After a long absence, the Sundown Grand Prix returned to Mosport International Raceway on the Victoria Day Weekend Speedfest.

The first Sundown Grand Prix was held in 1959 at Harewood Acres and won by Roger Penske and Harry Blanchard driving a Porsche RSK. A list of past winners includes such racing greats as Al Pease, Eppie Wietzes, Craig Fisher, Mo Carter and Ludwig Heimrath.

Most competitors in this year’s Sundown Grand Prix were from the Ontario Touring GT Championship, but the rules and classes were organised to accommodate teams from Quebec. Based on the existing categories in Ontario and Quebec, cars were grouped into one of four classes.

  • Enduro C1 – Quebec GTO, CASC-OR GT1 and Touring SGT
  • Enduro C2 – Quebec GTU, CASC-OR GTA and Touring GT
  • Enduro C3 – Quebec Touring Car, CASC-OR GTB, GTC and Touring T
  • Enduro C4 – Honda/Michelin, Toyota Echo Cup and CASC-OR GTD

This year’s edition of the Sundown Grand Prix was 180-minutes long around the ten-turn 2.459-mile road course. The event began at 6:00 pm and ended in the dark. The original races were six-hour contests.

The start of the Sundown Grand Prix and twenty cars funnel into Mosport International Raceway’s corner one for three-hours of racing around the ten-turn 2.459-mile road course. Leading the field is the No. 36 Volkswagen Corrado VR6 shared by Gunter Schmidt, Robb Smith and Peter Carpenko. The other front row starter is Rob Pacione driving the No 76 Porsche 944 Turbo.
A solid race strategy gave the overall and C2 victory to the No. 252 Raven BMW 325is. The team decided to make a single but more extended mid-race stop for fuel, which minimized their number of visits to the pits, unlike their competition. Drivers Allan Lewis and John Dimoff avoided any penalties and crossed the finish line first by a comfortable two-lap margin.
The only C1 entry was the No. 36 VW Corrado shared by Gunter Schmidt, Robb Smith and Peter Carpenko. The trio brought a wealth of experience to the event, notably Schmidt, who was a front-runner in the old Molyslip Endurance series. The team moved into the lead early but dropped down the order after each stop. They returned the track for the final time in sixth and fought their way to a runner-up result.
Winning the C3 class, which was filled by cars that competed in the CASC Ontario Region’s Touring GT Championship, was the No. 254 Action Front sponsored BMW 328is. Sharing the driving duties were Christian Sorenson, Tony McGrath and Nick Majors. The team started seventh overall and second in their category. During the three hours of racing, the trio completed 100-laps and finished third overall.
Six CASC Ontario Region GTD cars were entered in C4. They were all Nissan Sentras from the former Action Front Showroom Stock Championship. Fastest in the qualifying session was the John Bondar / Perry Iannuzzi Nissan. Gridded fifteenth and second in their category were David Diedrick and Edward Wong. Diedrick was another driver with a lot of endurance racing experience and used it to capture the C4 victory.
One of the threats for not only the C3 category win but also the overall victory was the No. 74 Kensai Racing Acura TSX. The Acura was piloted by Michael Thornley and Peter Schwarzott. Thornley was the defending Touring GT series Touring T champion and Schwarzott had many endurance titles to his credit. Unfortunately, they had contact early in the event and their race ended in a cloud of smoke on lap-27.
Drivers Tom Konvalina and Mark Durant proved that a steady pace would be rewarded with a solid result. The No. 106 Porsche 924S was eleventh fastest in the qualifying session and started sixth in the C3 category. When the faster cars encountered problems, they moved up the race order. The duo had advanced seventh positions at the checkered flag and captured the runner-up position in their class.
Another duo expected to win the C3 category was the No. 41 Acura RSX shared by Nicholas and Nigel Krikorian. The duo are regulars in the CASC Ontario Region Touring GT Championship, competing in a pair of Honda Preludes. Nigel won a round this year at the BEMC Spring Trophy Races. Like their Kensai Racing teammates, they showed promise, but unfortunately, their race concluded after only seventeen laps.

16C2Allan Lewis / John DimoffBMW 325 E30102
21C1G. Schmidt / R. Smith / P. CarpenkoVolkswagen Corrado VR6100
37C3C. Sorenson / T. McGrath / N. MajorsBMW 328is100
411C3Mark Durant / Tom KonvalinaPorsche 924 S99
54C2Ray Arlauskas / Peter HansonBMW 32599
615C4David Diedrick / Edward WongNissan Sentra96
719C4Terry Muller / D. TimmersNissan Sentra96
89C3Jeff Holmes / Nick HolmesNissan Sentra95
913C4Perry Iannuzzi / John BondarNissan Sentra95
1018C4P.J. Groenke / Steven ScalaNissan Sentra95
1112C3V. Basile / S. Trahan / C. WernerHonda Civic SiR93
1217C4Paul Taylor / Joe ChanNissan Sentra93
1320C4Hans Wolter / Jay Fieger / Frank BlanchetNissan Sentra91
1416C3Ian Scott / Dan Purdy / Bruce KitchenSuzuki Swift89
152C2Robert PacionePorsche 944 Turbo72
1614C3Cliff Daley / Howard Chin / Ian MaddenVolkswagen Golf 1.8T68
1710C3James FooteHonda Civic45
Did Not Finish3C2Jody Trudeau / Karl Thomson / Steve KentChevrolet Camaro29
Did Not Finish5C3Michael Thornley / Peter SchwarzottAcura TSX27
Did Not Finish8C3Nicholas Krikorian / Nigel KrikorianAcura RSX17
Did Not Start-C3Eric Nummelin / Tony Morris JrMazda RX-7-

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