Friday, June 30, 2006

Early plans

The race event starts next Friday July 7, 2006. Joe and I plan to go to the media credential office on Thursday night to pick up our Pit and Media Centre passes. We will hit the track early Friday morning to start our coverage.

Besides the CHAMP car race their is also Atlantic racing, autograph sessions, pit walk thrus and drifting.

The actual #7 CHAMP 2006 race is scheduled to start at 12:30 PM on Sunday July 9, 2006.

Those darn flags

Racing uses a lot of flags to signal the drivers to keep them aware of the race conditions or of danger.

The green flag is start, the blue (with diagonal yellow stripes) is to allow a car to lap or overtake another (double blue flags for second warning), black is to head back to the pits, yellow shows danger and passing is not permitted, red is all stop, white flag (with red cross) is an emergency vehicle on the track, white flag is starting of the last lap, surface flag (yellow with red stripes) is track condition compromised due to contaminants like oil, fluids, etc and the checkered flag is the end of the race.

The race background

The drivers take part in practice and qualifying races on the Friday and Saturday which determines their start or pole position in the race. The fastest qualifiers of each session goes to the front of the course.

The track has 11 turns and the fastest laps are in the order of 110 mph while the highest speeds along the straight aways are abouut 190 mph (along Lakeshore Boulevard) while the slowest speeds are about 42 mph as the cars leave Lakeshore Blvd and head back into the exhibition grounds. The fastest average speed for the entire race was approximately 98 mph. The total race is 88 laps or about 154 miles.

The winner of the race earns 31 points towards the championship along with assorted points if the have the fastest qualifying times, etc.

The race is run clockwise starting in front of the national trade centre and heading out onto Lakeshore Boulevard and turning back into the exhibition grounds.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Toronto is Canada's largest City (most people) with over 2.5 million people. The large urban area surrounding Toronto is called the GTA, or Greater Toronto Area, with a combined population of over 5.1 million people. Just for comparison I live in the small town of Acton just west of Toronto and it has just over 10 000 people!

The City of Toronto joined with the 6 adjacent municipalities and the Metro Government to form the current megacity in 1998. I don't think it has solved many problems.

Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario (the Province) and lies along the north shore of the Great Lake - Lake Ontario, in Central Ontario. The concentration of development and transportation from Niagara Falls to east of Toronto has led to the concept of the Golden Triangle (shaped by the form along the edge of Lake Ontario).

Just to the west of the downtown core lies the Exhibition grounds which was established in the 1880's. Toronto's famous fair the CNE, or Canadian National Exhibition, takes place here every year. This large area with significant historical buildings has endured over all these years and also is the setting for the Toronto Grand Prix race.

Indy and Champ working together

It looks like the Indy Racing League (IRL) could be joining in with the CHAMP group as they work towards becoming one again. With the differences in bodies and engines this will present quite a challenge but one they hope will increase interest and revenues for both parties. The CHAMP cars will even return to the Indianapolis 500 next year.

I know many people cannot keep track of the various races, racing series and teams and hopefully this will help the public's understanding of racing.

Note: this could have been only a false rumour! More updates later.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

What is the Grand Prix - background

The Toronto Grand Prix is a CHAMP car, or CHAMPionship Car race featuring open wheeled race cars using only one make of engine with various body styles. CHAMP is also the successor to CART, or Championship Auto Racing Teams. The CHAMP style of racing is similar to the Formula One (F1) racing series with some subtle differences which include a turbocharged engine, methanol instead of gasoline and smooth tires compared to F1's grooved tire. The cars are extremely noisy!

The Ford Cosworth turbocharged engine allows for approximately 850 horsepower with a top speed of about 240 mph (or 390 km/h).

The Grand Prix races are held on both circuit and road courses - Toronto has a 1.755 mile (2.82 km) road course which now enters it's 21st year. The race is centered around the Canadian National Exhibition site along the shore of Lake Ontario. The cars not only race within the exhibition grounds but also along Lakeshore Boulevard which I believe is temporarily closed for the normal through traffic.

2006 CHAMP schedule shows 15 races of which 3 are in Canada (Edmonton, Toronto and Montreal). A.J. Allmendinger won the race previous to Toronto (Cleveland) and last years race in Toronto (2005) was won by Justin Wilson (#9 - Lola driver). UPDATE: The new schedule has 17 scheduled races and the South Korean race is not included in the revised schedule.

Before the Toronto race the driver top rankings are 1) Sebastien Bourdais, 2) Justin Wilson and 3) A. J. Allmendinger. There are three Canadian racers in CHAMP - Paul Tracy (ranked 11), Michael Valiente and Andrew Ranger (ranked 4).

Monday, June 26, 2006

Confirmation Received

During the upcoming 2006 Toronto Grand Prix I will be covering the race as a press photographer, complete with media pass! I will blog with coverage of the race and what is involved with having a media pass to such a great International event. You can see some of my other photographs posted on flikr.

The race takes place at Toronto's Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) site during the weekend of July 7, 8 and 9, 2006 and I am getting my cameras ready now.

I hope to see you at the race!

Doors Open

Scarborough Bluffs





Lake Ontario

Nathan Phillips Square