DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – There’s nothing vague or indirect about Chris Green’s intent this season in the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin.
It’s title or bust.
“The team won the team championship last year,” Green said. “That was good enough for the team but not good enough for me. The personal goal is absolutely to get the driver championship, and I think the group goal is to get them both again.”
Green, from Montreal, will start his quest toward his first Platinum Cup drivers’ championship May 16-18 as the 2014 season gets underway with two rounds at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park near Bowmanville, Ontario. Green, 30, will drive the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car.
The title scenario appears to be almost perfect for Green. He is the top returning competitor in the Platinum Cup, driving for Ontario-based Pfaff Motorsports. Green finished second to series champion David Ostella by six points last season and won five races, including the last three of the year in a stirring charge that fell just short.
But there is a new wrinkle this season for Green. Last season he was part of the powerful Pfaff/Alegra Motorsports team that won the Platinum Cup team championship by one point and the Gold Cup team championship by four points.
Pfaff and Alegra are competing separately this season, creating a new, friendly rivalry of championship challengers. Pfaff is going solo for the first time in 2014, putting all of its hopes on Green, who has nine wins and 11 poles in the series over the past two seasons.
“I love the Alegra guys,” Green said. “Great group of guys. We get along really well. There’s probably 300 years of experience between that group in working on race cars. I was fortunate enough to spend six race weekends – five last year and one the year before – working with them.
“I know Pfaff was focused on looking to build their own motorsports program. They took last year as a learning year. They’re confident enough to take everything in house this year. As a driver, it’s going to be a little bit more of a challenge to make sure the team is built around me, as I need them to be to allow us to all be quick together. We’re working with a lot less staff, as well. People’s responsibilities are going to increase, as well. We’re all going to have to step it up to the next level to be sure we’re competitive and represent the Pfaff brand.”
Green and Pfaff team manager Jimmy Vervitas are confident the skills Pfaff has developed through its award-winning Porsche dealership in Woodbridge, Ontario, and through its highly regarded tuning division will pay dividends this season even though it’s a one-car team.
“Just as Pfaff are leaders in dealerships, I think they want to carry that momentum over into the racing world and the racing program to show no matter what project they take on, they’re the leader,” Green said. “I’m pretty keen on helping them do that.”
“Chris has been a class act since his first performance for us at Calabogie in 2012,” Vervitas said. “We’ve grown into a family within the Pfaff Group, and we’re feeling good about the upcoming season.
“We’re really excited to have finally built an infrastructure that works within the dealer group, and we’re ready to grow as a race team. This season will certainly bring its challenges, as the partnership with Alegra last year was a great success. They’re a great group of guys, but this year they’re the opposition, and we will concentrate on trying to beat them.”
Alegra is fielding two cars in the elite Platinum Cup this season, for rising young star Spencer Pigot and team owner and 2013 Gold Cup champion Carlos De Quesada, who is climbing to Platinum Cup this year.
Pigot opened the 2013 season with a pole and a victory at CTMP, one of his three podium finishes in just four starts in 2013. Green and Pigot memorably clashed as Pfaff/Alegra teammates while running 1-2 in the second round at Montreal last season, taking each other out of the race in what ended up being Pigot’s final start of the season.
Despite that dustup, Green welcomed the return of Pigot, a 20-year-old star of North American junior open-wheel racing who already has won four Pro Mazda races this season.
“I think it will be great to have Spencer back,” Green said. “I look at it as a very, very positive thing that will create more exposure for the series.
“Last year is last year. This is a whole new season. What happened last year was unfortunate. I definitely was much, much quicker than Spencer in Montreal. It was a shame we couldn’t bring home a one-two in Race 2 like we did in Race 1. But this is a fresh year, a fresh start.”