Behind the Scenes at the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge

This year’s Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal was full of action and surprises, not only in the main event but also in the support series. One of them is the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge, and Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve marked the second stop of its six-race tour.

The Car Guide got the opportunity to go behind the scenes to get a closer look at the cars and talk to drivers, including Quebec’s Patrick Dussault, just before they hit they track.

No Ordinary Porsche

All the cars competing in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge are identical from a technical standpoint. Based on the Porsche 911 GT3 RS, they have the same specifications in terms of power, transmission ratios, suspension tuning and tires.

In fact, at any time during the season, series officials can perform a thorough inspection. If the cars fail to meet all the criteria, the team is automatically disqualified.

Using the same naturally aspirated 4.0-litre six-cylinder engine as the standard GT3 RS, the race versions produce 485 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque. However, instead of a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, they rely on a six-speed sequential gearbox.

Meanwhile, the chassis is reinforced and carbon fibre is used for nearly all body panels to reduce weight. Obviously, the cockpit is modified for racing, as well, with a single seat left for the driver.

Photo: William Clavey

Tough Day for Patrick Dussault

Despite hot, sunny weather throughout the weekend, Patrick Dussault had a tough time at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve, damaging his car just a few minutes into the race. That was quite a contrast with the first event of the season in Toronto, where he finished second.

Sitting comfortably in fourth place before the start of the race on Saturday morning, the Montrealer felt great. After running into various problems, he ended up being the ninth driver to cross the finish line. A disappointing outcome, for sure, although his teammate Étienne Borgeat fared worse, having completely destroyed his GT3.

“The important thing is to maintain a steady performance and earn all the points we can,” Dussault confessed.

Admittedly, the pressure is even higher in Montreal, which is one of two events where the Canadian and U.S. series meet on the track, almost doubling the number of cars. Still, Dussault says he’s not intimidated by these new contenders and that his performance during the race his not affected.

“For me, it’s a race like any other,” he explained. “Our goal was to at least qualify in the top five, which we did. Whether there are 43 cars on the track or just a few, it makes no difference. Of course, there are more obstacles to deal with and more things to think about, so we have to be more focused. The key is to remain confident throughout the race.”

Resisting the push from all the American drivers at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve, it was a Canadian, Roman Deangelis, who took home the checkered flag.

Dussault currently ranks third in the championship. We wish him the best of luck for the July 5 race at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario.

Photo: William Clavey

Unique Colours

Drivers in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge proudly show their unique colours. Dussault and his teammate never go unnoticed with their vibrant, multi-coloured lion, a creation of art-car designer Mario Adornetto in collaboration with title sponsor Porsche Lauzon. It illustrates the team’s spirit, strength and will to win.

“We call it the ‘GT3 Lion.’ It symbolizes our determination and confidence,” Dussault said. “We want to dominate like a lion and make our presence felt on the track with our unique colours.”

The Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge is one of the premier factory-backed racing series in Canada and the U.S. The cars, which cost around $285,000, are prepared by Porsche exclusively for the track. Drivers only have to find a sponsor to provide financial support during the season… and muster up the courage to take on 16 skilled opponents.

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