The first doubleheader of the single-make series’ ninth season is part of the annual Victoria Day SpeedFest at the 2.459-mile, 10-turn circuit. The expected 17-car field races first on Saturday at 10:55 a.m. ET with the second race on Sunday at 11:55 a.m. ET.
Last year’s series champion – Zach Robichon – has moved onto IMSA’s flagship WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, so there will be a new face atop the podium in 2019 at the end of the year and also at CTMP, as Robichon won all four rounds there in 2018.
The question is who will that new driver be?
The easy frontrunner would be Roman De Angelis who returns to Mark Motors Racing in 2019. The 18-year-old finished runner up in each of the four rounds at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park last year to his teammate Robichon and was second in the championship standings.
De Angelis also competes in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama with Kelly-Moss Road and Race and has won three of the four rounds so far this year in that series. The youngster from Belle River, Ontario is seeking to win both championship titles in 2019.
“This is a big year for Mark Motors Racing,” said Mark Motors Group Executive Vice President Liza Mrak. “We have the pressure of coming off a winning year and of course, wanting to keep that spot in 2019. Roman is part of the winning recipe and we have full faith that he has what it takes to get us there.”
Also contesting both the GT3 Cup Challenge Canada and USA championships will be Parker Thompson with SCB Racing, Alan Metni with Kelly-Moss/AM Motorsports and Jeff Kingsley with Policaro Motorsport.
Kingsley is the only driver of the three with experience in GT3 Cup north of the border. He returns with Policaro as part of the team’s two-car entry, with Ethan Simioni behind the wheel of the second Porsche following a championship-winning season in the 2018 Canadian Touring Car Championship. Policaro also will be sporting a special tribute livery to Policaro’s 40th anniversary, which coincides with IMSA’s 50th anniversary season being celebrated this year.
Others returning for their sophomore seasons in GT3 Cup Challenge Canada are Michael Fantin with Engineered Automotive and Michael Di Meo with OpenRoad Racing.
The all-Quebec team of Lauzon Autosport returns to the GT3 Cup Challenge Canada grid. Patrick Dussault is back driving an eye-catching “Art Car” livery designed by Mario Adornetto, featuring popping colors and a lion on the hood of the race car. Dussault’s teammate Etienne Borgeat – who last year set a record for the most podiums achieved in one weekend (four) at the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal – will pilot a similar Art Car adorned with Adornetto’s work.
For fans of the series, the iconic McDonald’s-liveried Porsche of Martin Harvey returns, as he and a handful of others – including Borgeat, Metni and Mark Motors teammates Perry Bortolotti and Marco Cirone – are contesting the Platinum Masters championship for drivers 45 years and older.
As always, familiar faces in the field will be joined by a wealth of new drivers and teams diving into the racing pool or rejoining the series after a hiatus.
One such team is Pfaff Motorsports, with Sam Fellows and Shaun McKaigue each piloting Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars. Fellows – a rookie to the series – is the son of legendary Canadian racer Ron Fellows, while McKaigue – one of the first drivers in the series in 2011 – is a two-time GT3 Cup Challenge Canada Gold class champion, taking those titles in 2011 and 2016.
“Racing in a single-make championship like the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama is a tremendous opportunity,” said Fellows. “The level of competition is high and it has been a proven stepping stone for young drivers. I know I have a steep learning curve in front of me, but I’ve trained hard this off-season, so I feel confident and ready to take this step.”
Jean Audet with Grand TIMES Hotel Motorsport and Marc Raymond as part of SCB Racing’s multiple-car effort are also new to the GT3 Cup Challenge Canada grid in 2019.
Race 1 on Saturday will be streamed live on the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama Facebook page (@Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada). For the remainder of the weekend timing and scoring will be available on http://www.timing.imsa.com.
To keep up with news and updates on GT3 Cup Challenge Canada this weekend and the rest of the year, follow along on IMSA.com, Porsche.com/Canada or on social media using the hashtags #IMSA and #GT3Canada.