Performance Tech Canadian Drivers Shine in Endurance Race
Performance Tech Motorsports Canadians shine at home track, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, in three-hour endurance race for IMSA Prototype Challenge.
Canadians Cameron Cassels, Dean Baker and Brad Baker showcased immense talent and knowledge of the challenging 10 turn, 2.45-mile track in the LMP3 series alongside their teammates. Cassels paired with season-long co-driver James French in the No. 75 NorCan Electric Ligier JS P3 for a sixth-place finish. Dean and Brad Baker welcomed back endurance driver and 2017 Prototype Challenge Champion Kyle Masson for a 13th place finish in the No. 19 Kerr Industries Ligier JS P3.
Cassels and French qualified the No. 75 seventh with French starting the race as the qualifying driver. French first made the pass to sixth passing teammate Max Hanratty in the No. 7 Hotels.com/ Sobel at Home Ligier JS P3. French set his sights on the No. 55 and quickly gained on the LMP3. However, the prototype seemed to be spilling oil behind it, and the vast amount clouded Frenches vision halting his run on the No. 55. French momentarily relinquished his sixth position back to Hanratty to keep the No. 75 clean for the remainder of the race.
French pursued Hanratty once again, but at the two-hour mark, Hanratty found himself in the wall of Turn 5 after hitting a massive bump on the circuit that sent many drivers off over the course of the weekend. Hanratty and co-driver Blake Mount would retire early due to damage. French cleared Turn 5 and continued in sixth until Cassels would take over driving duties. Cassels joined the field in seventh after the well-executed pit stop. He pushed through his hour-long stint and maneuvered the No. 75 into fourth before passing the car off to French for the finish. French would take the checkered flag in sixth.
Baker brothers Dean and Brad proved that though the Prototype Challenge series had been on a two-month hiatus, they were capable of picking up right where they left off. The brothers each continued to show improvements in their handling of the car and did so in front of family and friends who celebrated their accomplishments trackside. It was Brad Baker who took on qualifying duties alongside the professional driver’s other prototypes nominated to qualify. He, Dean Baker and Masson would start 19th overall in the No. 19.
Baker steadily climbed through the field, gaining positions as the opportunity presented itself. In 30 minutes, he rose from 19th to 13th position; he would hand over the car to brother Dean in 13th position. Dean Baker ultimately had the pace to continue pushing the No. 19 forward. He pushed past competitors as he expertly handled the prototype up to 10th place. After the pit stop, Masson reentered the race in 13th chasing down the next competitor. While Masson sparred with those around him and turned lap times comparable to the leader, he would take the checkered flag in 14th overall.
Brent O’Neill, Performance Tech Motorsports Team Principal
“Everyone did an excellent job today considering how difficult this track can be,” O’Neill said. “It was a great day for Cameron; he drove a great race. He and James really contended for the podium, and they didn’t have any contact, no real issues. Unfortunately, you never know where the track is going to be on race day, so they ran into that problem, same for the Bakers. Dean and Brad really did a great job, and Kyle drove an awesome race. I guess it was a great day for Canadians. It's unfortunate for what happened to Max and Blake, but this track can be so unforgiving. They’ll recover, they are a really talented duo, and we’ll see them back at VIR.”
Cameron Cassels, Driver of the No. 75 NorCan Electric LMP3
“I really think the race went well,” Cassels said. “It was uneventful, especially during my stint. James had a great opening drive. By time I got in there really wasn’t anyone around so I was just out there turning laps. James second stint was super and he brought it home in sixth. Overall, I can’t complain, especially since I’ll be back tomorrow.”
James French, Driver of the No. 75 NorCan Electric LMP3
“I think this was a great way to recover from Mid-Ohio,” French said. “Unfortunately, the car didn’t have the pace but we ran a clean race which got us this result. Overall, I would say everybody did a great job and I’m ready to get to the next race.”
Brad Baker, Driver of the No. 19 Kerr Industries LMP3
“Kyle did great,” Baker said. “Everyone was having a great time out there, which is what really matters. It’s great driving at our home track and thank you to the team for an enjoyable weekend. I can’t wait to get to the next event at Virginia.”
Dean Baker, Driver of the No. 19 Kerr Industries LMP3
“This really was a great weekend. We had a blast,” Baker said. “The car wasn’t quite there, but that was out of our control. It was so nice having our friends and family here, this is the only race they can get to and we appreciate them all coming out to support us.”
Kyle Masson, Driver of the No. 19 Kerr Industries LMP3
“It was really great to be here with Brad and Dean Baker,” Masson said. “Driving with them at their home track was a lot of fun, I’m disappointed we didn’t quite have the pace to get them a result here. I really had to play defense the whole time with aggressive driving to hold my position. I gave it my all and the team did great so it’s on to the next one.”
Up next for Performance Tech Motorsports LMP3 crew is a one hour and 45-minute sprint race at VIRginia International Raceway as part of the MICHELIN GT Challenge weekend with the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Challenge GT classes. The weekend at VIR takes place Aug. 23-25 with the broadcast airing Monday, Sept. 2 from 6-7 p.m. ET on NBCSN. For a detailed schedule, visit http://imsa.com.