – Turn 1, Turn 2, Turn 8 at the end of the backstraight … it’s a classic, just flat-out fast, high-speed track,” Grist says. “When I did it in Formula Ford, it was grass everywhere. So if you made a mistake, you weren’t stopping it. Now, they’ve kind of taken a bit of that risk factor away with paving all the areas so it’s not as old-school, high-risk; but still at the speeds we go, the pavement is only going to do so much on the runoff, right? I think that’s what sets it apart. Watkins Glen is a bit like that as well with the high speed, but Mosport just takes you to a whole new level.”
Grist, who is in the No. 30 Jr III Racing Ligier with Ari Balogh as he has been for the two years, actually grew up on the other side of the lake from CTMP, but it has always been his home track, and he’s put in more than his share laps at the circuit. So he seemed like a natural choice to talk RACER around the scenic 2.459 mile, 10-turn clockwise Ontario track.
“Turn 1 is fourth or fifth gear, kind of just a lift,” he says of the fast right-hander. “Turn 2 is a little bit of brake, no downshift. Those are the two fast, high-commitment turns. Turn 3 you get out wide pretty early. So there I think you saw, in practice last year, a couple of crashes with people dropping wheel at exit. I think 4 and 5 is probably the most fun section. Flat down to 4 and then the only big brake zone at Mosport is into 5A-B.
“Then you’re focusing on getting a really good exit from 5B because it leads up the big hill and the long back straight. Again probably one of your only passing opportunities is into 8, which is still difficult because 8 is just a brush of the brake, kind of like Turn 2. It’s all about just carrying so much speed at Mosport. And then ust a bit of a brake again for 9 and a bit of a brake again for for T10, and the lap’s done. It’s a quick, high-speed lap. Definitely a very fun track to drive but very challenging for racing. It’s hard to get close and you hope the guy makes a mistake in 5 and you can get a run down the back straight.”
Grist completed a test at CTMP last week, and notes that the harsh winter has left the track a little bumpier than last year, but it shouldn’t hurt lap times at the fastest track on the IMSA schedule – Tom Blomqvist’s track record of 137.472mph set in qualifying last year is the quickest lap turned on any of the series circuits. Grist’s fast lap in the race last year was 122.063mph.
The 2h40m Chevrolet Grand Prix for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship begins at noon ET with live coverage on NBC.