The Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama starts its sixth season on Castrol Presents The Victoria Day SpeedFest Weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP) with a new look, in more ways than one.
Two 45-minute races will take place for Canada’s top sports car series May 20-22 at CTMP. Round 1 starts at 2:45 p.m. Saturday, May 21, with Round 2 at 11:30 a.m. Sunday, May 22. Practice and qualifying take place Friday, May 20 on the 10-turn, 2.459-mile (3.957 km) course.
The first major change for the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA)-sanctioned Single-Make Series is a switch to Yokohama tires. [MJ1] [PK2] The Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama series has competed on Yokohama tires since 2009, and the move to Yokohama by the Canadian series will allow both championships to race simultaneously on the same track for the first time, in June at Montreal and in July at Watkins Glen.
Another change is the return of the Silver Cup class for the first time since 2014, this time featuring the new Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport race car. The Silver Cup Cayman cars will race simultaneously with Platinum Cup and Gold Cup classes in Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars at both events at CTMP and also at series events in Toronto and Trois-Rivières, Quebec.
It’s also guaranteed there will be new driver champions in the Platinum Cup and Gold Cup classes.
Chris Green broke through with his first Platinum Cup championship last season in a Porsche fielded by Toronto-area powerhouse Pfaff Motorsports. Green, from Montreal, launched his title-winning campaign with two victories on Victoria Day Weekend at CTMP.
But Green is racing only a partial season in the championship in 2016. So a queue of contenders has formed to succeed him, led by young stars Daniel Morad and Scott Hargrove.
Morad, 26, from Thornhill, Ontario, finished second in the Platinum Cup standings last season as a rookie, just five points behind Green. He returns for a second consecutive season with reigning Platinum Cup Team Champions Alegra/Porsche Centre Oakville Motorsports.
Hargrove, 21, from Surrey, British Columbia, won the Platinum Cup championship as a rookie in 2014 and won seven of the last eight races of the 2015 season after missing the Victoria Day Weekend rounds at CTMP. He returns this season in the No. 28 OpenRoad Racing Porsche for a third straight season.
The two races at CTMP will be part of a whirlwind month of action for Hargrove. He competed in Indy Lights open-wheel races May 13-14 on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and will return again to race May 27 in Indy Lights action on the IMS oval, sandwiching his trip to CTMP between those races.
Other top contenders in the Platinum Cup class include three-time reigning Platinum Masters champion Marco Cirone of Toronto, who will contend regularly for overall podium positions in the No. 88 Mark Motors Racing Porsche. Platinum Masters standout Tim Sanderson, from Pickering, Ontario, also returns in the No. 07 NW Atlantic Motorsports Porsche. Series veteran Etienne Borgeat, from Montreal, returns in the No. 2 GT Racing Porsche after racing a limited schedule in 2015.
Four Platinum Cup newcomers also will grab attention.
Orey Fidani and Michael de Quesada both are climbing to Platinum Cup this season after waging an intense fight for the Gold Cup title last year as series rookies. Fidani prevailed by just two points, 170-168.
Fidani, from Etobicoke, Ontario, will continue with Pfaff Motorsports in the team’s No. 13 Porsche.
De Quesada, 16, from Tampa, Florida, will try to show the speed in the No. 16 Alegra Motorsports Porsche that he displayed while winning the last six Gold Cup rounds of the 2015 season. De Quesada also is competing in Gold Cup this season in the USA series, where he leads the standings after the first four rounds.
Valerie Chiasson will make her series debut at CTMP as the first full-time female competitor in the history of the championship. Touring car veteran Chiasson, from Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, will step up to drive the No. 27 Porsche Prestige entry.
Zach Robichon, from Ottawa, joins Mark Motors Racing in the team’s No. 78 Porsche as Cirone’s teammate.
Series veterans Martin Harvey and Shaun McKaigue look to be the top returning drivers in the Gold Cup class. Harvey, from Berthierville, Quebec, will drive his Wingho Racing entry. 2011 Gold Cup champion McKaigue, from Gilford, Ontario, returns for another season in a Fiorano Racing Porsche.
Bruno Chapinotti, from Bowmanville, Ontario, also will begin his second season in the series and his Gold Cup championship quest in the No. 03 Downtown Porsche entry.
Series newcomer Gerald Panneton, from Terra Cotta, Ontario, leads the charge in the Silver Cup class in the new No. 57 Cayman GT4 Clubsport car fielded by Pfaff Motorsports. Toronto-based SCB Racing also is returning to the series after a one-year hiatus with two Silver Cup entries, for series veteran Andrew Danyliw of Toronto and newcomer Jordan Redlin, from Aldergrove, British Columbia.
The Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama produces intense, exciting competition for semi-professional and aspiring professional drivers in the world’s most produced and iconic race car, the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, and the new Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport. The championship is one of 20 global Porsche single-make Cup Racing series and is the perfect platform for aspiring drivers to ascend to the highest levels of GT competition, such as the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
CTMP is the only circuit that hosts two event weekends for the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama. The final two rounds of the 12-round series take place during the Chevrolet Silverado 250 weekend on Sept. 2-4. The series also races in Montreal; Watkins Glen, New York; Toronto and Trois-Rivières, Quebec.
Practice 1: 8:40-9:20 a.m. (ET) Friday, May 20
Practice 2: 12:40-1:20 p.m. Friday, May 20
Qualifying: 4:15-4:35 p.m. Friday, May 20
Round 1 (45 minutes): 2:45-3:30 p.m. Saturday, May 21
Round 2 (45 minutes): 11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Sunday, May 22
Driver Autograph Session: 11:15-11:45 a.m. Saturday, May 21, Yokohama Tire Service Center in paddock
Source. LST Markeing