For Immediate Release:
Mantella and Wilkins team in no. 8 Mantella Autosport Chevrolet Camaro Z28.R while Barkey and Marcelli will drive no. 80 Mantella Autosport / MBRP Chevrolet Camaro Z28.R
January 20, 2015 (Toronto, Ontario) – Entering its second season in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, Mantella Autosport features two new cars and two new drivers.
Mantella Autosport will field a pair of ground-pounding Chevrolet Camaro Z28.Rs driven by a quartet of Canadian drivers in the 2015 Continental Tires season. Team owner Anthony Mantella and Mark Wilkins will drive the no. 8 Mantella Autosport / Gulf Chevrolet Camaro Z28.R, while newcomers Martin Barkey and Kyle Marcelli will drive the no. 80 Mantella Autosport / MBRP Chevrolet Camaro Z28.R. MBRP is a leading manufacturer in high performance exhaust systems for today’s most popular import and domestic vehicles, ATV’s and snowmobiles.
At the Roar Before the 24, Mantella and Wilkins drove their Camaro to the ninth position in the combined practice times. The two drove together throughout the 2014 Continental Tire Challenge season.
“As team owner I can’t express how I feel about going to Daytona – it’s impossible!” said Mantella. “We’ve got fast Z28.Rs, an awesome engineering team, tireless crew and two pro drivers that would be competitive anywhere in the world in any series. It really is a dream to have Mark and Kyle as our pro drivers, words to describe the respect I have for each of them escape me. These gentlemen both prove to Martin and I that with proper focus, dedication and a never-ending will to win, championships are possible.”
Wilkins, a noted endurance racing specialist, has won at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, 12 Hours of Sebring and Petit Le Mans.
“The Mantella Autosport crew has had an exceptionally busy off-season preparing the two Chevrolet Camaro Z28.Rs,” said Wilkins. “The Roar was a great opportunity for us to put some miles on the cars and get to work on setup for the race weekend. We ran through a series of changes and I feel we made some great progress heading into the race this weekend. We constantly developed and learned a lot last year, and we look forward to continuing the progress with our stunning Chevrolet Camaro Z28.R. I’m also very excited to have the opportunity to work with Kyle and Martin this season. It’s always nice to have a team car to work with and I’m confident this will really elevate the whole program in 2015!”
Newcomers to the team Barkey and Marcelli also drove together throughout the 2014 Continental Tire Challenge, scoring a best finish of third at Virginia International Raceway.
“The 2015 race season is here, and I can’t wait to get started at Daytona,” said Barkey. “With a good Roar Before the 24 behind us, I can say the Mantella Autosport team has our no. 80 Mantella Autosport / MBRP Chevrolet Camaro Z28.R ready to race. The car is a beast, yet easy to drive. Daytona is not the best track for this car, yet I feel we will still be competitive there. The team is dedicated, from ownership to engineers, drivers to crew. Everyone is 100% willing to do what it takes to bring a professional team to the line every time. It’s going to be a great year.”
Marcelli is a multi-time race winner in the American Le Mans Series, and has extensive experience in prototypes as well as GT-class machinery.
“This is a big-time program for Mantella Autosport to take on, and I think there are many people watching and evaluating,” said Marcelli. “That being said, I have complete faith and confidence in Mantella Autosport that we will succeed in this year’s Continental Tire Challenge. We have a wonderful group of individuals – ownership, engineering, mechanics, drivers, and all of our sponsors and supporters. Collectively, we are all driven with a goal of winning races and showcasing the utmost professionalism on and off the track.”
The BMW Performance 200 will be streamed live on IMSA.com on Friday, January 23 at 2:00 PM ET.
About Mantella Autosport
Mantella Autosport is an all-Canadian team composed of dedicated individuals with experience at the highest levels of motorsport united to achieve continued success, competing in the 2015 Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series with two Chevrolet Camaro Z28.R race cars. Mantella Autosport’s partners include General Motors, Gulf Oil, MBRP Performance Exhaust and Spyder. For more information, visit www.mantellaautosport.com.