Hargrove Locks Up Porsche GT3 Canada Title
BOWMANVILLE, Ontario – Scott Hargrove, Marco Cirone, Tim Sanderson and Chuck Harris clinched Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin season championships Sunday at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
Hargrove, Cirone and Harris only needed to start the 45-minute race to wear the crown in Platinum Cup (2014 car models), Platinum Masters (drivers 45 and older) and Silver Cup (2005½-09 car models), respectively. But they instead won season championships in style, winning the race in their respective classes.
Sanderson entered Round 10 Sunday with a four-point lead over Jerimy Daniel and finished second in the class in the race, all he needed to win the title by two points.
“It’s a phenomenal feeling,” Hargrove said. “I can’t thank the guys enough. Michelin tires, IMSA, Porsche, everybody that helps put this series together. I’m proud to be the champion in only my rookie year. I can’t wait to see where this goes.”
Hargrove, from Surrey, British Columbia, led from start to finish for the second consecutive day for his sixth victory of the season in the No. 69 OpenRoad Racing Porsche. He won by 14.541 seconds over Spencer Pigot in the No. 21 Alegra Motorsports entry, his largest margin of victory this season and the second-biggest winning gap of the season by any driver.
Pigot passed Chris Green for second place on the first lap and held that position for the rest of the race. Green ended up third in the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche, 20.106 seconds behind Hargrove on the 10-turn, 2.459-mile (3.957 km) circuit.
Cirone finished fourth overall and first in Platinum Masters in the No. 88 Mark Motors Racing Porsche. He dueled with fellow Platinum competitor Etienne Borgeat early in the race before passing Borgeat’s No. 2 GT Racing Porsche with an inside move in turn 10 with 29 minutes remaining and then pulling away.
Borgeat ended up fifth overall.
Hargrove ended the season winning the championship by 22 points over Green, 192-170. It was title of equal parts surprise and assuredness.
OpenRoad Racing team principal Christian Chia entered junior open-wheel standout Hargrove, 19, into the season opener in mid-May on Victoria Day weekend at CTMP as a one-off experiment. Hargrove rewarded that faith with two victories that weekend.
So Chia continued to put young star Hargrove into his car at every event until the ultimate finish line – a championship – was reached. Hargrove never finished lower than second all season.
“Going into the beginning of the year, I never would have expected this as the outcome,” Hargrove said. “When I got the deal with OpenRoad Racing, the team owner (Chia) was like, ‘If we could get on the podium, that would be great. I want a trophy for my new Porsche dealership.’ And now here we are, we’ve got the championship trophy that will be able to go there.”
The victory also helped ease the sting of disappointment from a week ago. Hargrove lost the Pro Mazda Championship to Pigot when the gearbox failed in his car with three laps remaining while leading the championship and the season-ending race.
“I put that behind me,” Hargrove said. “This is a different championship, and now this is the highlight of my year. I’ve just got to move on from what happened last weekend and just cherish what we did this year in both series. I’m just excited to be here and the champion.”
Cirone also swept the season-ending weekend, earning his sixth Platinum Masters victory and his second consecutive title in the class. Sanderson closed the deal on his first Gold Cup championship by finishing .531 of a second behind Daniel. Chuck Harris cruised to his ninth Silver Cup class victory in 10 rounds this season in the No. 50 Alegra Motorsports Porsche.