Bowmanville, ON – In any race weekend, it’s often too easy for folks to overlook the goings on around the main event.
But they really shouldn’t miss out because there is some really competitive racing to be seen, perhaps even more so than in the ALMSevent.
We’ve been at Mosport for the last couple of days and while the main event—the ALMS Championship race—has yet to run, there’s been plenty going on around it worth noting. Altogether, there are six championships in addition to the ALMS that have already begun their race weekends, with one, the F2000 Championship, featuring empty paddocks because after race number two on Saturday, their weekend is over.
On Friday, we brought you a story about the F2000 Championship; today, we switch focus to a closed-wheel discipline.
Two Porsche-only championships are running this weekend—the IMSA GT3 Challenge Cup and the GT3 Cup Challenge Canada, which we’re focusing on here.
The Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada involves a specific car model—the Porsche GT3 Cup—spread over three Divisions: Platinum, Gold and Silver. Platinum and Gold feature current-generation (997) models of the car, while Silver features last gen’s car (996).
This was the Series’ first stop at Mosport Raceway, which, along with the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, makes it part of an elite company that has featured the best racers the world over.
Fitting, then, that today’s race, which is one of two on the weekend, was won by a Canadian.
Team 6th Gear Racing’s driver Marco Cirone is a self-proclaimed “adrenaline junkie”, and he will be the first to tell you that sometimes, that feature is both good and bad. Good when it pushes him to excel on the track, bad when it pushes him over the limit, as it did this morning in the IMSA GT3 Challenge race. He was sitting pretty in second place, until the last lap where an error—one he will say was unforced—had him spinning off the track at the high-banked turn five, dropping him from second to twenty-second by race end.
“This is (me and my team’s) home track,” he said. “So I know it well; to go off like that and make a mental error like that really upset me. I’ve made a thousand mistakes here, and I’ve learned from them and I went and made another.
“After that race, I didn’t want to get out of the car. I was so upset with myself,” he said, “but you literally have to turn the page, and start over.”
And turn the page he did, winning the evening race after coming back from a fourth-place starting position, passing American Melanie Snow, Columbian Carlos Gomez and eventually pole-sitter (and fellow Canadian) Randy Oswald and never looking back. Oswald and Gomez finished 2nd and 3rd, respectively.
“It’s an honour to win here, especially in front of my home fans,” he said. “It feels very gratifying to win this race.”
It’s an impressive feat for Cirone, as a tight budget (other teams have third-party sponsors; Cirone owns his own car, and is financed by his Italform construction company) means having to cut back in places; car #88’s suspension, for example, is not adjustable, while most of the rest of the field’s is. In a Series as tightly regulated as this one, any tweak helps, so 6th Gear Racing has a definite disadvantage here.
But that doesn’t really seem to bother Cirone.
“’Love’ is not enough to describe the passion I feel for racing,” he said. “I’ve loved cars ever since I was a kid, and I can’t get enough of it.”
Now it’s time to turn the page again, as he has two more races on Sunday—one in the Canada Series, one in the IMSA series, giving him a chance to both defend his victory in the Canada Series and bounce back from that blunder in the IMSA series.