The Brief

Feeling the heat
Jul 29, 2019

Race Past The Bridge 960Px

Northeast Grand Prix

Lime Rock Park, Lakeville CT
July 19-20, 2019

The heat was on. With skyrocketing temperatures, a pressure-packed schedule and a notoriously finicky track, the 6th race of the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge had the potential to be a scorcher in more ways than one.

Sweating the strategy

The Legistics/Racing To to End Alzheimer's/FastMdFastMD/Speed Syndicate team was definitely feeling the heat – both literally and figuratively. Well aware that the “Bullring” at Lime Rock Park tends to favor nimbleness over power, they knew they had their work cut out for them to overcome the advantages the Hyundais, Hondas and Alfa Romeos would have on the tight turns of this track. The blistering temps just added another layer of difficulty and uncertainty to an already-daunting challenge.

With a two-day race schedule instead of the usual three, the action was non-stop. During qualifying, the #23 Audi RS3 helmed by Nick Galante rocketed to the top of the sheets with the fastest first lap of all TCR competitors. After getting caught in some traffic on the 3rd and 4th laps, Violet” (the nickname for our purple Audi) narrowly avoided contact with the wall as Galante poured on the power to hold his own in a tightly packed field. Just one second separated the 4th through 11th qualifying spots.

Into the pressure cooker

The grid before the race was mind-numbingly hot, and drivers knew it would only get hotter once they were strapped into their cars. Galante got off to a good start, immediately picking up a couple of spots and finding a groove with a pack of five cars running 3rd – 7th. Conscious that the heat was turning the track into a cooktop that was melting the #23’s tires at an alarming rate, the team had to juggle the need for speed with the high cost of additional stress on the tires.

At about the 35-minute mark, the #23 side-collided with a GS car as they were battling to overtake an injured Alfa Romeo. With no obvious damage, Galante kept up the pace. But 10 minutes later, the shift paddle on the steering wheel popped off, and Galante was forced to use the back-up gear level on the console to shift up.

Pitting at the halfway point, James Vance took the wheel. With temperatures continuing to rise, the race was turning into an endurance test for drivers. Vance picked up a few spots with some heavy pressure, but the effort was at the cost of over-heating the tires. Dropping back, the team settled for 9th place in a race that gave new meaning to the phrase “hotly contested.”

Stay tuned for the next action-packed race of the season: Road America on August 2-4 in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

A tale of inches and miles
Jul 8, 2019

Ctmp Pit Stop 1600Px

Canadian Tire MotorSport Park
Saturday, July 6, 2019
Bowmanville, Ontario

Sometimes the true essence of a tale is in the numbers.

4 days

That’s how long the Legistics/Racing To End Alzheimer's/FastMd/Speed Syndicate team had to repair major damage to their #23 Audi RS3 (affectionately dubbed “Violet” by those who’ve come to know and love her) before qualifying rounds for the next crucial race in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge series. After a catastrophic crash in their race at Watkins Glen International Raceway in upstate New York, the team knew they were facing a challenge of epic proportions.

1300 miles

With such a tight turnaround time, returning to their own repair shop more than 1300 miles away was clearly not an option. Luckily, driver James Vance had friends he could count on in the vicinity of the upcoming race. Audi Midtown Toronto and Audi super tech Jayson Van Eerdewijk stepped up to provide the team with a state-of-the-art “home away from home” to make the necessary repairs. With the shop closed for Canada Day, the Speed Syndicate Motorsports team threw mind and muscle into making the near-impossible happen.

Check it out:

6 inches

By the time qualifying day rolled around, Violet was once again ready for prime time. Driver Nick Galante placed in 10th position on the high-speed technical track formerly known as Mosport. After working his way up to 7th during the first half of the two-hour race, Nick dove into the pits for the hand-over to James Vance.

Nick was already out of the car when IMSA officials made the determination that the #23 had overshot the pit spot by 6 inches and would have to be rolled back before servicing. A nightmare scenario ensued, with precious seconds lost as the team rushed to comply with the IMSA directive. When James Vance finally took the wheel, he drove an amazing stint, clawing his way up to 6th place before time simply ran out.

5 races

With 5 races remaining in 2019, the team is currently 8th in the overall point standings. But as this roller-coaster of a series has proven, anything can – and very likely will – happen before this hard-fought season comes to a rip-roaring, nail-biting close.

A night to remember
Jul 6, 2019

The Divide Perry King Barn

TORONTO — Anticipation was running high on the eve of the IMSA Michelin Pilot Sportscar Championship Race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Ontario. But the upcoming high-stakes competition on the legendary track wasn’t the only reason for the excitement.

A red-carpet movie premiere and after-party to benefit the Canadian non-profit Baycrest Foundation at Hotel X Toronto on Friday night added a glittering new dimension to the traditional race weekend. Hosted by FEL in partnership with Racing to End Alzheimer’s, the evening featured the Canadian premiere of “The Divide,” a powerful new drama about a rancher struggling with the effects of Alzheimer’s disease.

Actor/director Perry King, along with members of his cast and crew, Legistics CEO (and Racing to End Alzheimer’s founder) Phil Frengs and former NHL player Mike Zigomanis were all on hand to answer questions and mingle with friends, supporters, sponsors and donors committed to funding the care and finding the cure for Alzheimer’s. Truly a night to remember.

Founder Phil Frengs and FEL president Chris Bye toast a successful fundraiser for Baycrest Foundation.