Even Scott Hargrove would admit that a victory in the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama doubleheader at Montreal, Quebec’s Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve is no sure thing – there’s simply too much solid competition.
But if you check the results of the 2017 season-opener – two 45-minute sprints at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park’s (CTMP) Castrol presents the Victoria Day SpeedFest – you’ll notice that Hargrove swept them both.
And if you look at the pair of Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama races at Montreal in 2016: Tsawwassen, British Columbia’s Hargrove, the 2014 Platinum Cup season champion, won those, too.
So the numbers certainly favor Hargrove, who is leading the points in his 911 GT3 Cup Castrol-sponsored Pfaff Motorsports No. 9 entry going into Rounds 3 and 4 of series competition. But Hargrove knows he has a target on his back, and there are some fast, talented drivers taking aim at that top spot.
After all, the honor of competing on the legendary 13-turn, 2.71-mile (4.361 km) street circuit is motivation enough, but add to that the fact that the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama is supporting the Formula 1 Grand Prix du Canada, and every driver would love to have a podium finish from Montreal to add to the resume. And that especially applies to the local drivers. There are three racers entered in Platinum Cup, and two in Gold Cup, who hail from Quebec.
Etienne Borgeat from Montreal will be in the No. 2 GT Racing car, backed by Sesame/Vallier Bistro. Borgeat is one of eight Platinum Cup drivers also competing in the Platinum Masters championship, a separate contest for drivers ages 45 years and over. Borgeat finished a solid fourth overall in round four of the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama in Montreal in 2016.
Besides Borgeat, Montreal’s Patrick Dussault will be competing in Platinum Cup in the No. 77 Lauzon Autosport/GT Racing entry, as will Berthierville, Quebec’s Martin Harvey, driving the Wingho Racing No. 08 for McDonald’s and Porsche Prestige. Harvey moved up to Platinum Cup this season, which utilizes brand-new 2017 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars, from his Gold Cup entry of last season.
And speaking of Gold Cup, which consists of Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars from model year 2014 through 2016, Valerie Chiasson of Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, is returning to race the Mark Motors No. 27 entry, against fellow countryman Metod Topolnik of Saint-Lambert in the GT Racing No. 76. They’ll both be lining up against Belle River, Ontario’s Roman De Angelis in the No. 78 Mark Motors entry. Sixteen-year-old De Angelis is currently leading the Gold Cup point standings.
Likely some of Hargrove’s strongest competition is to come from Remo Ruscitti of Vancouver, British Columbia, in the OpenRoad Racing No. 69 car, and Zacharie Robichon of Ottawa, Ontario, in the No. 98 Mark Motors entry. Those two, plus the No. 31 Policaro Motorsport/Alegra Motorsportsracer Michael de Quesada, who lists his home as Tampa, Fla., pushed Hargrove the hardest at CTMP.
Eighteen-year-old de Quesada will be a driver to watch as the season progresses. His car is part of the Alegra Motorsports team, which fielded 2016 championship-winning Platinum Cup driver Daniel Morad’s entry. Both de Quesada and Morad were among the co-drivers of the Alegra Porsche 911 GT3 R that won the 2017 Rolex 24 At Daytona’s GT Daytona class.
Marco Cirone of Toronto, Ontario, driver of the No. 88 Mark Motors car, had a good run at CTMP as well, taking the Platinum Cup Masters victory in race two. In the first race, the Masters win went to Tim Sanderson of Pickering, Ontario, in the No. 07 DFC/Speedstar car. Also competing in the Platinum Cup Masters class is Pieter Baljet of Maple Bay, British Columbia, in the No. 15 Porsche Centre Victoria car.
And don’t count out Shaun McKaigue of Gilford, Ontario, driver of the FER-PAL No. 34, entry or Orey Fidani of Woodbridge, Ontario, who is driving the Orlando Corporation No. 13 entry. Both those cars are from the Pfaff Motorsports stable, just like Scott Hargrove’s Porsche, and Fidani has moved up to a Platinum Cup entry for this race. Ed Killeen of Buffalo, N.Y., is crossing the border to race still another Pfaff car, the Life Storage No. 37 entry.
Two drivers are coming up from Pennsylvania to race: Maxwell Tullman of Chester Springs will be in the No. 83, and Neal Walker of Phoenixville will drive the No. 71 entry. Both cars are from the Tullman Walker Racing stable, with sponsorship from Porsche Centre North Toronto.
Drivers will compete in two 30-minute races on the renowned street circuit, 15 minutes shorter than usual, which features a combination of long, fast straightaways, chicanes and a tight hairpin corner. Round 1 is scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m. (ET) Saturday, June 10. Round 2 is scheduled for 10 a.m. (ET) Sunday, June 11. Practice and qualifying are set for Friday, June 9.
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. 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 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Practice: 11:55 a.m. – 12:35 p.m. (EDT) Friday, June 9
Qualifying: 5:35 – 6:05 p.m. Friday, June 9
Round 1 (30 minutes): 5:30 – 6:00 p.m. Saturday, June 10
Round 2 (30 minutes): 10:00 – 10:30 a.m. Sunday, June 11
Source. LST Marketing