He just didn’t think that time would be now. But after a title-winning rookie season in 2015, why not?
Fidani, 29, from Etobicoke, Ontario, is jumping to the Platinum Cup class in 2016 during his second season in Canada’s premier sports car championship with Pfaff Motorsports after winning the Gold Cup title as a rookie in 2015. Fidani held off Michael de Quesada to earn the championship by just two points, 170-168.
“It’s how I imagined it unfolding; I just didn’t imagine it this quick,” Fidani said of his progression. “I figured it would be a couple of years in the Gold Cup class and then go from there. The plan was eventually to go up to Platinum, but how quickly I did that wasn’t in the vision yet.”
That vision will be very clear for Fidani when he lines up in the No. 13 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car at the first event of the season May 20-22 on Victoria Day Weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario.
Fidani joined the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA)-sanctioned Single-Make Series last year after one season in the Canadian Automobile Sport Clubs (CASC) Ontario regional series in a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car fielded by Pfaff Motorsports. He was a quick study, winning the GT1 Sprints and overall championships.
The learning curve continued to soar almost vertically last season, his first in IMSA competition. But Fidani quietly watched other drivers, talked with Pfaff officials and crew and soaked up plenty of knowledge shared by his teammate, series veteran and 2015 Platinum Cup champion Chris Green.
Fidani earned one victory last season, winning the season opener at CTMP. But consistency was the main ingredient of his title recipe, as he finished on the podium in eight of his 10 starts.
So with a Gold Cup Drivers Championship trophy in hand, Pfaff and Fidani decided to accelerate his career timetable and jump to Platinum Cup this year.
“The competition level is a lot higher, so I feel like I still have a lot to learn to step up against the top drivers in the Platinum class,” Fidani said. “But it’s something I’m willing to challenge.”
Fidani adjusted to the new machine through work on a simulator installed at his home. He also joined Green and fellow GT3 Canada competitors Shaun McKaigue, Marco Cirone, Michael de Quesada and Gerald Panneton at the first two rounds of the 2016 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA season in mid-March at Sebring International Raceway.
That experience helped him start to grasp the intricacies of the Platinum Cup car. Fidani cited increased speed and more responsive handling as the biggest differences from his Gold Cup machine.
Finding pace – especially in qualifying – is the biggest challenge Fidani faces in the deep end of the Platinum Cup field this year. But racing for a second consecutive season in the same series and a third straight season with Pfaff Motorsports will help him get up to speed more quickly.
Fidani also the senior Platinum Cup driver on the powerful Pfaff team, as Green is only competing in limited events.
“You feel more comfortable because you’ve done it before and because you’ve driven with a lot of these guys before,” Fidani said. “You understand how they drive. I just have a lot more that I understand now. I have answers now. I’m not going out there blind.”
But Fidani also is realistic. This is just his third year of circuit racing. He also knows the Gold Cup title from 2015 will score no extra points this year. This will be a season of building, of steady progress.
“My expectations for this year are to get up to speed and set myself up for next year,” Fidani said. “I’m going to try to compete my best and hopefully pick it up as quickly as I did last year. But I’m not going to set the bar too high this year. I more or less want to get situated with the car and get more seat time this year.”
That attitude fits perfectly with Fidani’s laid-back demeanor. He just wants to drive a fast race car, learn as much as possible and have a good time with his teammates and fellow competitors at the track on race weekends. The Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama checks every box on his wish list.
“They’re one of the faster cars that runs in Canada, and I’ve always liked Porsches,” Fidani said. “It really fits in my work schedule. I like the cars a lot, the series. Great group of drivers. IMSA does a great job, and I’m having fun. If it wasn’t fun, I wouldn’t be doing it.”
Source. LST Marketing