Despite tough weekend at Watkins Glen, the SERKET mission marches on

SERKET Racing had a rough weekend on the track but continued to focus on its mission in Rounds 7 and 8 of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama last weekend at Watkins Glen International. The historic, 3.4-mile, 11-turn road course, located just off Seneca Lake, was the first track to host a post-World War II road race event in the U.S. Since then, The Glen has held steady in its commitment to our military, past and present.

Driver Mark Llano was joined by “Ghost Hunters International” celebrity Paul Bradford and members of theU.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute Team at the track’s annual military appreciation day, which took place Sunday, June 29 at Veteran Corner in Turn 1. Llano, a former Marine, spent time at the event signing autographs, taking pictures and spreading the SERKET Racing mission of raising awareness and funds for our veterans. 

“Everyone at Watkins Glen does a great job supporting our best and bravest,” Llano said. “And for us to be a part of an event that symbolic is truly amazing. We had some tough races out there, but this weekend was about a lot more than just racing for me. It was an opportunity to make our veterans smile, say thank you to them and let them know that they are a part of our team, that we were representing them out on the track.” 

It was a good way to end a rough race weekend for the SERKET team. In Race 1, Llano had a strong start in the No. 24 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car but faced gearbox issues after only 10 laps, limiting him to just fight to finish. 

“The car was running well at the start of the race,” Llano said. “When I came into Turn 7, about 10 laps in, the car locked up. I realized there was a bigger problem. After that point I was just really a sitting duck, so the key was just to finish the race and get the points.”

 Race 2 of the weekend didn’t come with a change of luck for Llano. It started just as the first race, with a clean start, and Llano was in a battle for position in the Gold Cup class. But just eight laps in to the race, he was eliminated from contention by unavoidable contact.  

“I thought it was a good run,” Llano said. “Melanie Snow was in front of me, and the No. 74 car (Bill Peluchiwski) was in front of her. I thought he went hot into the turn and all I saw was him start to spin. Melanie went right, I went left. He was still in his spin, and I had nowhere to go, so we went flying and ended our day. I couldn’t help what happened. I just had to put it out of my mind and keep moving forward.”

 Llano officially recorded ninth- and 10th-place finishes in the Gold Cup Masters Championship for the weekend and sits in seventh place in the championship point standings.

 SERKET Racing will be back on the track July 12-13 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park for Rounds 9 and 10 of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama series. With the next race less than two weeks away, it will be a quick turnaround for SERKET Racing. Llano will use his backup car for the next two rounds of the series.

 “In the Marines, we improvise,” Llano said. “So that’s what we’re going to do – adapt and overcome. Thankfully we have the second car, and we will go back out there and race another day.”

Adam Sinclair