Story By: RACING TO END ALZHEIMER’S RACING – TROIS-RIVIÈRES, QUE – The Racing to End Alzheimer’s team had a second-consecutive successful weekend in Sports Car Challenge Canada presented by Michelin competition, with Nick Galante winning his third race of the season after placing second in the opening two sprints on the streets of historic Trois-Rivières.
Driving the No. 77 Mercedes AMG GT4 prepared by VPX Motorsport that gives families the chance to honor loved ones who have suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, the Massachusetts native remained perfect with six podium finishes in six SCCC races. Galante’s first-career street race came in his SCCC debut in Toronto in July, when completed the podium sweep, earning two wins and a second-place finish during the Honda Indy Toronto event.
Joining Galante in victory were the names of 160 people who have suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. For a $250 CAN donation, the names and home towns of loved ones are placed on the car, and families have the option to add their photos to the R2EndAlz website’s tribute page. All donations are triple-matched by Legistics, VPX Motorsport and series sponsor FEL Motorsport – meaning that each $250 donation becomes $1,000 – with 100% going to the Federation of Quebec Alzheimer Societies.
“The fans were absolutely amazing,” Galante said. “Everybody was so welcoming, so appreciative and very excited for the weekend. It was a fantastic weekend for the entire Racing to End Alzheimer’s team, with VPX Motorsport. The VPX team that Vince Partap has put together is truly a top notch gathering of talent in every position, I’m impressed with the professionalism – and the fun we’ve had! The Racing to End Alzheimer’s program is even stronger our Canadian journey. It was good to bring home some wins, not only for myself and the team, but for the hundreds of families and thousands of supporters of the program.”
Racing to End Alzheimer’s founder Phil Frengs was also thrilled with the chance to bring the team’s mission to an entirely new group of fans.
“We had a remarkable time participating in the GP3R weekend at the historic road course in Trois-Rivières,” said Frengs. “An amazing and enthusiastic throng attended, all so passionate for Motorsports of all stripes – it is truly something for everyone. For us, a second race weekend felt like we were with our Canadian family, and our paddock visitors were excited to see our car covered with more than 160 names of loved ones. We added names for locals and benefited the Federation of Quebec Alzheimer Societies.”
Galante spent the weekend’s opening two races chasing young Jack Polito, who won his fifth and sixth races of the campaign. In Sunday afternoon’s finale, it was Galante who got the jump at the green flag from the outside of the front row. He went on to lead all 20 laps despite several challenges in the closing minutes, winning by 0.488-seconds.
“Jack’s Mustang does look wide on that track,” Galante admitted. “I knew it would be tough to pass him if he got in front of me in race three, but my plan was to get a jump on the start and get ahead early. From there, it was a matter of holding him off.”
With his only prior street racing experience the previous SCCC event in Toronto, Galante faced a new challenge on the tight 1.521-mile Trois-Rivières Circuit – racing at night in the opening race. With darkness quickly falling, he started Friday evening’s opening 40-minute race on the pole, with his bright purple Mercedes leading the 21-car field for the opening 17 circuits.
“It was difficult adjusting quickly,” Galante said of the challenge. “The toughest part was that I had the pace car with the flashing strobe lights in my face on the out lap and under yellow, and then had to quickly adjust to the extreme dark. It was tough to see the braking markers and the flag stations, especially on the start, but after four laps I quickly got used to it. It was exciting.”
He lost the advantage to Polito on the 18th lap and kept on the pressure for the final eight rounds, even tapping his back bumper several times. Galante eventually came up a mere 1.098-seconds behind at the checkered flag.
For Saturday morning’s second race, Galante started on the outside of the front row, and made a green-flag bid to the outside. Polito started third but quickly took the lead by splitting the front-row cars. Galante fell to third but regained second by the end of the first lap. He chased Polito for the remainder of the 30-minute race, making several bids in the closing laps. A chance for a final charge was negated when several TCR cars tangled in the final minute, forcing the race to end under caution.
“This was our first time at GP3R and it lived up to all the expectations,” said VPX Motorsport team principal Vince Partap. “We welcomed back Phil, Nick and the R2EA team. It was great to see the interest taken by fans and people of all ages in the car, and the message it was trying to spread. We loved having the opportunity to be a part of that again.”
SCCC wrap up its season with the Labor Day Sprints Sept. 1-3 at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park. Galante missed the season-opening Victoria Day Speedfest at that circuit in May, with Polito winning all three races to get a solid start for the championship.
Next up for the Racing to End Alzheimer’s team will be the Porsche Deluxe Carrera Cup North America doubleheader in support of the IMSA Battle on the Bricks at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, September 15-17. Race one takes the green flag Saturday at 2:30 p.m. EDT, with race two Sunday at 9:40 a.m.