Rookie also posts two records en route to the title
Maple, Ontario-native David Ostella headed northeast to Calabogie Motorsports Park this weekend for his final event of the 2013 Ultra 94 GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin season.
With a razor-thin lead of only 12 points in the Championship coming into the weekend, Ostella knew he had plenty of work to do in his SpeedMerchants Porsche GT3 Cup car if he was going to take home the ultimate prize in his first season of sports car competition.
The 21-year-old tackled the first task of the weekend in Saturday morning’s qualifying session. Hoping to finish well in two races meant Ostella needed to start near the front of the grid to keep second-place Championship contender Chris Green in sight.
With no pole positions to his credit this season, Ostella impressed by posting a new qualifying lap record in the session, along with a second-fastest lap to take the pole position for both races.
Ostella took the green flag first at the 3.05-mile, 20-turn track, led the first four laps of competition and set a new race lap record before finding trouble in Turn 5, giving up the lead to Green and falling to sixth place. Undeterred, Ostella made up lost ground to grab the third spot on the podium for the day.
“The first race did not go as planned, but the Porsche GT3 Cup car was phenomenal out there,” Ostella said. “The tires definitely started to fall off, but the Michelin tires kept me in the hunt even after my mistake. I am the one that messed up in Turn 5, I ended up spinning and I felt really badly for SpeedMerchants and everyone. We were still sitting in a pretty good spot for the Championship. One race left, so I had to make sure I kept it clean and brought it home.”
That “pretty good spot” was only an eight-point lead in the Championship entering today’s final race of the season, with Green lined up alongside Ostella on the front row of the starting grid. Ostella knew he had to finish fourth or better to ensure he would be giving the victory speech tonight at the Championship celebration.
With Green closely in tow, Ostella began to pull away from the field at the drop of the green flag, laying down fast, consistent laps. Mission in mind, the young Canadian kept it clean and Green at bay for the first 18 laps around the circuit, while the pair built a 25-second gap on their fellow GT3 Cup Challenge Canada competitors.
Green made his move on Ostella with three laps to go in the race, but Ostella had no desire to throw away his championship chances at that point, so he happily settled into second place.
“It was a wicked start, but I held the lead almost until the end until Chris Green got around me, and he was always there,” Ostella said of his final race of the season. “I just thought of the Championship and decided to let him go and worry about finishing second, and ended up getting the Championship. I can’t thank the team enough! SpeedMerchants did a fantastic job and the Porsche GT3 Cup Car was amazing. The Michelin tires held up a little bit better than yesterday and it was just great out there. The tires have been awesome all year. I have to thank all of my sponsors for helping me get here and I am happy to bring them home a championship. Especially my grandfather and my family, they definitely will be proud, and it’s great to be able to go home and show them this.”
Ostella finished his first-ever season in sports car racing with two poles, two wins, nine podium finishes, and most importantly, one GT3 Cup Challenge Canada championship.
“I thought I would be a good contender and I was looking forward to just getting sports car experience this year and I got that experience and a Championship, so I couldn’t ask for anything more,” Ostella said of his season.
Maybe David Ostella couldn’t ask for anything more, but he has one more thing coming tonight at the Championship celebration – a new Porsche 991 from Porsche Cars Canada to enjoy for the next year.