2017 Corvette Corral at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park

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TrackWorthy - Corvette Corral

125 Corvette owners gathered at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park last weekend to share their passion for Corvettes and Corvette Racing. It was the one and only stop in Canada of the Corvette Corral.

“We’re expecting 125 Corvettes and 225 guests this year,” said Janet Polasek, the organizer of the Canadian Corvette Corral. “This is our fifteenth Corvette Corral at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park”. When asked what the average Corvette Corral car owner is like, Janet’s response was that they are “Crazy, avid fans who love Corvette racing.” Janet and her husband, Nick Polasek, oversee all aspects of the Corral and run it with the support of fourteen volunteers.

And the reason they are gathering at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park is to watch the 2017 Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix, which features, among other great cars, two bright yellow Corvette C7.R race cars. Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia are driving the No. 3 and Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner are driving the No. 4 Corvette.
TrackWorthy - No. 3 Corvette C7.R (1)
TrackWorthy - No. 4 Corvette C7.R - GARY MAAVARA
“I always love coming here,” said Jan Magnussen who has been driving for Corvette since 2014 and whose son, Kevin, is racing in Formula One. “This is one of my favorite tracks,” Magnussen continued. “It’s a fantastic old school type track. The layout is super, super cool. It is so fast. For our performance, obviously we’re a little bit behind. The whole field is covered by just 7/10’s of a second. The smallest margin I think we have ever had. It means the race is wide open. We are leading the championship over the Ford and BMW. Hopefully, we can maintain our lead here.”

TrackWorthy - Jan Magnussen (3)

Jan Magnussen, Corvette No. 3 Driver

The agenda at the Corral also included a visit with legendary Corvette Racing Program Manager, Doug Fehan. “The reason we’ve been here for 18 years is that we have a long view,” Doug Fehan reflected during the race. “No championship is won on any given lap on any given day. You have to have an objective in mind at the beginning of the season. You have to have a plan. You have to work to it. When you dedicate yourself to the mission and you’ve got the passion to accomplish it, you’re going to be successful.”

The opportunity for 100 of the Corvettes to drive parade laps on the Mosport track was a highlight for many Corral participants. “It gives our Corvette Corral drivers a bird’s eye view of what the race car drivers are going to see during the two hour and forty minute race,” said Janet Polasek.

TrackWorthy - Callaway Corvette (2)
The four day race weekend drew participants from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario, as well as from many U.S. states, spanning as far south as Florida. Johnny Och from New York State was among the enthusiastic U.S. visitors. He was happy to share the story behind his tattoos: “I’m a big Corvette racing fan. So I got Jake (the skull shaped image) first, and I loved the crossed flags so I got that second. In 2012 they came out with the centennial Corvette. I loved the picture of Mr. Chevrolet, who used to race cars, so I got his tattoo too.” Johnny’s license plate is C7R GTLM, the name and category of the Corvette race cars out on the track.
TrackWorthy - Johnny Och (1)TrackWorthy - Johnny Och (2)
As an added bonus for the Corvette Corral attendees, Brian Hay, the Performance Director and Callaway Specialist at Wilson Niblett Performance Corvette, was on hand with a brand new 2017 757 horsepower Callaway Corvette. “This car is built on the latest Corvette C7 Z06 platform, but, instead of having 650 hp, they remove the GM supercharger and Callaway have their own proprietary designed supercharger that puts out 757 hp and 777 lb-ft of torque.” When converted to Canadian funds the car lists at approximately $153,000, which is about $20,000 more than a well-equipped stock Corvette Z06. Wilson Niblett has been an authorized Callaway Corvette dealer since 2009 and the leading volume Corvette dealer in Canada for the past thirty-six years.
TrackWorthy - Callaway Corvette (5)
Pennsylvanian Ron Grove, a diehard Corvette fan for the past 40 years, was also in attendance. His Corvette’s license plate, Z OSEXY, is a takeoff on the model designation of the car it adorns, a Corvette Z06. “I’ve always had Corvettes,” Grove shared. “I’ve had this one out on the track in Bowling Green at the National Corvette Museum Motorsports Park. They have a nice track and right after I got it I had to go on the track! This C7 Z06 is more capable than I am, that’s for sure!” When asked if he has ever attended the Ron Fellows Performance Driving School at Spring Mountain in Nevada, Grove immediately and enthusiastically responded, “Yes, twice, it’s an awesome place!”
TrackWorthy - Ron Fellows Performance Driving School (2)

This year, the Corvette Corral is helping to raise funds for the Operation Motorsport charity. The charity aims to engage, through motorsport, ill, injured and wounded service members and veterans with the goal of aiding in their recovery and rehabilitation.

Unfortunately for Corvette fans, the No. 3 car finished fourth and the No. 4 Corvette was involved in a crash and finished last in the GTLM class. Chevrolet still lead the GTLM championship by just two points over Ford, followed by BMW, Porsche and Ferrari. The next race is the Northeast Grand Prix July 21-22 at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Connecticut.

PHOTOGRAPHS and VIDEOS © Copyright 2017 TrackWorthy Group Ltd. and GARY MAAVARA

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