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Robichon on IMSA-Wide Success: “One Lap at a Time”

If sports car fans didn’t know Zacharie Robichon’s name at the start of 2018, they sure do now.

The 26-year-old from Ottawa, Ontario, has turned heads this year with his success across three IMSA platforms – the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama, Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama and IMSA Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda.

His full-time gig at the beginning of the season came with Porsche GT3 Cup Canada in the No. 98 Mark Motors Racing Porsche. With 11 wins and eight pole positions in 12 races, Robichon was crowned the series’ Platinum class champion this past weekend during the season finale at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP).

“The team has done a fantastic job, and I think more than anything, they’ve given me confidence,” said Robichon, who led 84 percent of the competition laps this year (295 of 350). “I’ve been with (Mark Motors) for three years, and they’ve had more confidence in me than I’ve had in myself. Because of that, I think after (the season-opener at) Sebring I took a step back and I said, ‘These guys are doing so much for me, and they have so much experience. If they believe in me as much as this, I just need to enjoy where I’m at.’”

Robichon’s success in the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car landed him on the radar for other teams, and not just ones in Canada. When Austin, Texas-based Porsche GT3 Cup USA team Moorespeed found itself needing a replacement driver midway through the season, they tabbed Robichon to be their guy for the eight remaining rounds in 2018.

Robichon has started from the pole and won each of the four Porsche GT3 Cup USA races he’s competed in since sliding in the team’s No. 19 Porsche, leading 77 of the 89 laps (87 percent) he’s turned in the series so far.

Without hesitation, Robichon credits the manufacturer for his success in Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge.

“Ever since I was a kid, I’ve loved the brand,” he said. “There’s just something about it. The one thing I’ve learned to appreciate more the last three years that I’ve been racing with them is their passion for the brand itself and for racing. We see with Porsche Canada and Porsche Motorsports, they have a whole setup supporting racing because the brand entity is in racing.

“To be a part of that is a special feeling. To have that support as a driver allows you to perform at that level because you know everybody’s there and everybody’s for you and everybody wants you to succeed. It’s really a cool thing and hopefully something that we can keep.”

While his “heart and soul is with Porsche,” Robichon stepped outside his comfort zone this year, trying his hand in an LMP3 car in IMSA’s Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda. Co-driving with David Baker in the No. 4 ANSA Motorsports race car since the series’ second race at Sebring International Raceway in February, it’s been a learning curve for Robichon.

Yet if the team’s results are any indication, a trip to the top step of the podium may be imminent. After finishing 13th at Sebring, Robichon and Baker have improved upon their finishing position with each race: eighth at Barber Motorsports Park, fourth at CTMP and most recently second at VIRginia International Raceway two weeks ago, a result that was sandwiched between two Porsche GT3 Cup USA victories that weekend.

Robichon described his mentality when running multiple series on the same race weekend.

“What I did last week or what I did yesterday doesn’t matter on the day of,” he said. “That’s the way I’ve been doing it at every race. At VIR, Saturday morning we won the Porsche GT3 Cup race, and then Saturday evening I had the LMP3 race. It was literally about that GT3 race didn’t matter. The people I’m racing with could not care less about what I was doing earlier in the day. I just have to reset and do what I can and do my best.”

Still living in Ottawa, Robichon admits the challenges of balancing three different series, especially when two are primarily based in the United States.

“I haven’t spent more than two nights at home since before the WeatherTech Championship weekend at CTMP the first week of July,” said Robichon. “But I’m not complaining because it’s been great. It’s about literally taking it one lap at a time.

“It doesn’t matter what car I’m in, what series I’m in, or where I’m racing, you can’t take anything for granted. It’s a whole new challenge. Sort of the bad situation about the success is that every single person is trying to beat you. Everybody is watching you, and you know what, I love it because it ups everybody’s game because everybody is driving better. It just makes me get even better. It’s been a lot of fun.”

Robichon’s fun in Porsche GT3 Cup USA and the IMSA Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda isn’t over just yet. In two weeks, he’ll travel to Sonoma Raceway for a pair of Porsche races, with the season finale for both championships set for Road Atlanta on October 10 – 13.

And with any luck, the exposure and success across the three IMSA series may hopefully land Robichon where he wants to be – the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

“The goal has always been, and it still remains, to run in the WeatherTech Championship,” Robichon said. “I’ve never hidden the fact that’s where I want to go, and that’s very much still where I’d like to be. Is that going to happen in the future? I don’t know, but there’s one thing I’ve always done, and that’s to keep trying and keep plugging away, and I plan on doing the same thing. Hopefully, the opportunity comes up.”

Source. IMSA

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