The Eastern Canadian Karting Championship is now less than two weeks from its penultimate round as teams and drivers prepare to head to the 15th Annual Monaco de Trois-Rivieres. The final two races of the 2013 Championship will be in Quebec, and as in years past an ECKC race on Sunday will follow a Coupe du Quebec race on Saturday. Drivers also have the opportunity to run four track sessions on Thursday and six sessions on Friday in preparing for the temporary confines of the famed GP3R track.
Those in the championship hunt in Rotax Max Challenge classes have their sights firmly planted on the Rotax Grand Final tickets that will be awarded at season's end, but there are much more immediate prizes available as well, especially in Rotax DD2. While many events and championships look to assist drivers moving from karts to cars, Le Monaco de Trois-Rivieres does exactly that in a matter of days! The winner of the ECKC DD2 final will have the opportunity to test a Quebec Sportsman car during the week at Le Circuit ICAR and then race it at GP3R!
“It is the best award that could be given to a karter in my opinion,” said Brendon Bain, 2012 recipient of the award. “The reason I say that is because there are a few awards that are given to test cars; whether the cars are in the Canadian Touring Car Championship or open-wheel formula cars. However this is an award that gives a karter a chance to actually race in a car, and at such a historic venue. The atmosphere was amazing. All in all one of the best moments in my life.”
The impressive award is made possible through support from BRP, Elitech Sport Evasion, GP3R and Le Monaco de Trois-Rivieres. The award winner will test early in the week at ICAR with Marc-Antoine Camirand before returning to GP3R and racing on both Friday and Saturday in the Sportsman Quebec Series. It's a spec series much like Rotax karting, and as Bain attests, the award winner will be fully prepared and in the hunt to win, even with the short time span.
“I was very competitive thanks to a lot of laps at the ICAR Circuit a few days before the race, the excellent pit crew and crew chief Yvan Turcotte,” Bain recalled. “I was able to do 40 or 50 laps at ICAR and I was really settled in the car by the time practice and qualification came. I qualified 4th out of about 20 cars. I then made my way up to second in the Prefinal, but a shifter bolt came loose and I wasn't able to shift. That put me in a finishing position of 14th. In the Final I made my way back up to 4th or 5th and then the same mechanical failure occurred which put me in a finishing position of 12th with the second-fastest lap time. Despite the failures it was an amazing experience. By the end of it all I felt extremely comfortable in the car and the fact that it was a street circuit didn't faze me at all.”
Yet enquiring minds always want to know, how did the car compare to his Maranello North America prepped Rotax DD2 that he regularly pedals in ECKC competition? The fourth-year Mechanical Engineering student at the University of Western Ontario had a fine comparison, recalling the words of his crew chief, Turcotte.
“The feel of the car is extremely different than a DD2 kart,” Bain said. Then noting the words of Turcotte, “Since, 'these stock cars are pretty much a 1970's truck with respect to brakes, suspension and transmission.' It was really cool though, because since they accelerated much slower and the track was so much bigger I had a lot more time to think about my braking and turn-in points and if I accidentally got into a slide it was easily controllable.”
So this year just as last, the ECKC DD2 winner will have the opportunity to be testing just days later, and on the full GP3R track the following Thursday for Quebec Sportsman Series practice. There are 27 cars registered for two 30 minute races, and the ECKC award winner will once again be behind the wheel of the 9 car. But the story won't necessarily end there in 2013, as the Friday winner in the Quebec Sportsman Series will be awarded a seat in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series race at GP3R on Sunday! An incredible opportunity that may just fall to a karter. For more information visit www.seriesportsman.ca
Additional awards to be presented involve a number of cash awards and gift certificates from the youngest classes to the oldest during race weekend. The winners in both Micro-Max and Mini-Max will receive $400 each from Les Amis Du Grand Prix, and the polesitter in every class will receive at $100 gift certificate from UGG Canada. Lift Interiors is also presenting a special award Saturday, as shifter karts make their first and only appearance during an ECKC weekend. Always a fan favourite, and there are many at Le Monaco, the fastest qualifier in Shifter class will be rewarded with $250!
The Eastern Canadian Karting Championship continues August 2 with Le Monaco de Trois-Rivieres. For all the latest news and updates, please visit eckc.ca often. For weekend photo galleries and results as they happen, please visit canadiankartingnews.com and follow @CKN_Live on Twitter.
To spend a practice session with K&P Rotax Junior driver Tyler Ripani, follow this link:
Round 3 - Le Monaco de Trois-Rivieres, Trois-Rivieres, Quebec
Friday, August 2, Practice
Saturday, August 3, Coupe du Quebec*
Sunday, August 4, Race Five
Round 4 - Jim Russell Academie de Karting, Mont-Tremblant, Quebec
Friday, September 13, Practice
Saturday, September 14, Coupe du Quebec*
Sunday, September 15, Race Six