Cirone, from Toronto, will compete in the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin while also racing in selected events in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama series this season.
He started his 2014 race season at the 62nd annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida on March 13-14. Cirone finished the weekend with a third place and top-10 finish in the No. 88 Mark Motors Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car and was the top Platinum Masters finisher in Race One. He is using the race as a jump-start to his season.
“The car was really fast, and it was a great race for me,” Cirone said. “It gave me a chance to learn more about the 911. The team that set it up was great. It was good for my confidence and will be in my favor going forward.”
Cirone will focus on his Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin races and supplement with Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA races when his schedule allows.
“The USA series is full of great drivers, and I love the tracks,” Cirone said. “But it’s extremely difficult to race both series, and my goal is winning the Canada title.”
Not only is he balancing two series, he is balancing his work with his racing. Cirone operates a high-rise residential construction company.
“It’s a family business, and we are all so involved,” Cirone said. “We are hands’on, so I’m busy 24/7 with no rest in between. It’s a fine line, and balance is the key. My youngest brother also gives me a hard time when I’m gone, like younger brothers do.”
Cirone’s father founded the company in 1959.
His father is also partly to blame for Cirone’s love of cars. Cirone was born in Rome and moved to Canada when he was 10 years old, but his fascination with cars started way before he came to North America.
As a young boy, Cirone fell in love toy cars and then model cars when his father started bringing them back from business trips. Eventually Cirone moved from models to the real thing when he bought his first car, a Mustang GT.
“I would work on it, modify it, always doing something,” Cirone said. “Now the mechanics won’t let me touch the cars, but I have just always loved being around them.”
That love translated into a passion for racing, but his driving career didn’t start until later in life. Cirone’s relationship with IMSA started when he attended races.
“I would sit and watch these great drivers and want to be out there, but it wasn’t something that I could afford to do,” Cirone said.
That changed in 2006 when he began racing in regional events in Ontario before debuting in the Canadian Touring Car series co-driving with Robert Sabato and winning 11 of 24 races in 2007.
The following year, Cirone finished second overall in a GT series. He took a brief hiatus in 2009 before jump into the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA in 2010, when his team produced two podium finishes while consistently running up front.
“IMSA has been absolutely wonderful to us,” Cirone said. “They certainly have showed us what professionalism is in racing. I couldn’t think of anywhere else to race; they are that good.”
Cirone will team up with 2011 series champion Perry Bortolotti for the third consecutive season on the powerful Mark Motors Racing team.
“Perry is like a brother to me,” Cirone said. “He has great insights, and we work well together. It’s like racing with your best friend.”
The two will compete for Mark Motors in the first round of the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin May 17-18 at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park for the Victoria Day weekend.
Source: Grand Solutions