Back-to-back Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama champions Mark Motors Racing is yet another team that will jump up the IMSA ladder at the Michelin SportsCar Encore next weekend at Sebring International Raceway.
Having first joined the GT3 Cup Challenge Canada grid under its own banner in 2013, the team has won consecutive driver championships the last two years, with Zacharie Robichon winning the 2018 Platinum title and Roman De Angelis winning the 2017 Gold title.
Marco Cirone, who has competed in GT3 Cup Challenge Canada since the series’ inception in 2011, and Remo Ruscitti have been tapped to drive the No. 82 Mark Motors Racing Audi RS3 LMS during the four-hour enduro on Sunday, Nov. 11.
They will be racing alongside LMP3 and GT4 cars and competing for a $10,000 winner’s prize and a $5,000 Michelin tire credit to apply for the 2019 season. It is also an opportunity for teams to get experience on the new-for-2019 Michelin tires.
“After a successful eight years of racing in the Porsche Cup series, the Bestline/Mark Motors Racing team will go back to its roots competing in what they first started to do in the 1980s, endurance racing,” said Cirone, a five-time GT3 Cup Challenge Canada Platinum Masters champion.
“Having run with some great Canadian race car drivers and having many starts at the 12 Hours of Sebring (weekend), it was the perfect choice to begin this new program at the Michelin Encore.”
Cirone’s co-driver, Remo Ruscitti, is no stranger to Sebring as well.
Not only did he contest the GT3 Cup Challenge race at the iconic circuit back in March – finishing third in class in Race 1 and fourth in Race 2 – he also has several starts there in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge.
Elsewhere, the Vancouver native also owns four starts in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, with a best finish of third at Watkins Glen in 2016. He also finished third in the 2018 GT3 Cup Challenge Canada Platinum class standings.
One of the draws of the Michelin Encore for Mark Motors is its endurance format.
The team is well-versed with GT3 Cup Challenge Canada’s format of two, 45-minute races during an event weekend. This opportunity, however, gives the crew a chance to try their hand at a race length more than double what they’re used to.
“We love endurance races,” added Cirone. “It involves so much strategy and everyone on the team must perform their duties perfectly just to have a chance to win. It’s really a team effort.
“We are excited and looking forward to the challenge and learning the new Michelin tire, which will be critical through out the entire four hours. I can’t thank (Mark Motors Executive Vice President) Liza Mrak and the entire team at Mark Motors Audi enough for getting this program started. I can’t wait for the green flag!”