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 two for the Canadian ChampCar Lights and US Formula 3 championships was held at Mosport International Raceway in conjunction with the CASCAR Castrol Super Series. Drivers would complete on the ten-turn 2.459-mile road course for fifteen laps.

Luciano Gomide didn’t join the 2000 US Formula championship until the fifth race of the season. From that point, he swept every event and finished second in the final standings. Gomide opened the 2001 season with a victory at Mosport International. During the CASCAR weekend, the driver of the No. 50 EuroInternational prepared Dallara F399 grabbed the pole earned his eighth consecutive series win.
One of the very quick rookies entered in this year’s Canadian ChampCar Lights series is Michael Brooks. Brooks driving the L.A. Rainbow Racing Van Diemen FRS96, won the opening round. In the season’s second event, he out-qualified the defending series champion, Shawn Thompson, by almost 1.5-seconds. Brooks would capture his second victory of the year and take a commanding lead in the title hunt.
Successful go-kart racer, Kyle Herder, joined the Canadian ChampCar Lights Racing series in 2001. Herder spent last year competing in the French Elf Lafiiere Renault Campus Championship. With this experience, he joined the L.A. Rainbow Racing team driving the No. 5 Van Diemen FRS96 with backing from uni-ball. Herder opened the season with and runner-up finish and delivered the same results in race two.
The defending series champion, Shawn Thompson, returned for another season. Thompson won the title by finishing on the podium in seven of eight events – two of these were victories. In the first race of the year, he started third in class and finished in the runner-up spot. Thompson could not match the pace of Michael Brooks in qualifying and started second. Unfortunately, he completed only one lap in the race.

11Luciano GomideEuroInternational / Dallara F39915-
22John AntonioEuroInternational / Dallara F39915-
33B.J. ZachariasOlsson Engineering / Dallara F39915-
44Michael BrooksL.A. Rainbow Racing / Van Diemen FRS9614-
55Kyle HerderL.A. Rainbow Racing / Van Diemen FRS9613-
68Kiyoto YamamotoL.A. Rainbow Racing / Van Diemen FRS9612-
79Mike CardosoMillennium Motorsports / Van Diemen FRS9610-
86Steve PickeringPickering Racing / Van Diemen FRS968-
95Shawn ThompsonThompson Motorsports / Van Diemen FRS961-

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