Canadian Tire Motorsport 120 Preview

BOWMANVILLE, Ont. – The IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge series continues this week for Michael Johnson, Stephen Simpson and the Bryan Herta Autosport (BHA) team when they head just across the border to Bowmanville, Ont. for the Canadian Tire Motorsport 120, part of the Chevrolet Grand Prix.

The two-hour race on the 2.459-mile, 10-corner Canadian Tire Motorport course is set to begin at 4:10 p.m. ET on Saturday, July 2.

All IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge races are streamed live on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold. IMSA Radio also provides live audio coverage of select Michelin Pilot Challenge practice, qualifying sessions and full-length coverage of all races.

“Coming back to Canadian Tire Motorsports Park is always a nice feeling because I spent so much time racing in Canada growing up,” said Johnson. “Canadian Tire Motorsports Park is a thrill of a track due to its high speed and elevation but also for a couple of slow corners that make it super unique. I’m excited to get back there and use our momentum from Watkins Glen and go for that podium or win. Everyone has been working extremely hard this season; I feel ready to go.”

A week ago, Johnson and Simpson ran a clean race but couldn’t break into the top three, piloting the No. 54 Universal Coating Hyundai Elantra N TCR car to a season-best fifth-place finish at the Tioga Downs Casino Resort 120 at famed Watkins Glen International in New York.

When last on the Bowmanville track, in 2019, Johnson and Simpson were leading but a full-course caution threw off the team’s strategy and they placed fifth. The 2020 race was moved to the United States, to Watkins Glen, N.Y., because of COVID-19 concerns and international travel restrictions.

The weather forecast for Saturday’s race should produce ideal conditions, with mostly sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-70s expected. Winds will be from the west at nine mph.

“I am looking forward to Motorsport this weekend after missing the last two years there,” said Simpson. “It’s a very old school racetrack. Michael and I have had a podium finish there in the past, so our goal is the same – get on that podium and  try to win one of these races. Fortunately, we only have to wait a couple of days to have another go at it.”

After a week of rest and recuperation, it’s back to the east coast for Johnson, Simpson and the BHA team, as they travel to Lakeville, Conn. for the Lime Rock 120, part of the FCP Euro Northeast Grand Prix.

The two-hour race on the 1.5-mile, seven-corner Lime Rock Park course is set to go green at 11:05 a.m. on Saturday, July 16.