The Toyo Tires F1600 Championship Series returns to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park this weekend for the BARC Grand Prix of Ontario, rounds 5 and 6 of the Championship.
All eyes are on one young man, Eureka, MO’s Tristan DeGrand who has been challenged at times but not been beaten this season.
His impeccable record has also crossed over to the Formula Tour in Quebec and the combined Super Series where he has won an incredible 7 of 8 races. His worst finish a 2nd.
Brampton, ON’s Chase Pelletier currently sits 2nd in points and looks the most likely to be able to stop the roll DeGrand is on. He grabbed a pole position last time out at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and finished 2nd. His team, Britain West Motorsports, have recently acquired the Canadian distribution rights to the popular Mygale chassis and took delivery of their first car shortly before the Grand Prix du Montreal.
They had very little time on the car before it’s debut but managed to finish on the podium there. With some more testing he will undoubtedly become a factor in the championship.
Another strong challenge may come from DeGrand’s Exclusive Autosport teammate, 15-year-old Jeffrey Kingsley of Port Hope, ON. He currently sits 3rd in points and leads the Rookie of the Year honours.
Caitlin Johnston has come back to the series and has been a very welcome addition. She has raced very hard and is in a solid 4th place in the championship. Now that she is back to racing fulltime it is only a matter of time before she breaks through the stats to visit the podium regularly.
Other “A” Class notables include Jayson Clunie, a veteran racer but new to open wheel cars. He has really been impressive in his last couple of outings. Reid Arnold made his debut this season with a brand new team. They continue to improve each and every time out and will be a factor before long. Max Hanratty sits 7th in the points but his championship standing is no indicator of his pace this season so far. He has been at the front of the pack in most events this season and has been on the podium but has suffered some misfortune with a couple of wrecks. His confidence is rising however and it will not be a surprise when he does break through. Reigning “B” Class Champion Craig Willis has had some ups and downs. A crash in practice forcing him to miss the 1st race was quickly followed up with a podium finish the very next day so do not count him out. Finally we have to make a mention for multi-time champion Shane Jantzi, who has been ultra fast after making the switch to Honda power but was involved in a couple of incidents that have hurt him in the points standings. He has not lost the desire and cannot be counted out when it comes to racing at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
The “B” Class has been Burlington, ON native Connor Wagland’s playground this season. He has been challenged and beaten once by Graham Lobban in 2014 but his pace continues to improve to the point where he is now running at the tail of the fast “A” group.
He is followed in the points by Waterloo’s Amy Castell. She is also putting personal bests on the board each and every weekend and is closely followed by veteran Mike Lee of Toronto, ON.
Other notables in the “B” Class are David Graham, fresh off his season best 4th place finish and Ted Michalos. Bruce Kitchen has been strong all year and Keith Lobban has been solid in his return to F1600 competition.
Cars will hit the track on Friday for a full day of testing and the racing will begin with Round 1 on Saturday and Round 2 on Sunday afternoon.