That's why I was so intrigued when I heard about the opportunity presented by the Nissan Micra Cup series, where two journalists have the chance to race a car designated specifically for the media on track at the same time as the series regulars. Thanks to Inside Track, I managed to meet the journalist/racer criteria. Fast forward a few weeks, and I found myself taking a break from training for the Canadian National Karting Championships, and instead on route to compete in the Nissan Micra Cup series' round in Saint-Eustache on August 15th.
I had absolutely no idea what to expect. I figured that in comparison to everything I've driven, it was probably relatively close to the manual car I use for everyday driving. Not even close – the car was a lot freer in the chassis, and experienced much more wheel spin than I had expected. Even while trying to deal with that, I enjoyed my time on track.
This series is quite unique in that it provides a great deal of seat time – most series I've seen don't give the drivers much time and it's probably one of the most frustrating things about the sport. Each session I managed to learn something new, whether it be about the car and how it handles or the track and how to attack it more
Two races were scheduled for the day. Sadly, disaster struck during the first race while on lap 18. Contact with another car sent me on a trip through the grass. I came back onto the track sideways and into the racing line. Another car couldn't avoid my spin, and then it was back into the grass.
Unfortunately the damage was bad enough that I couldn't finish the race and the turn around time was too short for the suspension to be fixed in time for the second race scheduled for that day. Instead I had to watch Race 2 from pit lane.
While I may not have been as quick as I was hoping, I did get experience as part of the media presence. Once I got over the nervousness of doing my first video interview, I'd like to think I got the hang of it quickly and could provide a unique perspective. Asking questions, and sometimes dealing with language barriers, I figured out how to compare my experience on track to those of full-time series drivers. Some of them, like Oliver Bédard (who won both races) and Kevin King, are even people I've karted with in the past.
For more coverage on my adventure in Saint-Eustache, stay tuned to the Inside Track website and look for an article in the next print edition. There will be videos of my interviews with Oliver and Kevin, along with a few others including championship contender Thanaroj Thanasitnitikate and racing rookie Chris Sahakian.
The list of people I have to thank for making this opportunity possible is endless. They were great to work with, very well organized and took great care of me over the weekend. Didier Marsaud, Roxane Barry, Eric Cote, the whole Nissan Micra Cup series and Inside Track all deserve a huge shout out, because without them I wouldn't have had this great experience. Many thanks to Arai Americas and JRP for outfitting me for the race, along with everyone who has contributed to my 2015 crowd funding campaign, because without you I wouldn't be racing.
By Taegen Poles