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.

The two series would join amateur racers during the CRDA/SCCA Labour Day Sprints weekend at Mosport International Raceway. This would be the first of two doubleheader events for the Canadian ChampCar Lights and US Formula 3 series. The next doubleheader would be in September at Le Circuit Mont-Tremblant.

As expected, the two US Formula 3 competitors started on the front row for the weekend’s first race. But the big surprise was that it was John Antonio in the No. 7 Dallara F399 that qualified on the pole. Antonio would win the eleven lap contest under yellow conditions for most of the event and end Luciano Gomide’s winning streak. On Sunday, Antonino only completed eleven of the thirteen laps before crashing.
After eleven consecutive victories, Luciano Gomide’s winning streak came to an end. For the first time this season, he was out-qualified by his main rival, John Antonio. In qualifying, Gomide missed earning another pole position by just 0.020-seconds. And, in the race, he finished second to Antonio. The following day, Gomide started second but claimed another win when Antonio crashed on lap-11.
Japanese driver Kiyoto Yamamoto was improving with each event. In rounds six and seven, the ‘stars aligned’ for the driver of the No. 113 Van Diemen FRS96. Yamamoto had problems during qualifying and started Saturday’s race at the back of the grid. However, issues for Shawn Thompson and Kyle Herder allowed him to grab his first victory. The next day, he finished second after Thompson and Michael Brooks had problems.
Kyle Herder entered rounds six and seven, still leading the championship but was under immense pressure from Michael Brooks. He inherited a great opportunity when Brooks had problems in the qualifying session and started thirty-second in a field of thirty-three cars. Unfortunately, in race one, Herder pulled off course on lap-8 with no power. In the finale, he redeemed himself with a victory.

11John AntonioEuroInternational / Dallara F39910-
22Luciano GomideEuroInternational / Dallara F39910-
36Kiyoto YamamotoL.A. Rainbow Racing / Van Diemen FRS9610-
45Michael BrooksL.A. Rainbow Racing / Van Diemen FRS9610-
53Kyle HerderL.A. Rainbow Racing / Van Diemen FRS968-
64Shawn ThompsonThompson Motorsports / Van Diemen FRS962-

12Luciano GomideEuroInternational / Dallara F39913-
25Kyle HerderL.A. Rainbow Racing / Van Diemen FRS9612-
33Kiyoto YamamotoL.A. Rainbow Racing / Van Diemen FRS9612-
41John AntonioEuroInternational / Dallara F39911-
54Michael BrooksL.A. Rainbow Racing / Van Diemen FRS963-
66Shawn ThompsonThompson Motorsports / Van Diemen FRS961-

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