Two practice sessions on Friday kicked off the season finale weekend for Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama at Circuit Mont-Tremblant.
Lap times were infinitely quicker in the 45-minute afternoon practice session after heavy fog and chilly conditions plagued Practice 1.
Roman De Angelis led the way in both sessions in his No. 79 Mark Motors Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car with a time of one minute, 35.339 (99.952 mph). De Angelis is searching for his first GT3 Cup Challenge Canada Platinum Championship and can capture the title with a margin of 35 points or more following Saturday’s race.
Tomorrow is supposed to be wet, so we probably didn’t learn a whole lot unless it dries up," said De Angelis. "This morning, we had a session that was damp. Kind of wet, kind of dry in the beginning and then it slowly started to get quick. I guess we learned that you can go to slicks here earlier than you think.
"There’s a lot of grip here early with a damp surface, so we were able to do pretty competitive dry times on a track that some people were on rains for, so that’s good. On Sunday, hopefully, the stuff we learned today from the second session can come into hand. I’m looking forward to the rest of the weekend. It’s an awesome track."
Qualifying starts off Saturday’s activities at 9 a.m. ET with Race 1 going green at 1 p.m. ET. Race 2 is scheduled for Sunday, also at 1 p.m. Both races can be streamed live on the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama Facebook page.
Morning Fog Shortens First GT3 Cup Challenge Canada Practice at Mont-Tremblant
It was a slow start to the weekend for GT3 Cup Challenge Canada, with the first official practice shortened due to dense fog. The initial 30-minute session was cut by half, and several cars limited their laps when the green flag finally waved.
Two of those cars were the Policaro Motorsport pair of Jeff Kingsley and series rookie Ethan Simioni. Kingsley in the No. 16 Porsche only completed two laps, while Simioni remained in the pits for the entire session. The duo finished second and third, respectively, on the charts in Practice 2.
"Track conditions were a bit tricky," said Kingsley. "We just assessed it, our engineers took a look at it and we found there was no gain going out just a bit more risk. Track time wasn’t there, lap times weren’t there, so we decided not to go out, especially for Ethan."
What largely impacted that decision, however, was the test day held at Mont-Tremblant on Thursday giving competitors that on-track time that they were unable to achieve on Friday morning.
"If we didn’t have five sessions yesterday, we probably would’ve gone out because you need track time," said Kingsley. "But yesterday, we got both wet sessions and dry sessions, so we got a bit of both, whereas today was a mix. I think yesterday helped and made that decision a little bit easier for our engineers and our team."
Porsche Cars Canada Brings Largest Activation of the Season to Mont-Tremblant Finale
In addition to the GT3 Cup Challenge Canada season finale, it’s a culmination weekend for Porsche Cars Canada at Mont-Tremblant.
Around 400-500 guests are expected this weekend on behalf of the organization following several year-long initiatives reaching their conclusion this weekend. The most prominent activation in the paddock are 10-15 Porsches on display as part of a unique Porsche Cars Canada’s contest.
"All of the classic cars on display are part of our Classic Restoration Competition," described Jennifer Cooper, Manager of Marketing, Events, Motorsport and Porsche Experience at Porsche Cars Canada. "This is a year-long competition that Porsche Centers across Canada were open to participate in. They all either had or purchased a car that was a classic model and they’ve spent the last year restoring it to whatever level or degree they chose."
The winner will be unveiled this evening and the cars are arranged in chronological order ahead of a display of the new Porsche 911 Carrera 4S and all-electric Porsche Taycan Turbo S.
Additionally, Porsche Centers across the country hosted individual golf tournaments, with all the winners invited to Tremblant for a golf tournament finale on Saturday.
"And everybody will be here on Sunday," said Cooper. "We thought this was a cool way to add a little bit to the race weekend by having the classic car fans, golf fans and race fans, everything Porsche."
Mont-Tremblant Particularly Special for Quebecker Dussault
As one of three Quebeckers in the GT3 Cup Challenge Canada field, Patrick Dussault has been looking forward to racing this weekend at Mont-Tremblant.
The charming road course is a particularly special place for the No. 77 Lauzon Autosport Porsche driver, as his dreams of being a race car driver began here.
"For me, Tremblant has been where my racing career started, like daydreaming," said Dussault. "I was young, and my friends and I went to all the events during the season. Maybe eight years ago I said to myself, one day I will be racing professionally here.
"It’s one of those tracks where you identify yourself with and you’re just in the zone. The atmosphere, the spirit of the track is something. The team has a ton of experience there, so I will put all the effort."
Dussault finished fourth on the charts with his best time coming in Practice 2 and is seeking his fifth podium of the season this weekend.
Keep up with news and updates throughout the weekend on IMSA.com or on social media using the hashtags #GT3Canada and #IMSA.
Tickets for the Fall Classic are available at LeCircuit.com.