Amidst the bustling holiday season comes the dawn of the 2020 season for Performance Tech Motorsports. Often the achievements of the previous season are lost amidst the hustle of preparation and planning for next year. Before the sun sets on 2019 Performance Tech Motorsports is reflecting on the accomplishments, both big and small, made throughout the year and giving thanks for all of those involved.
“This was a really great season for everyone,” Team Principal Brent O’Neill said. “Blake, Brad and Dean did a fantastic job of getting used to the new car. Cameron hopped into the LMP2 with Kyle and they impressed us all. He and James meshed so well in the LMP3 they made a ton of progress there, too. We conquered some big hurdles like punching our ticket to Le Mans. The 2020 season is already here in terms of preparation but I think it’s really important for everyone to look back at 2019 and realize how much we accomplished.”
The driver pairing of Brad and Dean Baker, Bowmanville, Ontario, faced a season of new and exciting tests in IMSA Prototype Challenge. The duo persistently cut time off of their laps accompanying progressive speed with help from co-driver Kyle Masson, Windemere. Their ever-improving racecraft was highlighted by a third-place qualifying effort and finish at VIRginia International Raceway. Most impressively, the Baker brothers always greet you with a smile and high spirits no matter the on-track outcome.
“I am grateful for getting better in each race I participated in and hope that it may continue,” Brad Baker said. “I’m also grateful for my brother racing in those races I couldn’t. Thank you to Kyle and Bruno for all of the help so we continue to get better and for Brent, Gwenn and all the guys for getting us to the track, on the track, and off the track. Generally, I am just grateful for the chance to be with this team and my brother out on track!”
Both Brad and Dean Baker both agree that the opportunity to drive together is by far the best part of their 2019 season.
“This was such a great first full season,” Dean Baker said. “To be able to spend this time with my brother is priceless! I also want to thank Kyle and Bruno for all their help this year. The amount they helped my race raft is immeasurable. Also thank you to Brent, Gwenn and the whole Performance Tech team!”
Masson looks back on 2019 with a sense of pride in himself and the team as they’ve checked the box next to each goal set forth at the beginning of the year. In his fourth season with Performance Tech Motorsports Masson took the reins of the No. 38 Centinel Spine ORECA LMP2 and the No. 19 Kerr Industries Ligier LMP3. Along with driving with the Baker brothers he also stepped into a new role as their driver coach alongside Bruno Junqueira. Masson has continued to exponentially grow as a driver and teammate over the past four years and shows no signs of slowing down.
“The holidays are coming up this offseason and it’s time for me to reflect on this last year and the opportunities given to me,” Masson said. “Big things have been happening under the Performance Tech tent all year long and there is not one of us that hasn’t had to work for it to make our goals happen. I want to thank the crew for giving us a consistent car that was reliable all year.
“Also thank you, Cameron, Andrew, and Robert for performing when it mattered. We secured our entry into Le Mans but it was a long road that started with our second-place finish at Daytona. I know how hard the crew had to work, from long nights at the shop to hard days at the track. Nothing happened without the guys behind the scenes working their tails off and giving us a great car and a quick one.
“I would also like to reflect on a series that is new to me; the Prototype Challenge series with the Bakers’ and Kerr industries. I had so much fun working with them all year long. They are truly talented drivers and I know that their consistent good results are going to keep coming. I’m hopeful for a win next year as we will be really strong with the new rules.”
Driver Cameron Cassels, British Columbia, arguably had his biggest season yet. He competed in four series full-time; IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, IMSA Prototype Challenge Lamborghini Super Trofeo as well as a full season of go-karting with his children. His effort in the No. 38 Centinel Spine LMP2 resulted in a win at the Mobile 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, the MICHELIN Endurance Cup Championship, and an invitation to the 2020 24 Hours of Le Mans.
“The 2019 season has been a great year spent with some truly special people at the track and away,” Cassels said. “This year I was fortunate enough to share some great moments with old friends as well make a few with new friends. Saying that I cannot wait to get the 2020 season going would be an understatement though.”
Cassels was joined in the No. 75 NorCan Electric LMP3 by a familiar face, Performance Tech veteran James French, Sheboygan, Wisconsin. French relished in another season of fierce battles marking his sixth year with the team.
“In 2019 I was most thankful for being able to compete in a stacked LMP3 field alongside my buddy Cameron Cassels,” French said. “Having a three-car lineup made us a bit more competitive on the track, but also made it a lot more fun off track in between sessions, and around the paddock. I can’t thank Gwenn and Brent enough for keeping me part of the Performance Tech family for so many years now, and for all of the great memories we have made along the away.”
Driver Blake Mount, Littleton, Colorado, faced a different learning curve from any other driver on the team in 2019 as he transitioned from open-wheel racing to prototypes. Along with acclimating to a closed cockpit and increased downforce he also had to learn how to set up the car with a teammate. Driving with Max Hanratty, Sheboygan, Wisconsin, Mount showed he had what it took to be a successful endurance driver both on and off the track by compromising on setups, running consistently quick times and bringing the car back clean.
“There are truly so many individuals that helped make 2019 possible and such a successful season,” Mount said. “Everyone from the truck driver John, to the team owner Brent helped to make 2019 what it was. Without my family at home, my family of partners and sponsors and my newly found family at Performance Tech I wouldn’t even be in this position to comment on it so I have to say that I am thankful for all of them before anything else.
“With that being said, I can’t lie when I say that my most memorable moment this season was actually my qualifying session during the Michelin Encore at Sebring. I vividly remember the words that were said to me by Brent as I passed by the start/finish for the last lap of qualifying. I only had one lap to put everything together, I only had one more chance to leave my all on the track, and that’s what Brent reminded me of. It was the first time this whole season, where I felt I was able to show my actual pace and I can’t even begin to describe the feelings I was experiencing as I awaited the radio transmission on my cool-down lap.
“I was rolling through Turn 1 when I hear, “P1 buddy you did it, great job!” and at that moment everything disappeared, it was just me in the car, on the track completely alone and the connection between myself mentally and the car was unlike any other time prior. It only lasted for a split second, but that is the best way I can describe the feeling of genuinely giving it your all and ending up on top when the dust settles. The 2020 IMSA Prototype Challenge cannot come fast enough.”
The 2019 season was not only Mount’s first season with Performance Tech but Hanratty’s as well. The pair took no time settling into the family atmosphere of the team, in turn, enhancing their already rewarding season.
“I’m very grateful to have the opportunity to be in a car again this year and join Performance Tech,” Hanratty said. “It was an amazing experience and a great environment under the tent. We had a lot of fun and success together. Hats off to Brent, Blake and the whole team for a great season. I want to thank my family, friends, sponsors, and fans for making all of this possible. Lastly, I want to wish everyone a happy holiday season and I look forward to announcing my 2020 plans soon.”
Preparations for the 2020 season are in full swing at Performance Tech Motorsports’ shop in Deerfield Beach. The team will have a rare and well deserved few days off for the holidays then get right back to the grind of preparations.
Source. Performance Tech Motorsports