Quebec Driver Daniel Emerges As New Star In Gold Cup

Jerimy Daniel leads the Gold Cup championship as a rookie in the  Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin with just four rounds remaining in the 2014 season. Daniel, from Candiac, Quebec, enters Rounds 7 and 8 of the championship Aug. 9-10 at the Grand Prix of Trois-Rivières, Quebec, with a two-point Gold Cup (2010-13 car models) lead over veteran Tim Sanderson. Daniel has won four of six rounds this year in his family-owned No. 75 TRC Porsche.

But only some smooth talk from Daniel and his mother saved his season. Daniel crashed on the first day of the season opener, a cold, blustery afternoon in mid-May at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario. His father was exhausted and frustrated after working all winter to build the Quebec-based team while also operating his auto body repair business, only to see the front bumper and radiator of the team’s Porsche damaged on its first day on track.

“We worked so hard, and my father was a little bit tired, so he chose to pack the stuff,” Daniel said. “My father is expressive. He’s emotional. I just told him and my mother told him, ‘Just calm down and let’s look at the car, what we can do.’ We decided to repair the car, and it took two hours.

“My father has an auto body repair shop, so he’s really good at repairing cars. So that helped.” 

Jerimy Daniel swept both Gold Cup rounds in May at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and in July at Toronto.

Daniel wasted no time proving his father’s change of heart was wise. He won both rounds at CTMP in his first weekend in the series. He also swept the most recent two rounds of the championship on its biggest urban stage, July 19-20 in Toronto.

A title would be Daniel’s first in six years of auto racing that included stints in Formula Ford 1600, the Pro Mazda Championshipand the Canadian Touring Car Championship .

“I want to get that championship,” Daniel said. “It’s my goal this year.”

Daniel started his racing career at age 5 when the father of Canadian racing star and IndyCar veteran Alex Tagliani suggested to Daniel’s father – a close friend – that he buy a kart for young Jerimy. Daniel’s father agreed, and Jerimy practiced on the kart for two years until going racing at age 7. He then raced for the next seven years in all of the major Canadian karting championships and the prestigious Florida winter series.

He climbed to car racing in 2009. But after a tough 2012 season in Pro Mazda and an even more disappointing debut year in the CTCC in 2013, Daniel looked for a new challenge.

Need met opportunity when Daniel and his father took a look at the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin. It was a perfect fit, in more ways than one.

“Everyone has the same car,” Daniel said. “That’s really good for me because I think I’m a good driver, and I can prove it. I don’t have the money to go in Star Mazda and spend a lot of money to be in these teams to go up in the ladder. On the other side, I’m someone who is very tall and big, and in a formula car it’s very hard to fit me in the seat.

“I decided to choose GT racing because it’s a lot more fun. I think there’s more competition, and you can play a little more aggressive because it’s closed wheel. All of these things made me choose the GT car. But what made me choose the Porsche was the fact that everyone has the same car, and I think it’s a pretty competitive series. You have a lot of people who know Porsche Cup all over the world.”

Daniel’s plan is to climb to the Platinum Cup next season with a new car and aim for that championship. While he will have different machinery in 2015, one thing won’t change: He will race with his family at his side.

“I’ve always, always been with my father and my mother at the track,” Daniel said. “They’ve always owned my race car. It’s pretty fun.

“We always take this as a vacation when we go racing. We hang out all weekend together. In the night, we sit in the motor home, we eat together, we have nice dinners. At the same time, we have a lot of fun. There’s not much difference between a family team and if you ran for another team. I just think I have more support than any other driver.”

That support network is growing this weekend at Trois-Rivières. It’s the only event in the championship this season in Quebec, so extended family and friends will engulf Daniel.

Another advantage for Daniel at the Grand Prix of Trois-Rivières (GP3R) is track knowledge. Daniel raced on the 11-turn, 1.53-mile (2.46 km) street circuit four times during his career, twice each in Pro Mazda and Formula Ford.

The GP3R weekend will be special for one more reason – Daniel turns 21 Sunday. A race victory would be the perfect gift.

“It’s like a big party,” Daniel said of the Trois-Rivières weekend. “It’s going to be pretty fun. Trois-Rivières is one of my favorite tracks. I think it’s a really fun track. Action there is really nice; the people are nice.”

Adam Sinclair