On Sunday afternoon following the final race of the season at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, teams and drivers from the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada series gathered to celebrate the year’s champions and reminisce on another successful season of the Porsche one-make series.
The annual end-of-year banquet was again held at the Heritage Hall at Purple Woods Conservation Area, and arranged by Porsche Cars Canada, based in Toronto.
Emceed by David Bradley – the Breaking News Producer for News Talk 1010 in Toronto – remarks were also given by President and CEO of Porsche Cars Canada Marc Ouayoun and President and CEO of Porsche Motorsports North America Dr. Daniel Armbruster ahead of the distribution of championship trophies and awards.
The following are quotes from the drivers’ acceptance speeches.
Zach Robichon, Platinum Champion:
“First of all, I’d like to thank the team. If it wasn’t for Mark Motors and Bestline Auto Tech, I really wouldn’t be in this position. So I need to thank them because a lot of times, they had more confidence in me than I had in myself. That really allowed me to take a step back and realize that these guys have so much experience in this industry and if they believe in me, there must be a reason for it.
“This year has been a really great year and of course with my favorite red head in the world (teammate Roman De Angelis) right beside me all the time. With the red hair you can literally see his head on fire when he’s been behind me. But really, it’s been tough and a lot of fun. From the outside it may look like we had a dominant year, but every single session and every single lap was a battle with him and everyone else we were racing against.
“Thank you to Porsche, my family, my parents, my girlfriend who all take their time out so I can drive race cars all the time and of course everyone from Porsche Canada for their support because there’s no other brand that supports us the way Porsche does.”
Robichon was also awarded the keys to a white Porsche 911 Carrera S that he will be able to drive for one year.
Roman De Angelis, Second Place in Platinum Championship:
“First off, I would like to congratulate Zach Robichon. I’ve never seen anyone drive as well as he has all year. Everything he’s done is textbook so even trying to compare to the level he was on was super difficult. I’d also like to thank everyone at Mark Motors Racing for giving me the opportunity to do what we’ve done the last two years, and also Marco Cirone, who if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be in the position I’m in right now. Also, thanks to Kelly Moss Racing who came up and supported me as well this year.”
Remo Ruscitti, Third Place in Platinum Championship:
“For me, a little bit of highs and lows this year but wow, what a tough year. Roman and Zach were really quick all year. Having teammates like them with so much experience made me really elevate my level. Thank you Bestline, OpenRoad Auto Group, Porsche Center Langley and of course Porsche Canada. It’s an awesome series. I think it’s so great the dealerships really support young talent like myself to create a career in this tough motorsports world. Thank you to all my competitors, I’ve got so many friends that I’ve been racing against here the last two years and it’s been a really tough and fun challenge. I hope to continue with the Porsche brand for many years to come.”
Michael Mrak, Dealer Principal and Owner of Mark Motors Racing, Team Champion:
“Here we are today. Back in February when we were putting our team together, we didn’t know where we would be. But we had a lot of confidence in our team and our drivers. Then thinking back five years ago when we started this racing team, we did the same thing. One thing that hasn’t changed is that there’s spirit in the team and the drivers that’s never changed. I can tell you over the years there’s been times we’ve just felt like running off a cliff and other times you’re satisfied with the wins you have. This is one of those times. We’re truly proud with the Mark Motors group and the team we have here today.”
Lisa Mrak, Executive Vice President and CEO of Mark Motors Racing, Team Champion:
“I don’t think we’d have the opportunity to stand here and represent our drivers and our teams if it wasn’t for Porsche Canada to support us in the role that started eight years ago. It’s growing and getting better for us. I’m honored to be with these guys and the team and that’s what it’s all about. With them and all of us, congratulations on what a great season this was.”
Patrick Dussault, Season-Long Yokohama Hard Charger Award Winner:
First of all, congratulations to Mark Motors and Zach. I think it’s pretty clear this season that they have dominated the year. For me, it’s pretty fun to get this award. We had a very competitive season and a couple guys that were hard to pass. I want to thank my team, Lauzon Autosport, my main sponsors Porsche Rive-Sud and Lauzon Laval, my family for supporting me two seasons in a row. I hope to come back this year to compete for that championship.”
Michael Fantin, Spirit of Speed Award Recipient:
“I’m not one for speeches for those that know me, but what I can say is that I’m extremely appreciative to be here. It is a dream to race in this series. Zach, Roman, you guys are awesome so kudos to you guys and congratulations. Thank you to my wife for supporting me, with three small kids, say no more. Thank you to everyone and I look forward to next year.”
Martin Harvey, Platinum Masters Champion:
“I’ve been racing with (fellow Platinum Masters competitor) Perry (Bortolotti) and others for years. We’ve supported the series for a long time and I wish we had a lot of Masters, we’re here to support the series, but also for the future and for the young drivers.”
Lauzon Autosport accepted the Gold Championship on behalf of winning driver Michel Bonnet who could not be present at the banquet