Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama 2019 season finale
MONT-TREMBLANT, Quebec, Oct. 01, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- This past weekend the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama was held at the famed Circuit Mont-Tremblant for the final two races of the season.
“The GT3 Cup Challenge delivered more than ever as an advanced driver development series and proves again this year that it is one of the best ways to climb into Motorsport car racing,” said Marc Ouayoun, President & CEO, Porsche Cars Canada, Ltd. “Many thanks and congratulations to our partners, dealers, and teams for this tremendous season.”
September 28, 2019 – First race
With the drop of the green flag on Saturday’s Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama race at Circuit Mont-Tremblant, 18-year-old Roman De Angelis earned his first Platinum class championship in the series.
Driving the No. 79 Mark Motors Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup racecar, De Angelis only had to start the race to secure the title as he entered the season-finale weekend with an impressive 58-point margin in the championship standings.
The youngster from Belle River, Ontario, was the first car to the green flag and the first car to the checkered flag as he led for the entirety of the first 45-minute race of the weekend.
“I still don’t feel like it’s over,” said De Angelis, who previously won the 2017 GT3 Cup Challenge Canada Gold class championship. “I came into the weekend knowing that I just had to start anyway, so even then I didn’t really think about it. I guess tomorrow night I’ll see how it feels.
De Angelis’ path to the championship has mirrored that of his Mark Motors teammate last year, Zacharie Robichon. The two have been friends for longer than their Mark Motors days, since Robichon coached De Angelis when he ran Formula Ford several years ago. Last year, Robichon collected 11 wins in 12 races – with De Angelis taking the outlier.
Robichon joined the top-tier IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship ranks this year in the GT Daytona (GTD) class and two weeks ago, was crowned the sole champion of the inaugural WeatherTech Sprint Cup, which consisted of all GTD races two-hours, 40-minutes in length or shorter.
“When I joined Mark Motors, it was pretty cool to be teammates with him in Gold and then obviously last year,” said De Angelis. “It means a lot to have someone like Zach mentor me, even this year he has helped me a lot.”
Earning his best finish of the season was series rookie Ethan Simioni in the No. 40 Policaro Motorsports Porsche after starting from the third position. Local Quebecker Patrick Dussault in the No. 77 Lauzon Autosport Porsche also moved up one position at the start to finish third on the podium in front of his home crowd.
Another title was also secured following Saturday’s race, with Marco Cirone earning his sixth Platinum Masters championship in GT3 Cup Challenge Canada. The race didn’t go as planned for the No. 88 Mark Motors Porsche, as they opted for Yokohama slicks ahead of potentially drier conditions. However, a consistent light rain forced the team to pit for wet tires and ended their chances for victory.
“I really have to thank Michael and Liza Mrak for bringing me back this season,” said Cirone. “They have been so wonderful in their efforts and contributions to the series. Moreover, countless thanks to my team for putting up with me all the time. It’s been a fantastic year and I can’t wait for next season.”
Winning Saturday’s race in the Platinum Masters category was the No. 37 TPC Racing Porsche of Michael Levitas. The Pikesville, Maryland local started third of Platinum Masters drivers and 10th overall on the grid ahead of his seventh race of the season. His move up to a sixth-place finish also earned him the Yokohama Tire Hard Charger Award for gaining the most positions in the race.
Finishing second in Platinum Masters was Perry Bortolotti in the No. 84 Mark Motors Porsche. Scoring his first podium position of the season was another newcomer to the series, Jean Audet, driving the No. 67 Porsche for Grand TIMES Hotel Motorsports.
September 29, 2019 – Second race
It was the perfect ending to a perfect season on Sunday for Roman De Angelis in Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama.
In the final race of the year at Circuit Mont-Tremblant, De Angelis started second on the grid in his No. 79 Mark Motors Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup racecar to Parker Thompson.
Thompson, in the No. 3 SCB Racing Porsche, led for nearly all of the 45-minute contest – including over a captivating battle amongst the top five competitors, all within one second of each other with 10 minutes remaining – but succumbed to De Angelis with three minutes remaining.
It was De Angelis’ 11th first-place trophy this year out of 12 races and came one day after securing his first GT3 Cup Challenge Canada Platinum Class championship.
“It definitely wasn’t unentertaining,” said 18-year-old De Angelis. “I worked pretty hard to make Parker make a mistake, but Parker did an awesome job as always. I was finally able to get him with an old Formula Ford move that we use to use here also with the draft on the back straightaway. I made the move and was able to pull a bit of a gap. It was an awesome race, pretty entertaining up to the last few laps.”
This is De Angelis’ second GT3 Cup Challenge Canada championship in three years with Mark Motors Racing, after winning the Gold Class championship in 2017. He credited the team following the race and especially teammate Marco Cirone, who captured a sixth GT3 Cup Challenge Canada Platinum Masters championship of his own on Saturday as well.
“The last three seasons, it’s been phenomenal,” said De Angelis. “A perfect season not only for myself, but for the team with Marco winning the Platinum Masters championship. I can’t thank Marco enough for all of the advice the past three years and before that. So, a perfect year and I couldn’t ask for a better team to be around me.”
Thompson held on for a second-place finish, which coupled with a fourth-place showing on Saturday, elevated him to second behind De Angelis in the 2019 championship standings as well.
Finishing third on Sunday was rookie Ethan Simioni in the No. 40 Policaro Motorsport Porsche. Simioni has had an impressive run in the second half of the season, finishing on the podium in the last four consecutive races. The podium streak moved him to fifth overall in the final championship standings.
Meanwhile, coming home in fourth place on Sunday after a difficult Race 1 on Saturday, was Jeff Kingsley in the No. 16 Porsche for Policaro Motorsport. Kingsley started eighth on the grid and moved up four spots to earn the final Yokohama Tire Hard Charger Award of the season. The award is given to the driver in the field who gained the most positions over the course of the race.
Also having an infinitely better Race 2 was De Angelis’ teammate and the 2019 Platinum Masters Class champion, Marco Cirone in the No. 88 Mark Motors Porsche. Weather and strategy calls plagued the No. 88 team throughout Saturday’s race, forcing them to finish last on the charts.
But a spectacular bounce back on Sunday ended with a win, Marco’s seventh of the season. However, it didn’t come without its own set of trials.
“Today I had it set in my head I was going to go out there and give it all I can, the last race I really wanted to prove a point,” said Cirone. “However, I had a little incident where I lost my splitter and came in during a caution. The boys taped it up – I don’t know how it stayed on – and amazingly, the car got faster.
Saturday’s Platinum Masters winner, Michael Levitas in the No. 37 TPC Racing Porsche, finished second in the final race and coming home in third was Cirone’s Mark Motors teammate Perry Bortolotti in the No. 84 Porsche.
Completing his rookie season in GT3 Cup Challenge Canada was Sam Fellows, driver of the No. 35 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche. Fellows – son of legendary sports car driver Ron Fellows – secured the Gold Class championship after racing six events this year.
“My dad and I, when we were talking about where is the best place to learn in Canada, for him it was the Player’s Challenge and Porsche 944 Rothmans Turbo Cup back then,” Fellows explained. “This is the best place to learn I think, and my dad and I agree. We wanted to be here.”
Fans can re-watch several of the 2019 races on the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada Facebook page and keep up with news over the offseason on IMSA.com and on social media using the hashtag #GT3Canada.
Drivers and teams celebrated the season finale, receiving championship trophies and other awards during the Porsche GT3 Cup Canada banquet on Sunday afternoon. Porsche Cars Canada, Ltd. presented the Spirit of Speed award, traditionally presented to an individual or group that best represents the true racing spirit of Porsche, to Michael Di Meo. He worked tirelessly to race this season and proved his efforts on the track, where he also won the overall season Hard Charger award from Yokohama with 28 position increases.
A banquet was held to commemorate the season at Le Pont Couvert in Mont-Tremblant, QC. For the sixth consecutive year, the winner of the series was awarded the use of a Porsche 911 for one year. Marc Ouayoun handed the key to a new 911 Carrera to Roman DeAngelis which he will be able to enjoy for the next 12 months.
“Roman has proven his talent and masterfully claimed a near-perfect season at the beautiful backdrop that is Mont-Tremblant,” added Ouayoun. “He will now be driving into the sunset in a brand new 911 which he will get to keep for a year.”
The series will make its return in 2020 at the annual Victoria Day SpeedFest at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on May 15-17.
To keep up with GT3 Cup Challenge Canada news and updates for the remainder of the season, please visit IMSA.com or Porsche.com/Canada and join the conversation on social media using the hashtags #GT3Canada and #IMSA.
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About Porsche Cars Canada, Ltd.
Established in 2008, Porsche Cars Canada, Ltd. (PCL) is the exclusive importer and distributor of the Porsche 911, 718 Boxster and 718 Cayman; Panamera; as well as Cayenne and Macan. Headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, since 2017, PCL employs a team of more than 50 in sales, aftersales, finance, marketing, network development, and public relations. They, in turn, work to provide Porsche customers with a best-in-class experience in keeping with the brand's 70-year history of leadership in the advancement of vehicle performance, safety, and efficiency. In 2019, a Parts Distribution Centre will open its doors and service the countrywide network of 19 Porsche Centres. PCL is the dedicated subsidiary of Porsche AG, headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany. In 2018, Porsche sold an unprecedented 8,904 units in Canada, up 7.9% over the prior year.
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