For Remo Ruscitti, the month of January was a difficult one. The 21-year-old Burnaby driver spent much of the lead-up to this year’s 53rd running of the Rolex 24 Hour race trying to convince team owners to give him a shot. What was looking to be a fruitless endeavour changed in the eleventh hour when Remo got the call that he had been waiting all month for. Brian Alder, team owner of BAR1 Motorsports, was willing to give him a chance in one of the team’s two entries in the highly competitive Prototype Challenge (PC) class in the #61 entry. What sets this class apart from the others in the Tudor United Sportscar Championship – North America’s premier sports car racing series – is that all competitors race identical cars, making it one of the closest classes of racing in the series.
For Remo, it would he his first taste of racing at the highest level, and he was eager to prove that he was ready to compete. Sharing the car with Remo were former Indycar driver Martin Plowman, current Indy Lights driver Shelby Blackstock, Marc Drumwright, and Ivo Bruekers. Having not driven a PC car before the race weekend began, Remo made excellent use of his limited practice time to come up to speed in the unfamiliar machine.
Plowman qualified the #61 car in 5th position, but only tenths of a second off the team’s sister car sat on the pole position while they were dealing with power steering issues. The race got off to a good start running second in class until a cooling issue started to plague the car around the 6 hour mark. Unfortunately, the car unexpectedly spent the next 2+ hours of the race in the garage, effectively dampening the chance of a podium result. After waiting patiently for his first stint behind the wheel during the 24 hour event, Remo finally got his chance well into the evening once the car made its way back into the race. What followed was a relentless, impressive stint of over two hours where Ruscitti was able to claw back over a lap from the race leader. Once again though, around 6am, the car returned back to the garage having suffered another engine issue, but this time around, it was for good. After many of the team’s competitors suffered issues of their own, the #61 entry completed enough laps to be officially classified in the 5th position in class, Remo’s first top-5 result in his first series start. After the event, Remo summed up his first experience in the series.
“I can’t thank everyone enough for giving me the opportunity to compete in this world famous event, one of my previous goals was to partake in the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona, I can now check that off my list and it was awesome to have my dad there supporting me in one of the biggest races of my career. It was an unforgettable experience but is an unfortunate end to our race. I was very happy with how my weekend in the new car went and felt like I could not have done any better making no mistakes and posting very quick lap times, it is also a good feeling to be able to prove that I can compete at this level of racing and I’m hoping to get another opportunity in the near future and continue on the path that I’m on.” – RR
While Remo’s 2015 season is still taking shape and Daytona saw Remo in the Tudor United Sports Car Championship it did not see Remo competing the previous day in his usual series the Continental Sports Car Challenge, but although missing out on the first round hopes to announce his plans for his full year ride starting in Sebring in the coming weeks. Remo also wishes to thank all of his sponsors for all their support; Lafarge Concrete, Bell Racing Helmets, Polen Designs and UM LLC.