“Canadian Connection” Set to Win on Home Turf In Castrol presents Victoria Day Speedfest at CTMP May 18-20
Hargrove, Morad, Pfaff Motorsports & R. Ferri Motorsport Want GT Wins
BOWMANVILLE, Ont., Canada – The upcoming Victoria Day Speedfest at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on May 18-20 brings a variety of racing machines and world-class drivers to the legendary 2.459-mile, 10-turn road circuit northeast of Toronto.
But there are three strong “Canadian Connections” ready to fight for the victories in the Pirelli World Challenge GT 50-minute sprint doubleheader races on Saturday (May 19) and Sunday (May 20). And all three of the Canadian racing associations are currently 1-2-3 in the PWC GT point standings entering the Victoria Day Speedfest weekend with British Columbia’s Scott Hargrove, Finland’s Toni Vilander and Toronto’s Daniel Morad.
Current GT Overall and Sprint point leader Hargrove, the 23-year-old of Tsawassen, B.C., Canada, comes to CTMP with the Toronto-based Pfaff Motorsports squad after an impressive start to the Pirelli World Challenge GT campaign. The two-time Canadian Porsche GT Cup champion and North American open-wheel star debuted in PWC with a spectacular double-win weekend in the streets of St. Petersburg driving the potent No. 96 Pfaff Motorsports/Castrol Porsche 911 GT3 R.
In addition, Hargrove has teamed with veteran Porsche racer Wolf Henzler in the Pfaff Motorsports machine at the GT SprintX (60-minute, two-driver) events and recorded one second, two thirds and a fourth in the four contests.
“Coming into the Pirelli World Challenge with Pfaff Motorsports was an exciting adventure for me,” said Hargrove. “We felt we had a good program for the Pirelli World Challenge series and the double wins at St. Petersburg really kicked off the season. Racing with Wolf in the SprintX races has been a learning experience too. He has so much experience on the various tracks in North America as well as with Porsche.
“Now, leading the GT points entering CTMP, the excitement has jumped up with the team racing in its home track and at a track where I have had success in the past. I really enjoy CTMP and I think we will have a strong effort in the two PWC Sprint events in the Victoria Day Speedfest.”
Another Toronto-based sports car organization which should be right in the hunt at CTMP is the R. Ferri Motorsport Ferrari team with veteran sports car star Vilander at the wheel of the popular No. 61 R. Ferri Motorsport Ferrari 488 GT3. The two-time 24 Hours of LeMans champion trails Hargrove in the GT Overall point standings by ten (155-145) coming into the CTMP weekend.
Vilander, a noted factory Ferrari star, has scored two victories (GT SprintX with Miguel Molina) and three runner-up finishes as well as two pole positions in the first seven PWC GT races.
“Overall, it might look easy at times or like we have it under control but it’s always a hard battle, a hard fight,” said Vilander, who also serves as an analyst on the Formula One telecast in Finland. “Already this year you have the Mercedes, Porsche, Bentley and Ferrari winning races in the GT class, so these are exciting races. The CTMP track is a demanding circuit. It’s difficult to balance the car because there will be a track where we struggle a little bit more than other cars. Our main thing is to be consistent. The R. Ferri Motorsport Ferrari knows the CTMP track well too.”
Meanwhile, maybe the one to watch at CTMP is the local star, Morad, the former open-wheel racer with a 24 Hours of Daytona victory and two GT SprintX wins last year. The personable racer (and an DJ on the side) has shown lightning fast performances in qualifying and the races, but some tough luck has cost him possible wins in 2018 in the No. 2 CRP Racing/DeVilbiss Mercedes-AMG GT3.
“I was so happy with the pole lap at VIR two weeks ago,” said Morad, 28. “It was probably one of the best laps of my life. It’s too bad because I had I had a better lap before and caught some traffic. We have been close to winning races this year but have had some tough luck, especially at Long Beach and VIR. But I’m excited to run my home track again at CTMP. I believe the Mercedes can been very competitive there. Plus, it is always great to racing in front of friends and family at the historic track. Being third in the GT championship, we can move up with strong runs in the two 50-minute Sprint races next weekend.”
Morad has won open-wheel titles (Formula BMW) and sports car championships (Canadian Porsche GT Cup) as well as racing in Indy Lights, A1GP, Formula Atlantic and GP3 in Europe. He placed second in the 2017 PWC GT SprintX points, losing out by just three points for the title.
While the “Canadian Connection” trio of Hargrove, Vilander and Morad must be listed as the favorites at CTMP in the GT Sprint division, an excellent group of challengers will be nipping at their heels including Long Beach GT Sprint winner Daniel Mancinelli of Italy in the No. 31 TR3 Racing Ferrari 488 GT3, endurance veteran Michael Christensen of Denmark in the No. 24 Alegra Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R and the 2016 GT overall champion Alvaro Parente of Portugal in the No. 9 K-PAX Racing Bentley Continental GT3.
Pirelli World Challenge GT practice rounds at the Castrol presents Victoria Day Speedfest begin Friday (May 18) at 10:10 a.m. EDT with qualifying set for Saturday (May 19) at 9:20 a.m. EDT. The 50-minute Race 1 for the PWC GT division gets underway on Saturday at 1:55 p.m. EDT, while Race 2 is set for Sunday (May 20) at 4:05 p.m. EDT. All PWC races (GT and GTS) at CTMP will be live streamed on www.world-challenge.com.