Struggles at Mosport Lead to New Direction for Brass Monkey Racing



After being optimistic about their Nissan GT-R "Version 2.0," Brass Monkey Racing quickly realized that Version 3.0 can’t come soon enough for the World Challenge season. After solving reliability issues, the team now knows the direction it must go to make the car a contender, following last weekend’s struggle at Mosport International Raceway.

The new updates to the #96 and #97 Nissan/Brass Monkey Racing Nissan GT-Rs were successful in curing the cooling issues that plagued the sophisticated sequential gearbox and also provided a much-needed boost in power to the 3.8-liter turbocharged V6 engine. But reliability and power are only two components to the equation of a competitive racecar, and drivers Tony Rivera and Steve Ott struggled with handling around the sweeping corners at North America’s most daunting circuit.

The team had a small moral victory when both cars finished each race on the doubleheader weekend, something neither car did at the previous round at Long Beach. However, given the handling issues, the team must now focus on new areas of development.

"We need to really evaluate the suspension geometry and the differentials," Team Manager Rivera said. "The cars were okay at the street courses, which have a lot of slow corners and you essentially do a lot of point and shoot. Mosport, which is a lot like the next event at Watkins Glen, has sweeping corners and we just couldn’t get the cars to turn.

"Our team worked incredibly long hours and we threw just about everything we could at the cars while at the track from a setup standpoint, but nothing seemed to make a difference. It became clear to us at Mosport where we need to focus our efforts in development. Going to another race at this stage doesn’t make any sense until we’ve made some major progress in the handling department. That means that we won’t make it to Watkins Glen and Toronto.

"We’re committed to make these cars winners in World Challenge before the season is out. Doing the next stage of development publicly at the racetrack is not in anyone’s best interest, so we may need to take a hiatus from the Championship."


Mosport Race 1 (Round Four)

#96 Nissan/Brass Monkey Racing Nissan GT-R

Driver: Steve Ott

Start: 11

Finish: 13

Notes: Ott was forced to pit after the first lap, when contact with another car broke a valve stem off his wheel, necessitating a new tire.

#97 Nissan/Brass Monkey Racing Nissan GT-R

Driver: Tony Rivera

Start: 13

Finish: 10

Notes: Rivera earned the Best Standing Start for advancing the most positions on the first lap of the race (two)

Mosport Race 2 (Round Five)

#96 Nissan/Brass Monkey Racing Nissan GT-R

Driver: Steve Ott

Start: 10

Finish: 13

Notes: Ott’s car did not initially start pulling away from the grid, forcing him to start from pit lane, behind all the Touring Cars and GTS cars. Ott worked his way through the field to ninth before another valve stem was taken off with contact from another car, forcing a pit stop.

#97 Nissan/Brass Monkey Racing Nissan GT-R

Driver: Tony Rivera

Start: 14

Finish: 12

Notes: For the second-straight race, Rivera earned the Best Standing Start award for moving up five positions on lap one. He ran as high as eighth before falling back to finish 12th.

The next World Challenge Championship race is scheduled for July 2-3 at Watkins Glen International, followed two weeks later with the Honda Indy Toronto. Brass Monkey Racing plans to re-join the series for the Aug. 6-8 event at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

Brass Monkey Racing would like to thank its sponsors for their support, including Nissan, Penske Shocks, Eurotech Industries Inc., AMS Performance and Seibon Carbon. For more information, please visit


Images of Steve Ott and Tony Rivera from Mosport. Images by Mark Weber.

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Item Reviewed: Struggles at Mosport Lead to New Direction for Brass Monkey Racing Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Sean Morris