DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – For most 16-year-old high school kids, juggling school, friends and a part-time job is hard enough; try adding a full-time race career on top of that.
Roman De Angelis, 16, has already clinched the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama Gold Cup class championship for this season. Now, he’s pursuing the championship for the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama series.
De Angelis is currently just six points behind fellow driver Fred Kaimer for the lead. If he wins, he will be the first driver to win dual Canadian and USA championships in the same season.
The Canada native started driving karts at the age of nine and quickly moved on to national races by age 11. Fast forward to 2017, the young driver is currently competing in three series, both GT3 Cup Challenge championships and the F1600 Quebec Series.
De Angelis’ father, Max De Angelis, is a seasoned veteran when it comes to racing. He raced in IMSA’s Prototype Lites series for several years. When Roman’s season first kicked off at Sebring International Raceway in the very beginning of this year, his dad thought his first win may have been a fluke.
“I honestly thought he had gotten lucky at Sebring,” Max said. “Then we went to the next race at Barber Motorsports Park and he just dominated in that race in the rain. That’s when I realized how acclimated he already was in the 911 GT3 Cup car, he kept on winning no matter where he went.”
Roman has now won the pole position at every single race and won all but one race in the GT3 Cup Challenge Canada series. He’s also won the pole position at every single race in the USA series. And here’s the kicker, almost all of these tracks are new to the young driver.
“He’s competing in a Gold class car and consistently finishes in the top five and top 10 against the Platinum drivers, his lap times are within a second of the Platinum cars,” Max said.
“I honestly didn’t expect to be doing as well as we are,” Roman said. “The Canadian series doesn’t have too many Gold cars, and I love the tracks because they’re street events. But in the American series, you get more exposure with having the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, plus there are more cars. It’s been a great year, I’m with a great team, I owe this whole year to Marco Cirone and Mark Motors.”
The principals at Mark Motors decided to put Roman in a Porsche 997 and were quickly surprised at how fast the young driver was. The team then ran Marco Cirone and Roman in the FARA 500, a 500-mile race in Florida. The duo finished second in class and sixth overall.