AUTO RACING: Surrey’s Scott Hargrove floors it to top of season’s standings

SULLIVAN — For most 20-year-olds, the only way to get their hands on a Porsche is to steal one. Scott Hargrove just drives his like he stole it.

The Surrey driver, who’s more used to openwheel racing than trading paint in sports cars, has spent the better part of a year cruising in a 911 Carrera S from Porsche Canada as a reward for winning the Platinum Cup in last year’s Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin. He’s a safe driver on the road, but greased lightning on the track. The 10-round series was his sports car racing debut, with six wins and four runner-up finishes taking him to the top of the season’s standings.

"It was supposed to just be a one-off race in the Porsche," said Hargrove. "I won the first race I ever did with them and then got invited back to do a couple more races, and the next thing you know, I’m doing the whole season and won the championship."

While he missed the first two rounds of this year’s tournament, he seized the opportunity to race the next two in Toronto in early June, despite having not driven the OpenRoad Auto Group’s Porsche since last August.

"(I thought), I know I’m fast enough, but do I have enough time to reacclimate to the car and get back up to speed?" he said.

Short answer: Yes.

Hargrove qualified eight-tenths of a second faster than anyone else, securing his spot in the third round. He led the race from start to finish, winning his first start of the season under caution caused by two crashes. Round 4 wasn’t quite as victorious, mainly because of the unpredictable weather. Mother Nature’s indecision over rain or no rain made it difficult to choose the setup to put on Hargrove’s car. While Hargrove got a six-second lead off the start, Ontario’s Daniel Morad later overtook Hargrove and held the lead until the checkered flag.

Despite competing in two of four rounds, Hargrove is currently ranked sixth in the tournament with 38 points. While he could still make the podium, he said the scoring system makes it difficult to break into the top three unless you race all 10 rounds.

At this point, Hargrove isn’t sure he’ll race the next two rounds of the GT3 challenge in Ontario. He said he’d like to follow-up on his March debut in Indy Lights – the highest junior level before IndyCar – in which he placed fourth on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla.

"I want to get back in the Indy Lights car – that’s where I started the year and that’s where I want to finish the year," he said, looking ahead to races in Ohio and California this summer.

"I want to do both (open-wheel and sports car racing) as long as I can, until one supersedes the other."Besides, after winning last year, Hargrove said there’s nothing to prove in going for his second Platinum Cup.

"In my career, I’m looking to move forward and go to higher level series."

jacobzinn@gmail.com

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