DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Not every competitor enjoys sitting in a classroom for drivers meetings on race weekends, but Shaun McKaigue does.
The Gilford, Ontario-native went from lapping days as a Porsche Club of America rookie driver, to spending time as an instructor, to now running in the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin Series. McKaigue has raced in the series since its inaugural season in 2011.
“It has been fun to watch the Canadian series grow,” McKaigue said. “We got a really outstanding response after the first year and now that the third season has just completed it’s really interesting to see the progression and number of young drivers that are beginning to recognize the series.”
The Fiorano Racing driver recognizes he is not as fast at the youngsters on track, but knows he is fortunate just to be racing alongside them.
“I’m not necessarily the flashiest guy and I’m not the fastest guy,” McKaigue said. “I’m just one of those guys who is always going to persistently be the best that I can and hope it goes well. I’m not going to pretend I can run with the Madison Snows of the world, but I do know I am lucky enough to do it and I can continue to demand myself to do better.”
In addition to running against 22-year-old and eventual GT3 Canada champion David Ostella, McKaigue teamed with the 17-year-old Snow, who earned the GT3 Challenge USA Platinum championship this season. McKaigue participated in one race weekend with the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama Series in 2013 in addition to his 10 rounds with the Canadian series.
The Canadian enjoyed his step up from club racing so much that he often encourages other Porsche car club participants to make the move. While some drivers may be intimidated by the demands and higher level of competition of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada series, McKaigue has embraced it.
“You can appreciate the level of professionalism with IMSA that you don’t necessarily get in club racing,” McKaigue said. “I don’t think there’s any reason why a competent club racer should be fearful to progress to this level. One major difference between the two is that we are putting on a show.”
And the competitors get to put on a show at some of the most historic and famous venues in North America. In the 2013 season participants experienced four different tracks, all of which have their own unique aspects. The season included a debut at the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières, the first-ever true street circuit for the series.
Behind every race car driver is a team that puts in countless hours preparing the car for competition. For McKaigue, that team is Fiorano Racing, backed by Gianni Panico. McKaigue credits his success and the success of the series to all of the hardworking teams.
“Gianni has mentored me as well as most of the teams in the paddock,” McKaigue explained. “SpeedMerchants, SportsCarBoutique, Alegra and Pfaff, to name a few, have leaned heavily on his experience.”
McKaigue finished fifth in the Masters Championship (for drivers aged 40+) in 2013, with his highest race finishes coming at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in rounds five and six.