Wittmer eager to race

DEAN MCNULTY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:05 AM ET

BOWMANVILLE -- From the time Kuno Wittmer was 15 years old he dreamed of being on the top step of the podium accepting the championship trophy in one of sports car racing's elite series.

Today at Mosport International Raceway, the Hudson, Que., native is closer than ever to reaching the goal he has carried with him these past 11 years. He will strap himself into the No. 44 Acura/RealTime/Red Line Oil Acura TSX for the Victoria Day Speedfest Weekend at Mosport's famed road course.

Wittmer is sixth in the SPEED World Challenge Touring Car championship, a point out of fifth, and that is after the team had a DNF at the season opener at Sebring.

He bounced back at the next race at New Jersey Motorsports Park's Thunderbolt Raceway where put the No. 44 Acura on the pole.

"Coming from Sebring, I didn't have a top-10 starting position in qualifying, so we opted to stay in pit lane until about 30 seconds after the last car left to get a clear track," Wittmer said.

The only glitch in the process was that he lost a coin toss that inverted the top five qualifiers, leaving him in the fifth starting spot.

He wound up fourth when the checkered flag dropped.

"It is really difficult to pass at Thunderbolt," he said. "So I considered fourth a good result."

The 26-year-old hopes that he can get the same sort of jump today when qualifying laps are done at Mosport.

And Wittmer has reason to expect a good run on what he considers a home track.

"I love this track (Mosport)," he said. "I have raced here so many times since I started driving. It's a world-class track. No matter where I go, whether it is Japan or Europe, when people find out I'm from Montreal and Canada they ask me about Mosport."

He did some shakedown laps yesterday on the 3.95-kilometre road course and declared the car ready for today's qualifying and tomorrow's race.

"We were turning laps equal to those we ran last year here, in the one-minute, 29-second range," Wittmer said. "So I feel pretty confident we will be even faster (today)."

Wittmer will be doing double duty today and tomorrow at Mosport. He will team up with younger brother Nick Wittmer, 24, to race in the Castrol Canadian Touring Car Championship.

"It's a great series for young Canadian drivers to get some top sports car racing experience," he said. "I am happy to help out by going down there to race and happier even that I get to race with Nick."

The pair will drive Honda Civics for the Montreal-based Lombardi Honda Racing team.

Also on tap at Mosport is the return of the big horsepower Trans Am series, with quailfying today and racing tomorrow.

DEAN.MCNULTY@SUNMEDIA.CA


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