DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (April 15, 2015) – After capturing two consecutive Platinum Masters Driver Championships in the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin, veteran driver Marco Cirone and Mark Motors Racing are gearing up to accomplish an unprecedented third championship in a row.
But this quest comes with new challenges.
One challenge will be adapting to the departure of veteran teammate Perry Bortolotti, while welcoming young charger Harry Steenbakkers under the tent. Bortolotti has been one of Cirone’s closest friends for quite some time and has made an impact in Cirone’s success.
“Perry is like a brother to me,” Cirone said. “We enjoyed our time racing together. We learned a lot from each other, and he has helped me so much with my driving. Perry is a very intelligent race car driver, and I will definitely miss him this year. He will be coming out and cheering us on, as he will always be a part of the team.”
Steenbakkers brings fresh talent to Mark Motors Racing, and Cirone is looking forward to the arrival of his new teammate.
“Of course, I am definitely looking forward to working with my new teammate, Harry Steenbakkers,” Cirone said. “I know he’s quite a talented young driver, and I hope we can both learn from each other. I see nothing but success for our team in the future.”
Cirone, from Toronto, joined Mark Motors Racing in 2013 after racing the first two seasons of the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin with 6th Gear Racing. Bortolotti helped attracted Cirone to the team, based in Ottawa.
“We seemed to hit it off right away,” Cirone said of the Mark Motors team. “I liked their whole mentality and how they wanted to move the racing team forward. It has been nothing but positive since the beginning. They have contributed so much to the series and to the team. I have been so fortunate to have them on board, and I think everyone is fortunate to be surrounded by Mark Motors Racing.”
Cirone won the Platinum Masters division in six of his 10 starts last season to hold off Carlos de Quesada for the championship. He also has started the last two seasons with a Platinum Masters victory in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama opener at Sebring, Florida.
“Racing the guys in the U.S. is always challenging,” Cirone said. “I think it’s always good to get in the car during the winter time because I feel that if you don’t do any testing, then it is really easy to get rusty by the time May rolls around. It’s extremely important to stay sharp and practice in the offseason, and that’s what Sebring gave me a chance to do.”
Those wins have provided a solid springboard for growing confidence entering the Canadian season for Cirone.
“I think we have all the tools to repeat for a third title,” Cirone said. “We have had another year of experience under our belt. The team has grown a lot, and the drivers have learned from each other. Obviously, more experience means less mistakes and more consistency. I’m hoping that we’ll keep improving from last year.”
The 2015 Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin series starts on Victoria Day Weekend, May 15-17, at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario.
For updates on the series, follow @IMSA on Twitter with the hashtag #GT3CAN and on Facebook. The latest news can be found by visiting IMSA.com.
Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin: The Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin enters its fifth season in 2015 ready to produce more 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 International Motor Sports Association (IMSA)-sanctioned series is one of Porsche’s 20 global single-make Cup Challenge series and is the perfect platform for aspiring drivers to ascend to the highest levels of GT competition, such as the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
Racing is divided into two classes – Platinum Cup, featuring the 2014 and 2015 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, which is based on the seventh, and current, generation of the street car; and Gold Cup, which is comprised of the previous iteration (model years 2010-2013) of the race car. A Masters Championship also is conducted in the Platinum class. Each class is awarded with its own podium at the end of every race and individual champion at the end of every season. Points are awarded by finish in class.
ABOUT IMSA: The International Motor Sports Association, LLC (IMSA) was originally founded in 1969 with a long and rich history in sports car racing. Today, IMSA is the sanctioning body of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, the premier sports car racing series in North America. IMSA also sanctions the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge and the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda, as well as four single-make series: Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama; Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin; Ferrari Challenge North America; and Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America. IMSA – a company within the NASCAR Holdings group – is the exclusive strategic partner in North America with the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), which operates the 24 Hours of Le Mans as a part of the FIA World Endurance Championship. The partnership enables selected TUDOR Championship competitors to earn automatic entries into the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans.
From: Paul Kelly // email@example.com