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Sep 22, 2011 / events


Here are some thoughts from C360R Team Principal Karl Thomson, in the form of a speech that would have been given if the Grand-Am Banquet at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, OH, had provided the opportunity...

"It’s a great privilege to be here celebrating Compass360’s eighth year in Grand-Am. There’s no question that our Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge is the most competitive and hard-fought road racing in America. In fact, as a fan of Touring Car racing around the world, I can tell you the competition elsewhere is no more fierce than it is in our very own paddock. This is a really great series.

That said, we came into this season at a bit of a disadvantage. Our Honda Civic Si’s are at the end of their development, and there’s really nothing more we can do to squeeze any more out of them. Not only that, but after a number of years of success, our friends in the Competition Department had make some changes to our platform to slow us down.

That put us behind a little bit, and this showed in our early results. But over the season we had some good luck where others had bad, and we got a little performance back, and so going into the season finale it was all to play for.

Now you may recall that we won last year’s championship in a nail-biter of a finale at Miller Motorsports Park, where we took the title on the basis not of wins or podiums, but of our fourth-place finish at that very event. It was that close.

Well, this year was even more exciting and I think it’s going to make for some amazing TV. Ahead and behind through pit stops, short and long stints, yellow flags, the point calculations were happening at a furious pace.

Our crew, led as always by my business partner and our team’s Technical Director Ray Lee, was simply the best I’ve ever seen, executing pit stops flawlessly. We managed to beat nearly everyone out of the pits! So congratulations and a big thank-you to all of our guys, most of whom have already returned to our Toronto base to prepare our cars for their next event, and more importantly to continue development on our new 2012 Honda Civic Si’s.

Yes, we’ll soon be debuting a new platform that we’ll be using to compete in next year’s Grand-Am season. The new car is a work-in-progress, but it looks sensational and will be a great addition to the paddock. At least it will when we can figure out where to conceal the nitrous bottle!

Seriously, I’m tremendously proud of our team. We’ve finished first or second in the championship five years running, a simply amazing feat. That’s thanks to our crew and most especially our drivers. This marks Ryan Eversley’s second year with our squad, and we have him – along with his usual co-driver Keith Carroll – to thank for this result. On many occasions he simply grabbed the #75 car by the scruff of the neck a dragged it, by pure force of will, up the leaderboard. There were many memorable performances, although my personal favourite was at VIR where he and Nico Rondet in his BMW battled through the closing half hour, trading places and fighting hard but never touching. It was an honor to stand on the podium with you that day, Ryan, and to share our team’s sole win this season.

Ryan also brought a very special opportunity to us this year, namely the chance to support the Children’s Tumor Foundation’s Racing4Reseach program. The folks at the CTF really know how to use motorsports to raise awareness, encourage donations and reward their fundraisers and other NF Heroes. At most events this year their local volunteers brought kids suffering with NF and their families to our races, and Ryan made sure each and every one of those folks felt special. Great job all year, my friend, both inside the car and out.

I’d like to offer my sincere congratulations to Nic and his co-drivers Michael and Andy, and to Russell. You Kinetic lads have done a tremendous job with what can’t have been the easiest car to develop, and turned it into a very strong package. Seeing you guys with VIPs from Kia nearly every weekend, giving them tours and getting them excited about our kind of racing... well, it makes it a little easier to stand on the second step this year. If only a little bit. See you next year!"