DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Following a busy IMSA season that consisted of two season-long championships plus a podium finish at the prestigious Rolex 24 At Daytona in January, one would think Roman De Angelis earned some time to relax.
But it’s that success that had the 18-year-old racing once again just two weekends ago.
After scoring 22 wins in 28 races between Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama and its Canadian counterpart – GT3 Cup Challenge Canada – en route to Platinum Class championships in both series, De Angelis was nominated as a wild card entry for the Porsche Motorsport Junior Program Shootout following the season’s end at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta last month.
Alongside 11 other drivers from Porsche one-make series around the world, De Angelis traveled to Autódromo Internacional do Algarve in Portugal to showcase his skills in an attempt to be named the next Porsche Junior and ultimately, win a scholarship to compete full time in the Porsche Supercup series in 2020. The winner will be announced in the coming days.
“To compete in the Porsche Junior Shootout is something that I never would have expected to have the opportunity to do in my life,” said De Angelis. “It was a massive honor to be ranked along with the other 11 selected talented drivers to compete for such a coveted seat in motorsports.
“Over the three days I spent competing for the 2020 Porsche Junior seat, the knowledge and learning done was amazing and I can’t thank Porsche enough for this, which I will hopefully be able to take further into my life in motorsports.”
While the Canadian from Belle River, Ontario has competed in a variety of race cars since joining the IMSA ranks three years ago – including a Ligier LMP3 in the IMSA Prototype Challenge for three events in 2018, plus the Audi R8 LMS GT3 in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Daytona (GTD) class at this year’s Rolex 24 – it’s the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car that De Angelis has mastered with guidance and time.
His first encounter with the car came in 2017, when fellow Mark Motors Racing driver Marco Cirone introduced him to GT3 Cup Challenge Canada and arranged a ride for him in the Gold Class.
“The hard thing about that year was that I didn’t really have an engineer,” said De Angelis. “We went with a low-budget program with Mark Motors because I was their third driver, having Marco and Zach (Robichon) in the car and throwing me in last minute. I was trying to figure out everything on my own, figuring out a sports car, basically a proper race car for the first time, having only ran in Formula Ford before.”
Joining the Platinum ranks in 2018, De Angelis gained the assistance from an engineer – Chiel Bos, to whom he credits much of his driver development.
“Coming into this year, I not only had a year in Platinum and I’d say a half season in Gold where I was able to adapt a little bit to a sports car,” he said. “Maybe not the best method, but at least I had the seat time I needed. As you saw with Zach in his third season, he was able to come together and put out some really good results (to win the 2018 GT3 Cup Challenge Canada championship).
“I guessed what he had going into 2018 is what I had this year, that extra little confidence with the car. I was able to adapt a little quicker than some of the guys who came on strong at the end of this year. I just had the experience in the Porsche Cup car, which helps quite a bit because it is such a difficult car to drive even compared to the LMP3 or the Audi GT3 car I drove at Daytona this year. It’s a lot of adaptation over the last three years, but obviously it’s paid off.”
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