Want to race? A newbie’s first look at Time Attack

Photo: Giancarlo Pawelec, AutoMotoFoto.net

Photo: Giancarlo Pawelec, AutoMotoFoto.net

I woke up Sunday morning to the rumble of butterflies in my stomach and a skip in my heart. My first thought of the day as the beeping of my alarm chirped away was “I can’t believe I’m actually racing today.”

Almost two years ago, I bought my first car – a 1995 Honda Del Sol that had more drama going on under the hood than the Kardashians. I knew I wanted to drive and I knew I loved my car, but to be honest I didn’t know much else. If someone had told me that in less than two years I’d be racing competitively, I probably would have laughed in disbelief, and driven off in my overheating wreck of a “race car”.

A few months later, I joined Team SGR. Girls on the team connected me with a mechanic who convinced my troubled Del Sol to start behaving itself. I also came on board as a student of the advanced driver training program and a volunteer with the organization.

A year later, here I sat. Pulling up to the front gates of the Toronto Motorsports Park in Cayuga for the season opener of the Canadian Sport Compact Series (CSCS), enthusiastically answering “Yes – my very first Time Attack!” when asked if I was competing or spectating.

I got in the lineup to register, sandwiched between an M3 and a suped-up Scion, and had a brief moment of doubt that sounded a lot like “girl, what do you think you are doing here – are you serious?”

I hushed the voice in my head, made it through registration, the drivers meeting, and went and parked my now well-behaved race car next to my miracle mechanic at ART Motorsports.

Enter the brief moments of chaos. Empty my car. Where is my helmet? Check the oil. How is my tire pressure? Amidst the hustle, before my brain even had a chance to freak out, I was lining up for lapping sessions, seconds away from hitting the track.

With the help of SGR instructor extraordinaire Anna He in my passenger seat, guiding me and helping me smooth my movements I made great strides throughout the day.

My movements become more coordinated as I was braking and shifting into my corners, my heel-toe technique started to come together for the first time, and throughout the day I got faster and faster.

Pro-tip for the noobs: lap times are on the computer under the tech/registration tent. I was on my third lapping session before I figured that out. From my fourth to fifth lapping session, I got my lap time down to 1:36.0 from 1:39.3.

The tight schedule of 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off to rest driver and car started to wear on me early in the day. To my fellow newbies out there – I can’t tell you enough the importance of managing your energy throughout the day.

The day moved on, and before I knew it, I was back under the tech tent, making friends with my fellow drivers and awaiting the second drivers meeting of the day that laid out the rules for the Time Attack competition.

We were broken up into just over a dozen run groups, and even though I was in the first (read: slowest) bracket, I was at the head of the pack, setting the pace for my group!

A brief break, and back into the pit lanes I went.

Alone in my car, at the front of the line, about to be the first car our on to the track, and the only girl competing, my brain had the time it had been looking for all day and my nerves finally caught up to me.

Then, I was being told to pull over, to let the group I was setting pace for go ahead. I was “too fast” and being moved up into the second group with lappers who I was more closely matched with based on the times I had set in practice.

In the quiet of my purring car, away from the crowds, away from my coaches, friends and family, the butterflies were back.

Butterflies in tow, out I went to lay down my very first competition lap.

My nerves ate at my stomach as I tried to put together everything I had been working on throughout the day. Brake later at corner one, tip my weight forward into turns three and four, settle the car into the chicane, eyes up at the exit of the last corner back onto the front straight and do it all over again 3 more times.

It all came together, but my nerves cost me. My final time sat at 1:38.0 – a full 2 seconds slower than my best time in practice.

I have a long way to go and a lot to learn still, but I know that my amazing teammates, talented coaches and superstar mechanic all have my back.

To learn more about the SGR advanced driving school and how you can compete in your first time attack, check out our schedule.


Suze first joined Team SGR as an advanced driving student in 2012. She volunteers for Team SGR supporting communications, social media, and events. Suze drives a ’95 Honda Del Sol and currently hails from London, Ontario.

SGR Featured on Autoblog Canada

Team SGR Advanced Driving Delivers Mother’s Day Driving Experience At Canadian Tire Motorsports Park


Originally published on Autoblog.ca
By: Ronnie Fung
Posted May 23rd 2013 11:15AM


What better way to spend Mother’s Day than at the Driver Development Track at Mosport (aka Canadian Tire Motorsports Park) Team SGR Advanced Driving, rolled out all the stops and hosted a fantastic, fun and highly informative drivers training day. Despite the rain, cold, sleet, and ever-changing conditions on that faux-spring day, smiles and delighted faces were all around as family members, friends and instructors cheered on the visible progress of all those enrolled.


The day started out with a classroom session where everything from body position, racing lines, car control, tires and just about anything that anyone would need to know about driving on a track was discussed. There was a wide range of enrolled drivers, ranging from freshly licenced 17-year-old drivers to those who have had 40-plus years of experience. The idea of the day was to illustrate that any driver could benefit from this kind of advanced driving experience. The variety of cars on track were just as varied as the drivers’ experience levels. Ford, Mazda, Volvo, BMW, Porsche, Subaru, Toyota, Mitsubishi, Lexus and even an exotic GT40 were all represented, respectively.

Click here for the original article and full photo gallery. 



Carts and Coffee Toronto


What: Team SGR presents Carts and Coffee Toronto or follow #CartsCoffeeTO
Where/When/Time: Please check for an updated schedule on our event calendar.
Admission: Registration (for kart racing only, spectators are free)

For more information, please visit Carts and Coffee Toronto
Follow us on Twitter: @TeamSGR | @SGRnews | @CartsCoffeeTO and use hashtag #cartscoffeeTO

Your ride could be featured by our media partners at AutoMotoFoto.net, PASmag.com and StreetConceptsMag.com 

An urban gearhead’s first motorsports camping experience

261750_10151627572021187_1623090256_nMotorsports camping is a relatively foreign concept in my world.

Unlike most families growing up in the 80’s, the idea of camping, cottaging and vacation in general were pretty foreign to my Canadian-Chinese family. My childhood summers and weekends consisted of additional piano lessons, fast-track science and math classes, and the occasional cross-border trip to Buffalo.

So when Shelby, one of our instructors in training, pitched the idea to go motorsports camping at Mosport for the Victoria Day Speed Fest weekend, I enthusiastically agreed, although wasn’t quite sure what I was getting myself into. 

Fast forward four months later, we found ourselves at the top of the hill on the outside of turn two at the newly renovated Canadian Tire Motorsports Park. What better place to try motorsports camping than at a facility with brand new bathrooms?

Day one consisted of scouting and securing a spot, and setting up our tents, air mattresses and BBQ.

As the team started to arrive, the sound of practice sessions set the tone for the weekend as drivers in the Porsche GT3 Cup, Canadian Touring Car Championship, TransAm Series and Nascar Canadian Tire Series hit the track for the first time.

Friday night, we decided a track walk was in order and we found ourselves jumping over fences and crawling over tires while admiring the newly paved asphalt between turns two and five. It was a great chance to see the track up close, and for the team to break down and strategize some of the most technical components of the track.

By the time we made it back to the campsite, the sun had set, and our position at the top of the hill provided little to no protection from the wind that was fiercely blowing. After roasted marshmallows, a few drinks, and some great stories, we all turned in for the night.

We thought we were prepared, but Mother Nature had something else in mind. Who said motorsports camping was going to be easy?

Arctic. That pretty much describes my first motorsports camping experience.

While the temperatures picked back up to the mid-twenties the next day, and the rest of the group appeared unaffected by the icy nights, I remained in my layers of boots, long-sleeves and winter jackets, unable to shake off the cold in my bones from the night before.

The racing however, made up for it. The “motorsports” part of my motorsports camping experience was definitely agreeing with me more than the “camping” was.

The sounds of the Porsche GT3 cars zooming by our campsite at 8 o’clock in the morning was a brilliant and thrilling way to wake up from a cold nights sleep. Quite frankly, that experience alone made the cold nights of motorsports camping worth it.

Highlights also included celebrating with the Honda Canada factory team, and driver Scott Nicol in his first doubleheader win and meeting Amy Ruman, Trans Am Cup’s first female series-winning champion.

The pulled pork, festive music, and ice cream trucks weren’t that bad either.

When all was said and done, my very first motorsports camping experience was a success and I know there will be plenty more to come.


Anna He is the President CEO of Team SGR, an active instructor in the community, and works in marketing when she’s not on the track. Anna hails from Markham, Ontario and currently races a 1989 Honda CRX.