TORONTO, ONT – Butch Letizinger finished 19th in the first race of the Pirelli World Challenge doubleheader on the streets of Toronto early this afternoon in the Bentley Continental GT3. His race came to a premature end on lap 19 of 30 after coming together with another competitor two thirds of the way through the fifty minute race. The car was not badly damaged, and Dyson Racing Team Bentley will be ready for the drop of the green flag for tomorrow’s race.
“The Bentley is a great car, but it actually needs a piece of road to drive on! The driver in front of me did not want to give me any piece of the road,” explained Butch Leitzinger after the accident. Leitzinger was in close pursuit of another competitor who moved over aggressively to defend going into turn three. Street courses are known for their tight confines and the cars came together and unfortunately both were eliminated from contention.
“It was not an ideal race result, but overall we are making good progress,” commented Chris Dyson, the team’s Vice President and Sporting Director. “This weekend is really a learning weekend, and a building weekend for the future, and is all part of putting together a data base for the fall testing and for racing on this type of circuit next year.”
It is a weekend of firsts: the first time for the team to race at Toronto and the first time a Bentley Continental GT3 has raced on a street circuit. “The rough and tumble of a street course is brand new to this car,” commented Leitzinger. “But that is one of the things we knew coming in, that this would be more of a development weekend than our first race at Road America. Everything is homologated on the car, but there is a lot of room to work with the hardware as far as shock absorbers, spring rates, anti-roll bars, as well as the ride heights. So there are quite a few variables that we can work with and will continue to gather data through the race tomorrow.”
Street tracks in general and the course here on the shores of Lake Ontario present a unique set of challenges. Leitzinger commented on the characteristics of the Toronto track. “There are concrete patches through many of the turns which are extremely slick. They “rubber up” some during the weekend and you get a bit more grip but not a lot. Plus it is a bumpy track. So between these two factors, it is test for the car as well as being a challenge for me to figure out the best lines. Many times the best lines are not the conventional ones as you go where the grip is. But these challenges are the same for everyone and make for competitive racing.”