With this weekend’s doubleheader of races at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park comes the finale of another captivating season of Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama competition.
The 12-round season has seen its fair share of unforgettable victories mixed with bouts of heartache, in addition to some learning experiences scattered along the way.
And there’s no doubt that the final pair of races – scheduled for Saturday at 2:50 p.m. ET and Sunday at 9:45 a.m. and streamed live on IMSA.tv – will provide more of the same before championships are handed out.
The end of the season, however, doesn’t only mean titles and awards. For several drivers in the Porsche GT3 Cup Canada paddock, it also signifies the end of their rookie year in the series and a chance to reflect on their experience thus far.
“As a rookie this season, it’s been helpful being part of a strong team,” said Michael Di Meo, driver of the No. 35 Porsche.
“The Policaro Motorsport / SportsCarBoutique team has been great in sharing their knowledge and providing all the support that I’ve needed in getting familiar with the car, the tracks that I’ve never raced on and getting up to speed.”
Di Meo isn’t the only rookie at Policaro. His teammate, Jeff Kingsley in the No. 16 Porsche is also a first timer in Porsche GT3 Cup Canada.
“Exciting, challenging, and prestigious are three words that come to mind when trying to describe the feeling of driving a Porsche GT3 Cup Car in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada,” said Kingsley, an Ontario native.
“It has been a huge honor to be competing in such a series that is renowned for its great racing entertainment and historic accomplishments.”
And if there’s one thing Kingsley has noted over the course of his first year, it’s that experience can be everything. The youngster takes a cue from championship leader Zacharie Robichon who is wrapping up his third year in in the series.
“The championship standings show that the more experience you have in the car the quicker you seem to be,” Kingsley added “So as a rookie, the challenging part is trying to break that barrier and be up at the front as quickly as possible. There is never a dull moment in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge and I hope to put on a great show for everyone watching.”
Much like Di Meo and Kingsley, Stefan Rzadzinski in the No. 8 DFC Motorsport / Speedstar Motorsport race car recognizes the prestige of racing in the Porsche one-make series, while also accepting its challenges with a little help.
“My rookie season in the Porsche GT3 Cup Canada has been about top-class events, top-class drivers, and provided some awesome insight into what it’s like dealing with one of the most reputable racing brands in the world,” said Rzadzinski.
“The challenge of driving the 911 Cup car is significant, but the Downtown Porsche Toronto / Speedstar Motorsport team has been awesome in supporting me in getting up to speed.”
The remaining rookie in the series is Michael Fantin, driver of the No. 14 Engineered Automotive Porsche.
Relatively new to racing, Fantin describes how Porsche GT3 Cup Canada has been an important stepping stone in launching his career.
“Being a rookie for 2018, I was met with an experienced, highly skilled group of competitors on fast courses,” said Fantin. “Overall, the season has been a success for our team and myself, considering it is our integration year and my first year in competitive racing. We were met with respect from our fellow competitors and IMSA.
“The Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge is racing at its purist form in my opinion, the car is raw, the field is fierce and the tracks are challenging for the best of drivers.
“We are looking forward to finishing strong at CTMP, being our home track, and we are excited to propel into the 2019 season!”
In its final doubleheader of the year, the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama field takes to the track at CTMP on Friday for a pair of practice sessions ahead of qualifying on Saturday morning before the final two races of the season.