Massons Celebrates Father’s Day in Racing Fashion
DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. (June 7, 2018) – Performance Tech Motorsports brings together the father-son act of Kyle Masson and Robert Masson for the remainder of the IMSA Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda season.
With Father's Day approaching Performance Tech Motorsports driver Dr. Robert Masson will receive a unique gift; the return of Kyle Masson to Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda. Together they will start the process of building an endurance racing performance and training experience for Robert Masson. The goal is to move Robert Masson up the racing ladder to the Prototype Class in the WeatherTech series.
The Massons started competing with the goal of Kyle Masson one day taking on the highest level of sports car racing as a professional. Kyle Masson found immediate success in IMSA, winning the 2017 Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda Championship and Tequila Patròn North American Endurance Championship in the Prototype Challenge Class.
The younger Masson’s success inspired his father to follow suit. Robert Masson credits the incredible support of Performance Tech and specifically Team Principal Brent O’Neill as why he quickly gained the valuable experience needed to succeed. Robert Masson finished fifth overall in his rookie year of racing in 2017 and is leading the MPC championship today.
However, over the course of this season the Massons realized racing was more than competition, it was about the journey they started together. With Kyle Masson in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship series and Robert Masson running in the Prototype Championship Presented by Mazda series their time at track together was minimal.
"When my dad and I started this journey," Masson said. "We had no real expectations on how it was going to play out or what route of racing I would ultimately end up in. It was a journey that only time would tell if we could live up to our ambitions and desires toward me becoming a professional level racer."
"My dad has been a huge part of this journey we are on from day one. I am constantly learning from my him. Learning from his vast life experiences and how they can translate to me being a better person and racer. I have inherited his ways of learning and analysis and it has helped me rise through the Mazda Road to 24hrs ladder to the WeatherTech series."
Kyle Masson will pull double-duty as he joins his father in the No. 11 Masson Spine Institute Elan DP02 and continues his full-time role in Performance Tech Motorsports No. 38 Centinel Spine/Restitute Health entry in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Robert Masson happily watched as his son took the track and worked his way up the racing ranks. It was during the early days of Kyle Masson's career that Robert Masson found his own love for racing had been reignited. Before long he found himself forfeiting his spot in the pit stand to race alongside his son with Performance Tech Motorsports in an Elan DP02.
"When I started racing, I realized a dream I had buried so deep that I didn't even remember wanting to do it when I was a 7-year-old who woke up at 5:30 a.m. to watch Speedracer every morning," Dr. Masson said. "When Kyle said he wanted to do it, I did it at first to chaperone him and then after a while, it hit me that I had somehow found a way to resurrect that childhood dream, and I loved it as much as I thought I would. It’s never too late.”
There was no question that the move up to the ORECA LMP2 was the correct move for Kyle Masson’s career, but the growth that Robert Masson craved the previous season was harder to come by racing in separate series. The simple solution was to take advantage of the endurance format of the Prototype Challenge series and race together in one car, giving Robert Masson the coach and teammate he missed during the early part of the 2018 season.
“While I enjoyed racing alone in this endurance format, and have achieved success, I missed the rabbit effect of having Kyle run alongside me,” Robert Masson said. “I grow faster following my kid, and I want to continue to push myself as far as I can. This has been the time of my life. Kyle and I, and all my children compete at absolutely everything. It is the most natural, most normal and most happy part of our family, even when it gets tense."
"I am completely excited about racing alongside Kyle. Really the most excited that I have been since winning the Daytona race in January. After that, with each race weekend, I realized that I really missed Kyle being a part of my race. I wouldn't be racing if it were not for Kyle, but he is on a great trajectory, so I need to be careful not to get in his way. Time will tell."
The Massons' first race together is the Mobile 1 Sports Car Grand Prix at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park. Robert Masson finished third in Masters during his 2017 debut at CTMP while Kyle Masson finished first overall. Though the pair has grown used to sharing the track, the upcoming race weekend provides a new learning curve as they share a car.
"I think sharing a car is a dynamic that I have to learn if I am going to achieve my primary goal in racing," Dr. Masson said. "It is clear that my favorite type of racing is endurance sports car racing, and by definition, the team building and strategy aspect of this form of racing is a necessity.
"For me, it is much more interesting and purposeful than sprint racing, so I will do whatever it takes to build reliability and pace to be a good team member. My goal is to get to the Prototype class in the WeatherTech series. If I can find the pace, I have a new dream, to do a Rolex 24 hours of Daytona alongside my oldest, but I will need to validate that role first."
Kyle Masson isn't worried about the new dynamic either. Like most drivers his eyes are on championships points, but this time for a new reason.
"I don't think sharing the car will be different for us in terms of how we interact and teach each other," Masson said. "When we were racing against each other we were still teammates so we were always helping each other out to learn and get better. Now, the only difference is I am going to be racing with his championship on the line instead of mine."
After two decades of learning from his dad, Kyle Masson is looking forward to returning the favor. He is excited to provide at-track coaching to his dad, a different experience compared to his current instruction via their simulator. Kyle Masson expresses how incredibly proud of his father’s performance this year and is confident Robert Masson has the skills needed to become a champion.
"I do think that I'll be able to teach my dad a few things when I go back and race with him," Masson said. "I'm hoping that I'll help him understand a little bit more about setups and engineering the car. I know from sim work that my dad has what it takes to be really fast but I hope to help him push himself a bit more in the actual car.
"I want to show my dad that he can have the confidence to go out and get the speed and push himself and his comfort levels. Ultimately, he knows the speed is there but just needs a little bit of a push to go get it and I'm going to try and give him that push."
Robert Masson is looking further ahead and hoping to use this experience not to teach his son about racing, but about life experience.
"I won't teach Kyle anything about driving a car," Dr. Masson said. "But I can still teach Kyle a ton about navigating an imperfect world both on and off the track. With a little luck, I can teach him to teach a very hungry, very committed old guy how to be a respected Weathertech prototype racer."
All eyes are on the father-son duo as they enter Round 4 of IMSA Prototype Challenge Powered by Mazda at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park from July 6-8. Robert Masson is currently sitting in first overall in Mazda Prototype Challenge. The weekend will consist of one hour and 45-minute endurance race around the 2.46-mile track. It will be broadcast on imsatv.imsa.com through its entirety followed by a rebroadcast-on FOX Sports 2 July 26 at 8 p.m. ET.
Performance Tech wishes you and your family a happy Father's Day.