The tight race for the Platinum Cup championship will rage on among three young Canadian stars as the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama competes July 15-17 on one of the biggest stages in Canadian motorsport.
Just eight points separate Scott Hargrove, Daniel Morad and Zach Robichon entering Rounds 7 and 8 of the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA)-sanctioned Single-Make Series at Honda Indy Toronto, the Verizon IndyCar Series event on the streets of Toronto. The series starts the second half of its 12-round season in Canada’s largest city.
Round 7 is scheduled to start at 6:05 p.m. (ET) Saturday, July 16. Round 8 is scheduled for 12:40 p.m. Sunday, July 17. Practice is scheduled for Friday, July 15, with qualifying at 10:45 a.m. Saturday, July 16.
Hargrove, from Surrey, British Columbia, leads the Platinum Cup standings with 104 points in the No. 28 OpenRoad Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car. 2014 Platinum Cup champion Hargrove also has produced a series-high three victories in six starts this season.
The Toronto event will mark a third consecutive weekend of Porsche Cup competition for OpenRoad Racing in three countries for Hargrove, 21.
Hargrove won and finished second in the two rounds of combined Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA and Canada competition June 30-July 2 at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, New York. Hargrove then traveled to Buriram, Thailand, and won and finished second in two rounds of Porsche Carrera Cup Asia competition July 9-10 at the Chang International Circuit.
At Toronto, Daniel Morad will look to gain ground on Hargrove in the No. 17 Porsche Centre Oakville/Alegra Motorsports Porsche. Morad, from Toronto, won Round 5 at Watkins Glen and finished second to Hargrove in Round 6. Morad also won Round 1 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP).
Morad, 26, is second in Platinum Cup points with 99, just five behind Hargrove.
Past history is no indication of whether Hargrove and Morad will prevail this weekend. Both earned a victory in two rounds last season on the streets of Toronto.
Rookie Robichon, 24, has impressed this season with consistency and speed in the No. 78 Mark Motors Racing Porsche. He won Round 2 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and has finished third in four of his other five starts.
Robichon, from Ottawa, is third in the Platinum Cup championship with 96 points.
A spoiler to Hargrove, Morad and Robichon could emerge this weekend on the 11-turn, 1.755-mile (2.824 km) temporary street circuit.
Pfaff Motorsports plans to enter its No. 9 Porsche for reigning Platinum Cup champion Chris Green, who will make his season debut in the Canadian series at Toronto. Green, from Montreal, is running a limited schedule of Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama races this season and earned his first victory in that series July 1 at Watkins Glen, finishing third overall behind Hargrove and Morad.
Another driver who will contend for a podium position this weekend is three-time reigning Platinum Masters champion Marco Cirone.
Cirone, from Toronto, leads the class again this season by 12 points over Tim Sanderson, with five victories in six starts. He also is fourth in the Platinum Cup standings in the No. 88 Mark Motors Racing Porsche, with a second-place finish in Round 4 at Montreal and a third-place finish in Round 2 at CTMP.
Series veteran Etienne Borgeat, from Montreal, will look for his first podium finish of the season in the No. 2 GT Racing Porsche at Toronto. He is fifth in the standings with 71 points.
Valerie Chiasson also will attract attention at Toronto in her No. 27 GT Racing Porsche. Chiasson, from Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, is the first female full-season competitor in the six-year history of the series.
In the Gold Cup class, Shaun McKaigue will look to continue his resurgent season. 2011 Gold Cup champion McKaigue, from Gilford, Ontario, leads the class with 78 points and three victories in the No. 34 Fiorano Racing Porsche.
Bruno Chapinotti, from Bowmanville, Ontario, is second with 72 points and a victory in the No. 03 DFC Motorsport Porsche.
Martin Harvey, from Berthierville, Quebec, is third in points with 66 in the No. 08 Wingho Racing Porsche. But Harvey is carrying momentum into Toronto after winning the Canadian Gold Cup class in both combined rounds at Watkins Glen. He also swept both rounds last season at Toronto.
The Silver Cup class, featuring the new Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport race car, returns for its first two rounds since the season opener May 20-22 at CTMP.
Andrew Danyliw, from Toronto, won Rounds 1 and 2 on Victoria Day Weekend in the No. 38 SCB Racing Porsche. Gerald Panneton, from Terra Cotta, Ontario, finished second in both races in the No. 57 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche.
For more information about Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama, visit http://www.imsa.com, follow hashtag #GT3CAN @IMSA on Twitter or IMSA on Facebook.
Practice: 12:15-12:45 p.m. (ET) and 6:15-6:45 p.m. Friday, July 15
Qualifying: 10:45-11:15 a.m. Saturday, July 16
Round 7 (45 minutes): 6:05-6:50 p.m. Saturday, July 16
Round 8 (45 minutes): 12:40-1:25 p.m. Sunday, July 17
Driver Autograph Session: 4-4:30 p.m. Saturday, July 16, Yokohama Tire Service Centre in Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama paddock
Source. LST Marketing