DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Cameron Cassels is enjoying one of his most successful, and diverse, seasons in IMSA competition early on this year.
Despite only racing professionally for four years – his first start came in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge season finale at Road Atlanta in 2015 – Cassels has already had his share of success. He’s won four times in Pilot Challenge competition, including a second-place points finish and overall win at Daytona in 2017, and won the IMSA Prototype Challenge LMP3 Masters championship one year ago.
He’s also had a diverse career with two full seasons apiece in IMSA Prototype Challenge and Pilot Challenge, in addition to multiple races in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo.
But this year, Cassels has tied it all together.
He’s teamed up with Performance Tech in both the IMSA Prototype Challenge and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, and Prestige Performance/WTR in Lamborghini Super Trofeo. The early result is that more seat time has paid dividends.
He’s currently third in the IMSA Prototype Challenge LMP3 standings through two races alongside co-driver James French. He also set the fastest Am race lap in race one at the latest Lamborghini Super Trofeo race at Barber Motorsports Park, and last but certainly not least, he won the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Parts in the LMP2 class.
“I had so much fun in the LMP3 car I had to come back for another year,” said Cassels of his full-season IMSA Prototype Challenge campaign. “I promised my wife that I would focus on one single car type and one single series for the year. I didn’t exactly do as I promised because now I’m doing a full season of LMP3, a full season of Lamborghini Super Trofeo, plus the LMP2.”
Cassels considers the Sebring victory his career highlight to date, winning alongside Kyle Masson and Andrew Evans in the No. 38 Performance Tech ORECA LMP2. He also credits his experience in IMSA Prototype Challenge as part of the reason he was able to adapt so quickly to the WeatherTech Championship LMP2, even though the cars themselves drive differently.
“Any seat time you get is going to be beneficial,” Cassels said. “I don’t think the car could be any different as far as prototype to prototype. They are vastly different cars, but the physics are still the same physics. It’s learning how to drive the car, such a strong aero-dependent car. Learning how to drive your own car is much different, more difficult to pass cars in a prototype than it was in a GT car. So, having some experience in the LMP3 car, I think it’s helped me transition a little bit quicker in LMP2 car.”
He’s also had great teammates to lean on, dating back to his professional debut when he teamed up with Trent Hindman in a Porsche for Bodymotion Racing. He’s also worked closely over the years with Performance Tech’s Masson and French. Ironically, even before he made his IMSA debut in 2015, Cassels met Kyle Masson and his father – and fellow racer – Robert Masson at Skip Barber for the first time.
Four years later he was sharing the top step of the podium at Sebring with Kyle.
“I was very, very fortunate to be surrounded by some great people that helped me kind of learn quick,” said Cassels. “I always said in 2016 when I first started driving full-time, it was like drinking from a fire hose. There’s just so much information coming at you so fast.
“I’ve had some great people that support us all the way from family to the folks, like Trent, from teams that I was involved with in the past. Again, very fortunate to be surrounded by some great individuals with Kyle and James that have experience in these types of cars. It makes it a little bit easier to learn.”
The learning will continue, and if the start of the 2019 season is any indication, so will the results.