BRASELTON, Ga., (July 31, 2013) – When GT Racing team owner Eric Cote studied aeronautics in college his main focus was keeping planes in the air. After discovering his passion for motorsports, he began the opposite process of working to keep Porsche 911s stuck to the ground.
For the most part Cote says the principle is the same, just flipped upside down. If inverting his skills was not enough of a challenge, now he is working with two Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin drivers who are polar opposites. JF Laberge, with a background in Formula cars, has a different approach to braking zones and entering corners than his teammate Etienne Borgeat. Borgeat’s aggressiveness at the wheel differs from Laberge’s smooth driving style in the cockpit.
Off the track Borgeat is reserved while Laberge is not afraid to voice his opinions. The only similarity between the two may be their stellar 2012 performances. Each driver earned four wins, but Laberge ultimately claimed the 2012 Platinum Cup championship, just three points ahead of Borgeat.
“Last year we would bump each other and were racing like crazy every race,” Laberge said. “But at the end of the season I won the championship and invited him [Borgeat] to dinner. We had a chat and talked about sharing data and tips for how we drive on track.”
The Montreal natives decided to join forces for 2013 and were eager for the season to begin. However, both struggled opening weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. The team was not used to the new Michelin tires at that point, but by the second time visiting the historic track GT Racing had it all figured out.
At the Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix July 19-21, Laberge and Etienne regained their luster. In Race Two, Laberge took the checkers for the first time since his last win of the 2012 season at Calabogie. And until the final turn of the last lap, it appeared Borgeat would join him on the podium.
Borgeat started from sixth position and chipped away to third before overextending his Porsche 911 GT3 Cup entry on the last lap. Although it is not the finish he hoped for, he knew his pace had returned. In the No. 2 GT Racing entry, he was two-tenths off race winner Laberge’s fastest lap time. With a shared hunger for competition and shared data, the two are running faster together this year.
“Last year I was by myself so I didn’t know how it would go this year,” Borgeat said. “But we help each other get fast and if something bad happens in qualifications or a race there’s always another one to cheer for.”
For team owner Cote, running fast in a Porsche has always been the dream. He started GT Racing in 2004 and Borgeat joined him in 2006. When they first met, they developed a five-year plan that included racing the legendary vehicle.
“For me, a car is German, first of all,” Cote said. “And then a racecar is a Porsche. There’s not much more I can say about that.”
While Cote has a simple approach to cars, mastering the vehicle is no easy task.
Plenty of homework was done in preparation for the return to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. The team went testing July 2 and came away with major improvements to the car set up, which were evident in their Round 5 and 6 performances.
Not only were adjustments made to the set up, but a new set of hands were on the steering wheel during testing just three days later at I-CAR. Cote also had some seat time in the Porsche 911.
“I drove a little bit and JF and I had similar lap times,” Cote said. “That creates a lot of confidence in the drivers of what I say when I tell them. I establish an authority and can back up whatever I tell them by going on track and doing it.”
The GT Racing team returns to action August 9-11 for the Grand Prix de Trois Rivieres in Trois Rivieres, Quebec for Rounds 7 and 8 of the 2013 season. For updates on Laberge, Borgeat and the team, follow @Gt_racing_inc on Twitter. Race One at the Circuit de Trois Rivieres takes place Saturday, August 10 at 2:15 p.m. ET. The green flag will drop for Race Two at 11 a.m. Sunday, August 11.
ABOUT ULTRA 94 PORSCHE GT3 CUP CHALLENGE CANADA BY MICHELIN:
The Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin is one of three official Development Series sanctioned by the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA). It is also the fastest-growing single-make series in North America. The Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin produces intense, exciting competition for semi-professional drivers alongside some of the most promising career-minded GT drivers in one of the world’s most successful and iconic race cars, the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, and on classic Canadian road courses such as Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
For more information on the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin, visit http://www.facebook.com/gt3canada on Facebook and @GT3Canada on Twitter.
ABOUT INTERNATIONAL MOTOR SPORTS ASSOCIATION:
Beginning in 2014, the new International Motor Sports Association, LLC (IMSA) will be the sanctioning body of United SportsCar Racing – the highly anticipated road-racing series resulting from the merger of the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón and the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series – as well as the developmental series: Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge and the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda. In addition, IMSA also plans to continue sanctioning the following single-make series: Ferrari Challenge, IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama, Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin and Lamborghini Super Trofeo.
IMSA 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 United SportsCar competitors to earn automatic entries into the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans.
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