Pfaff Motorsports Race 1 Update – Toronto IndyAug 24th, 2016
The Toronto Indy, held around Exhibition Place on the shores of Lake Ontario, has proved to be one of the most challenging events on the Porsche GT3 Cup calendar for Pfaff Motorsports, and race one of the 2016 edition was no different. While all three of the team’s drivers started strong, a series of incidents resulted in Orey Fidani and Chris Green not finishing the race in their Platinum class 911 GT3 Cup cars, while Gerald Panneton pulled out a second-place finish in the Silver class in his Cayman GT4 Clubsport.
Panneton, competing in only his second race weekend in the series, started second in his class and had a steep learning curve on the tight, unforgiving street circuit. Revised dampers on his Cayman GT4 meant that the car felt better than at his previous race weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, and he was comfortable with the car despite the track’s bumpy surface.
Unfortunately, during the course of the race, Panneton grazed the wall in turn 7. “The impact felt hard enough that I thought I should come into the pits and have the car checked – it was actually fine, with only some minor damage to the wheel rim. It was a beginner’s mistake; I should probably have stayed out for another lap to feel how the car was behaving before reacting.” Nevertheless, Panneton briefly led the class before finishing second in Silver.
Orey Fidani, starting sixth on the grid, drove well, but in the opening laps of the race, he locked up in turn 4, flat-spotting a tire and necessitating a pit stop to change it. Shortly after his stop, Fidani grazed the wall in the same turn, doing minimal visible damage to his car, but knocking the steering enough out of line that it made the car difficult to steer. He retired from the race a couple of laps later.
Chris Green, starting third on the grid in his first appearance in the 2016 Canadian challenge, briefly led the race after an exciting start before pole-sitter Scott Hargrove and Daniel Morad re-acquried their starting positions. He drove strongly and consistently through the race, and began to reel in second-place Morad.
Hargrove suffered a mechanical issue that put him out of the race, bringing out a full-course caution, bunching up the field and resulting in a thrilling restart and a three-way battle for the lead between Morad, Green, and Zacharie Robichon.
It was in the tight turn 3 where Green ran wide. Robichon, who was running behind Green, hit Green on his passenger-side door, pushing him into a concrete wall and ending his race. Damage to the left-front of Green’s car was significant, and he wasn’t able to continue; the race finished under caution.
Two hours after the race was completed and Green’s #9 Castrol-Pfaff 911 was returned to the pits, the Pfaff Motorsports crew dismantled the car, assessing the extent of the damage before beginning repairs. A Porsche parts truck follows the Canadian race series, stocking spares for teams to make repairs; if the necessary parts are available, it’s the team’s intention to fix the car overnight, get it set up, and go racing again in tomorrow’s race, which starts at 12:35 eastern time.
Watch our social media channels for updates on the progress of the repair and for news about tomorrow’s race.