(Bomanville, Ontario) July 26th 2012 – The Mobil 1 Grand Prix of Mosport – Canada’s largest sports car race was a demanding weekend at the office for 22-year old Race Driver Kyle Marcelli. The Barrie, Ontario native had driving duties for Pfaff/Castrol Racing in the Porsche GT3 Cup Canada as well as for Merchant Services Racing in the LMPC category of the American Le Mans Series.
Fresh off an American Le Mans Series pole position just weeks earlier at Lime Rock Park, Marcelli and the newly formed Merchant Services Racing team were eager to get back into victory circle having won three races in 2011.
Marcelli is co-driving with the trio of Matt, Anthony and Lucas Downs throughout the 2012 ALMS championship. The Downs having had success in the Prototype Lites category are now honing their craft behind the wheel of a much more powerful and sophisticated Race Car. Each event in 2012 will feature one of the Downs brothers in the #8 Merchant Services Racing LMPC co-driving with the team’s lead driver Kyle Marcelli.
Being the only stop on Canadian soil for the American Le Mans Series, many of Marcelli’s fans, friends and family showed up to watch the Grand Prix.
“It’s always exciting to come back and race on home soil. The fans are wonderful and so unique.” Said Kyle Marcelli
Aside from Marcelli’s American Le Mans Series commitments, he is also campaigning the #9 Pfaff/Castrol Porsche GT3 in the Porsche Cup Canada. Due to Marcelli’s professional status, he is entered as a guest driver in the championship.
Piloting a beautiful 2011 Porsche 911 GT3, Marcelli set a personal best during Saturday qualifying of 1:21.5 which put him in the first position for Saturday’s race. Marcelli went on to cross the stripe first ahead of Miami’s Carlos Del Quesada. As for Sunday, the green flag was waved under tricky conditions as all cars were on Michelin slick tires on a damp track. Marcelli led the field into turn one and drove conservative until fully confident to push. The Pfaff/Castrol car driven by Kyle Marcelli again crossed the stripe first this time ahead of Quebec’s Etienne Borgeat.
“I love getting behind the wheel of this Porsche, it’s such a beautiful car to drive. Said Marcelli. “This weekend in particular has been tricky jumping back and forth between the LMPC and the GT car, each car takes a different driving style but I’ve certainly enjoyed the challenge. Although a guest driver in the championship, I’m hoping my participation will be notice by other young racers that are looking to make a career in the sport. Porsche offers a great development system world wide, and now in Canada!”.
Jumping back into the faster, more agile Le Mans Prototype it was time for qualification. Having earned the pole position and setting a new lap record for the LMPC in 2011, Marcelli was eager to repeat again in 2012. He put in a time of 1:10.8, a whopping half second faster than last years pole time, but it was merely beaten by Colin Braun who put in a 1:10.6. Marcelli would start second for the two our and forty-five minute race.
The Merchant Services Racing team got off to a great start with Marcelli behind the wheel opening up almost a 20-second lead before the first full-course caution. The team used this time for a driver change and fuel stop. Matt Downs, making his first start in 2012 did a fabulous job maintaining the lead position for his 60-minute stint before having the duties back to Kyle Marcelli to chase for the win. It looked like it was going to be a dogfight between Bruno Junqueira and Kyle Marcelli for the win until disaster struck. Marcelli had a right rear tire puncture which sent him off-course in turn 8 at over 270km. Luckily Marcelli walked away un-injured but the teams hard work and hope of victory quickly vanished.
“It’s frustrating when you’re so close to victory and something happens out of your control that take away your chances. The puncture is something very rare but unfortunately ended our day. My heart goes out to the team, as they were perfect all weekend. I’m going to put my head down in Ohio and bring these boys some first place hardware”. Said Kyle Marcelli
Marcelli would like to recognize his corporate partners: MBRP Performance Exhaust Inc., Pfaff Automotive Group, Castrol, Merchant Services Ltd., Barrie Trim & Mouldings Inc., Bell Racing, Simcoe Building Centre, THE GARAGE, 104.1 The Dock and OGIO.