2005 Gilles Villeneuve winner moves up from Atlantics to Rolex Sports Car Series (Columbus, OH) 28 April 06--Team owner Mike Shank announced today that he has signed rising Canadian racer Antoine Bessette to compete in the Laguna Seca and...
2005 Gilles Villeneuve winner moves up from Atlantics to Rolex Sports Car Series
(Columbus, OH) 28 April 06--Team owner Mike Shank announced today that he has signed rising Canadian racer Antoine Bessette to compete in the Laguna Seca and Phoenix rounds of the Rolex Sports Car Series in the No.6 Mears Motor Coach Lexus/Riley. Bessette will be teamed with American Mike Borkowski.
Bessette won two races on his way to third in the Toyota Atlantic Championship in 2005, and was tabbed as the recipient of the Gilles Villeneuve award, although Shank already had his eye on the Canadian well before then.
"I'm am excited about having Antoine join us," said Shank. "I've seen him race in several different series over the years, and he comes from where we do in Atlantics. He is clearly talented, and we were impressed with how quickly he came to grips with the car in testing, so we are looking forward to having him race with us for the next two events, and we could be working together beyond that as well."
Bessette, who first started racing in his native Quebec in rally cars and in ice racing, has a strong record in open-wheel racing, establishing himself as a winner in Formula Ford, Formula Renault and Toyota Atlantic competition.
"I feel that for me, racing in Rolex is the next logical step in my career, and it is clear that Michael Shank Racing is a very competitive team with well-prepared cars, so I am excited about this opportunity," said Bessette. "The Daytona Prototypes are much heavier than the cars I have been racing, but they also have a lot of power, so it is a lot of fun. The prototypes are all so evenly matched, that the driver makes a big difference. I really enjoyed testing the car, and now I am eager to race it!"
Bessette will get the chance to build up his seat time next week as he will test with the team at Miller Motorsports Park, which will host the season finale Rolex event on Labor Day weekend.