MAPLE, Ontario (May 13, 2013)–When the gates open at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP) this week to welcome the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin, David Ostella will roll into his home track with the SpeedMerchants team as part of their quest for a third consecutive Platinum Cup championship.
The 21-year-old from Maple, Ontario joins the series as a rookie, but is no stranger to the 3.957-kilometer, 10-turn circuit that lies just over an hour from his home. Although Ostella is familiar with the circuit, he has been working on getting up to speed in the GT3 Cup car and getting comfortable with his team.
“We worked on a lot of setup stuff, and I spent a lot of time talking with Mark (Wilkins) and JF (Dumoulin),” said the rookie of his recent testing with the team at CTMP. “Right now, I’m just focused on getting to know the team and getting more seat time to get acclimated to the Cup car.”
This will be Ostella’s first time running an entire season in a sports car series and the rookie truly valued the much-needed seat time during testing.
“The last time I raced here it was in an Atlantic Car, which is a completely different feel and not even close to the Porsche GT3 Cup car,” said Ostella of his experience. “So I really need to continue to work on my timing and consistency during practice and learn from all of my seat time. I need to focus on the braking zones and making sure I put together clean laps.”
In his quest to discover new racing territory, Ostella tested various types of sports cars in the offseason. Even though he took a coveted win in the PC category of the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón at the 2013 Twelve Hours of Sebring, it was Porsche GT3 Cup competition that ultimately won his attention.
“The car is so different,” said Ostella of his Cup car. “I have never driven anything like this before, even right down to the fact that it’s a closed cockpit car. Having all the open-wheel experience and racecraft is definitely good to bring to the table, and it helps, but the car is just so incredibly different. It makes the racing that much more exciting for me.”
Another exciting difference for Ostella is the formula for the competition itself.
“Porsche and IMSA have created a series that is a level playing field for us,” he said. “We all have equal equipment on track and since we all know the car is such an amazing, iconic racecar, that leaves it all up to the driver to make a difference.”
Ostella hopes he can make that difference in front of his large Italian family, his friends, and his sponsors during the Victoria Day Speedfest weekend at his home track.
“The family is definitely coming out in force,” Ostella said. “They never really knew what I did before this when I mentioned that I raced in Indy Lights or Prototypes, as it wasn’t something they could relate to. But when I told them I was racing a Porsche, they not only got it, they were so impressed by the exotic aspect of the car and its performance. Now they are even more interested to see how I perform and what I accomplish in the car.”
His hometown supporters will find him easy to spot on track in the bold colors of his red, black, and chrome SpeedMerchants machine. The Ontario-based team is campaigning a freshly prepared 2013 Porsche GT3 Cup car for Ostella, adorned with the “lucky” number 13. It’s a perfect match to Ostella’s own flair and infectious personality.
David Ostella and the SpeedMerchants team kick off the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin season May 17-19 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park for the Castrol Presents Victoria Day Speedfest Weekend.
For live race updates and racing news regarding Ostella and the team, follow @OstellaCorsa.