2001 was the fourth season for the Canadian ChampCar Lights series. Unfortunately, organizers were no longer offering the same purse and media coverage that attracted competitors last year. As a result, entries were below the expectations of Canadian ChampCar Lights’ staff. The US Formula 3 championship was also challenged to draw entrants. The two series combined their efforts to share race weekends and events.

The two championships kicks-off, on the May Victoria Day weekend, at Mosport International Raceway. The next rounds take place in June at Mosport during the CASCAR weekend. Then Canadian ChampCar Lights teams travel to Ste-Croix, Quebec, for an event without the Formula 3 contingent. At the end of July, the two series head south of the border to Watkins Glen International. Then it is back to Mosport as a support event for the American Le Mans Series. Both series compete in the first of two doubleheader weekends at Mosport. The races are run in conjunction with an Ontario Region amateur event. The next doubleheader takes place at Le Circuit Mont-Tremblant in Quebec and is the finale for the Canadian ChampCar Lights series. The US Formula 3 championship ends its season in October at Watkins Glen.

The Canadian ChampCar Lights and US Formula 3 cars offer very different performance. The Formula 3 machines are approximately fourteen-seconds a lap quicker than ChampCar Lights on a track like Mosport International Raceway.

  • The chassis used in the Canadian ChampCar Lights series is a single-seat, welded tube-frame Van Diemen FRS96. The car is fitted with a Chrysler Neon engine. The four in-line DOHC, 2-liter, is equipped with electronic fuel injection and produces 180-horsepower at 7,100-rpm. Other vehicle features include a Hewland LD202 five-speed transmission, a double-wishbone suspension and four-disc brakes. The 1,080-pound Van Diemen is estimated to have a top speed of 160-mph (258-kph).
  • Formula 3 – The chassis used by the Formula 3 competitors is a Dallara F399. Unlike the Canadian ChampCar, it features a carbon-fiber tub. The transmission is a five-speed that uses Hewland Mk. 9 internals in a Dallara designed case. All cars in the US Formula 3 championship are powered by a four-cylinder SOHC 2,135-cc Volkswagen engine with a dry-sump oil system. The motors are leased from the series organizers at an annual cost of $37,500.

Round five for the Canadian ChampCar Lights and race four for the US Formula 3 championships were held on August 19th at Mosport International Raceway. Drivers would compete on the ten-turn 2.459-mile road course. For the first time in the series five-year history, the teams would face wet conditions.

Luciano Gomide entered the American Le Mans Series at Mosport International, hoping to keep his win streak alive. Gomide began his record-setting pace in round five of the 2000 US Formula 3 at Circuit Ste-Croix in Quebec. Adding to his seven victories of last year were another three this season. In round four, he qualified on the pole and led flag-to-flag in very challenging conditions.
Rookie Michael Brooks led the title chase early in the season, but the momentum had shifted to Kyle Herder. The driver of the No. 5 L.A. Rainbow Racing prepared Van Diemen FRS96 outperformed Brooks in the last two events – claiming victory at Watkins Glen and earning first place points at Ste-Croix. Herder was leading round five when he spun-off at Moss Corner and lost a lap to the winner, Daniel Sirard.
Michael Brooks won the opening two rounds of the 2001 Canadian ChampCar Lights series at Mosport International Raceway. But at Watkins Glen International and Ste-Croix, he finished behind his main rival for the crown, Kyle Herder. In race five of the season, Brooks put the No. 24 Van Diemen on the pole by a margin of nearly one-second. Unfortunately, he spun out of the contest and finished third in class.
Replacing B.J. Zacharias in the, No. 8 Olsson Engineering Dallara F399 was Paul Dana. This year, Dana was contesting the US F2000 National in 2001 Van Diemen. The US Formula 3 rookie qualified third behind the series regulars, Luciano Gomide and John Antonio. Antonio was unable to start the race. Dana performed admirably in the wet conditions and finished on the same lap as the winner, Gomide.

11Luciano GomideEuroInternational / Dallara F39911-
23Paul DanaOlsson Engineering / Dallara F39911-
39Daniel SirardSirard Racing / Van Diemen FRS9610-
45Kyle HerderL.A. Rainbow Racing / Van Diemen FRS969-
54Michael BrooksL.A. Rainbow Racing / Van Diemen FRS966-
66Kiyoto YamamotoL.A. Rainbow Racing / Van Diemen FRS966-
78Mike CardosoMillennium Motorsports / Van Diemen FRS960-
-7Steve PickeringL.A. Rainbow Racing / Van Diemen FRS96-Did Not Start
-2John AntonioEuroInternational / Dallara F399-Did Not Start

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