MRTI: Hargrove (Porsche GT3 Canada) and Burkett (Atlantic) capture other titles

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A pair of drivers who competed in the Mazda Road to Indy this year have captured championships outside their normal open-wheel seats. Pro Mazda’s Scott Hargrove took home the Porsche GT3 Canada Platinum Cup title, while Daniel Burkett of USF2000 won the Atlantic Championship.

From a one-off guest starring appearance to a championship, Hargrove enjoyed quite the year in Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin.

Hargrove, the 19-year-old from Surrey, British Columbia, rounded out his debut season both in the championship and in a GT car with his fifth and sixth wins of the year over the weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

It made for a perfect book-end after also sweeping the CTMP doubleheader opening weekend in May, driving the No. 69 OpenRoad Racing Porsche for team principal Christian Chia. Overall, Hargrove finished first or second in each of the 10 races and won the title by 22 points over Chris Green.

“It’s a phenomenal feeling,” Hargrove said. “I can’t thank the guys enough. Michelin tires, IMSA, Porsche, everybody that helps put this series together. I’m proud to be the champion in only my rookie year. I can’t wait to see where this goes.”

Hargrove also shook off the previous week’s defeat in Pro Mazda, where Spencer Pigot emerged with that title at the final race of the year in Sonoma. Pigot ended third in the GT3 Canada season.

“I put that behind me,” Hargrove said. “This is a different championship, and now this is the highlight of my year. I’ve just got to move on from what happened last weekend and just cherish what we did this year in both series. I’m just excited to be here and the champion.”

Hargrove wasn’t alone in winning Porsche GT3 Canada class titles. Hargrove took the Platinum Cup title with Marco Cirone (Platinum Masters), Tim Sanderson (Gold Cup) and Chuck Harris (Silver Cup) also leaving the CTMP weekend with additional season long hardware.

For Burkett, who also made waves this year with a series of humorous videos about the quest for sponsorship, his Atlantic Championship Series win was a season-long tour de force.

Burkett, also 19 and from Winnipeg, Manitoba, won seven of the 10 races this season driving for K-Hill Motorsports, including the finale at Thompson Speedway in Connecticut. He clinched the championship in race one of the Thompson weekend.

Burkett ended 11th this season in USF2000, driving for Belardi Auto Racing.

Rebellion confirms LMP1 return, all-star line-up for WEC super season

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Rebellion Racing has confirmed it will return to the LMP1 class of the FIA World Endurance Championship for the 2018/19 ‘super season’ with an all-star line-up featuring Le Mans winners Neel Jani and Andre Lotterer.

Rebellion raced in LMP1 as a privateer between 2009 and 2016 before stepping down to LMP2 for the most recent season, capturing the class titles at the first attempt.

Following a push from the WEC and Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) to make LMP1 more appealing to privateer teams, Rebellion announced on Wednesday it would return to the premier class for the 2018/19 season with a two-car effort.

WEC LMP2 champion Bruno Senna will return with Rebellion next year, as will Mathias Beche, with the pair set to be joined by four new faces.

The most notable arrivals are Porsche factory drivers Lotterer and Jani, both of whom were left without an LMP1 drive following the closure of the German manufacturer’s program at the end of the season.

American racer Gustavo Menezes will also join Rebellion, stepping up after two years in LMP2, while outstanding 2017 rookie Thomas Laurent completes the Swiss team’s line-up.

“I am looking forward to coming back where my endurance career started nine years ago,” said Jani.

“Rebellion Racing played a huge role in my career and also helped me become a factory driver for Porsche. When Porsche stopped in LMP1, it was clear for me that I wanted to race again for Rebellion.

“With the new regulations, I hope we can reach the overall podium at Le Mans and with a bit of luck, maybe we can even grab some wins during the super season of WEC.”

“I am very happy to join the champion Rebellion team,” added three-time Le Mans winner Lotterer.

“The LMP1 project is very exciting and to be able to go on with the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the FIA WEC challenge is something I did not want to miss.

“I am motivated and looking forward to have a great time with great people there.”