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.

Montoya: ‘Hopefully I get a chance to do Indy again’ (VIDEO)

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Juan Pablo Montoya is on site at this weekend’s United States Grand Prix, his latest trip in a summer and fall filled with a lot of international travel and a number of different race cars he’s been in.

Montoya is committed to a full season in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with Acura Team Penske in 2018, as he’ll share one of the team’s Acura ARX-05s with Dane Cameron.

However, the question of whether he’ll be able to race in the 102nd Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil remains.

Team Penske has said it plans to only run four cars next month of May, with Helio Castroneves as the fourth driver alongside the three full-time cars driven by Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud and Will Power.

While Montoya has said elsewhere that he’s shopping offers and has talked with other teams, it’d be highly surprising to see the two-time Indianapolis 500 champion who developed the Chevrolet engine for IndyCar’s 2018 Dallara universal body kit in a Honda-powered IndyCar, although he is running Honda’s brand (Acura) in sports cars.

Montoya elaborated on his Indy 500 prospects in an interview with NBCSN pit reporter and insider Will Buxton at the Circuit of The Americas.

“Not full-time no,” Montoya told NBCSN of his IndyCar 2018 prospects. “Hopefully I get a chance to go to Indy, hopefully with Penske, (and) if not someone else. We’ll see.”

Photo: IndyCar

Montoya has extolled the early testing both on the 2018 IndyCar and on the Acura ARX-05.

The first Acura chassis has run at Road Atlanta and Sebring International Raceway thus far, and will be put through its paces at other venues over the next few months.

“It’s been good. We did a lot of work with INDYCAR on that car. Fans are gonna like it,” Montoya said of the 2018 kit.

“Going to IMSA with the Acura program, we’ve done a lot of testing. It’s a beauty to drive. It drives better than what it looks! I haven’t had that much fun driving a race car in a long time.”

Acura ARX-05 Daytona Prototype international (DPi) race car to be campaigned by Team Penske in 2018