The 2013 season was a big year for David Ostella. The Canadian made the switch from open-wheel to sports car racing seamlessly with a win at the season opening 12 Hours of Sebring and never looked back. After catching the “Porsche bug” he spent the season dominating the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin scene with consistent podium finishes and took the top step at the Grand Prix du Canada in front of a Formula 1 crowd. His adventures took him stateside for a handful of Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama races, the Grand Prix of Baltimore providing the backdrop for his first podium in the U.S. series. His season was capped off by winning the Platinum Cup championship in Canada and receiving a brand new Porsche 911 Carrera from Porsche Cars Canada.
As the champion takes a look back at his wild year he will recap each race weekend and pass on wisdom of lessons learned, races won as well as a recounting the heartbreak of near misses. The 12 Hours of Sebring in March set the scene for his first race of 2013, driving a Prototype Challenge car with PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports while in the process of finalizing a Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge program with SpeedMerchants Motorsports.
Sebring was your gateway to the sports car paddock, even though you were not in a Porsche. Was it a helpful introduction?
David: “Sebring was really helpful; it was when I was able to meet Jim (Hoddinott) and the rest of the SpeedMerchants team(2013 Championship team). It really was an introduction to sports cars because everyone was there. I found out that my mechanic at SpeedMerchants was actually going to be Tyler (Givogue), who I have known since I was 10 through go-karts. I actually remember being in the drivers meeting for ALMS (American Le Mans presented by Tequila Patrón) and they had the GT3 race on in the room. I was watching it and the cars just looked so good out there, I couldn’t wait to drive one. There were amazing battles at the front of the pack. Actually I think that was the one Jim flipped his car on! (Laughs) So that was fun to see!”
How was Sebring to race and what prepares you for a track like that?
David: “Well just like everyone says, that really is a unique track. It’s one of my favorites because it was the first track I was ever on in a racecar. It reminded me of all the go-kart tracks in Canada because it was so bumpy. But I would say tracks like Baltimore and Toronto would help someone out because it’s like a permanent street course.”
Being that you were in a new car and new style of racing, did Sebring teach you anything?
David: “I had no previous experience in endurance races but I won there so I think I found out that I had a niche for that sort of thing.”
Talk about the challenges of an endurance race. How did you deal with not being the only driver in the car?
David: “That’s very hard. Sharing the car is a challenge because you get out of the car and you’re like ‘okay I’m out,’ but the car is still out there. It takes a lot of trust, you want them to do well and just bring the car back in the same good condition. And of course I want to bring the car back to the pits in the same condition they gave it to me.”
A lot of drivers talk about how cool it is to drive through dusk, night and dawn. Do you have a preference?
David: “I liked the night driving. It is a challenge though, your nerves set in a little. Everything becomes harder to see, things you don’t think about until it is dark and then you’re like, ‘where’s my marker?’ So you have to make sure you don’t panic. But it was new and enjoyable for me; I believe I was quickest in practice. It was a lot of fun!”
How does that Rolex you won look in your new Porsche 911 Carrera?
David: “Pretty fantastic! I think they look great together!”