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By Daniel Bryan, Provinz Contributions Editor, photos courtesy Porsche Centre Oakville (from July 2017 Provinz page 22)
Q: You sell Porsches for a living, a profession that many of us will surely envy. Tell me, how did you get to this point in your career?
A: My career in the automotive industry began 20 years ago, in Burlington, selling vehicles for GM’s new division, Saturn. It was “A Different Kind of Car Company” and a different kind of car, featuring polymer body panels that wouldn’t rust or dent; we demonstrated this to customers by ramming a grocery cart into the side of a model, right in the showroom! I then made the move to BMW and spent 12 great years with them. But my dream was always to be a part of what I believed is the best automotive brand, period—Porsche. So, in January 2013, I joined the Policaro Automotive Family at their Northwest Lexus dealership in Brampton, with my goal being to move to their soon-to-be-opened Porsche facility in Oakville. At Lexus, my professionalism, eagerness, and enthusiasm for the Porsche brand quickly shone through—and a few months later, my dream became a reality when our GM, Francesco Policaro, gave me word that I would be moving with him to Porsche Centre Oakville.
Q: You just mentioned that it had always been your dream to work for Porsche, or at least sell them. Specifically, what was it about the marque that you liked so much?
A: Thinking about Porsche, what immediately comes to mind is the German engineering, the racing heritage, the unbelievable quality and dependability. But most importantly for me, I think, was that I admired the passion that Porsche owners have for their vehicles and the brand. Plus, as a little boy, I had a Porsche poster on my wall!
Q: I can imagine that in your profession, it can be quite a challenge, in terms of product knowledge, when you move to a new brand. What’s normally involved in familiarizing yourself with the product, and did you find your introduction to Porsche any different to past experiences?
A: Reading through brochures and anything you can find on the Internet, and going for a few test drives is typical, but yes, with Porsche, things are a bit different. In July 2013, I had the pleasure of being sent by Porsche Centre Oakville to Germany, for my first Porsche training course, Introduction to Porsche (ITP). It’s a course that Porsche requires all sales executives to take. I’d been a car enthusiast since I was little, so on the entire trip, and especially on our visit to Porsche’s Stuttgart and Leipzig factories, I was like a wide-eyed kid in a candy store! I’ll never forget the people on the assembly line, building the cars—mostly by hand—I could really sense the pride and passion they had for their product and job. Training also included a visit to the Porsche Museum to learn about the history and heritage of the brand, and finally, we drove the product on their test track, at Leipzig. The four-day whirlwind not only gave me a great start on what I needed to know, but also infused me with Porsche pride and passion, a necessity for me as the first point of contact for their customers. I now fully understood why we were flown all the way to Germany!
Q: So, what’s it like, selling Porsches for a living?
A: It is truly an amazing environment. Being part of the Policaro Automotive Group and specifically Porsche Centre Oakville is like being part of a family. That feeling is not only experienced by employees but also by our clients, who visit us regularly. Whether their visit involves sales, service, or parts—or is just to stop by and see what’s new while enjoying an espresso, we’re always in touch.
I love meeting new people and getting them excited about the Porsche brand, and spending time with them getting to know them and their needs. Then we get to use the Porsche Car Configurator together. The vast array of options on offer can truly make their first Porsche a car that is made specifically for them and I feel lucky to be a part of that. Equally important (and fun) is the test drive. Nothing drives like a Porsche—and I love that my job is to show them what makes the Porsche DNA different from everything else. When new Porsche models are released, Porsche sends us to track events to experience the vehicle and compare it to other manufacturers’ offerings. When we come back, we’re pumped and excited to call our clients and share with them all the things the new Porsche has to offer.
Q: Given that the majority of Porsche models are sports cars, are winters at the dealership a slow period? For that matter, is there an especially busy time of year?
A: Spring and summer are always busy because people see Porsches on the road and on the track and start to think about one as their next car. But because about 85% of our clients custom order their Porsche from the factory, and it can take 4–8 months to receive (depending on the model and production schedule), we’re actually busy right through fall and winter, taking orders for cars that will arrive in the spring. Cayenne and Macan sales are healthy all year. We always have customers who are specifically looking to buy a previously owned Porsche, which are in limited supply, so we’re continually checking stock and letting clients know whenever an exciting new car that they may be interested comes in. Porsches tend to have outstanding resale value [Editor’s note: Kelley Blue Book rated Porsche “Best Luxury Brand” in terms of resale value earlier this year] so we also get a lot of year-round repeat business from customers trading in their previous model for something different, or newer. Or, from customers eager to add to their existing Porsche family.
Q: I noticed that you, and many of the other PCO sales executives are also Certified Porsche Brand Ambassadors. Explain that to me—what does it mean, how do you attain it, and how does it set you apart?
A: In order to become a Certified Porsche Brand Ambassador, Porsche has us complete an intensive four-day training course called Porsche Global Certification System (PGCS). Recognized globally at any Porsche retail facility, it certifies that a sales executive has completed additional customer-focused knowledge and training, accepted and approved by Porsche AG. Every three years, we must be recertified. And that’s in addition to the regular product knowledge computer training courses and testing that everyone in the dealership must complete every few months, or whenever there’s new information or new or redesigned Porsche models coming soon. Since starting with Porsche, I have completed 52 modules of training and testing. No other automotive manufacturer trains its staff like Porsche does.
Q: Porsche Centre Oakville will be celebrating its fourth anniversary this September. Thinking back, what have been some of the highlights, both personally and for the dealership as a whole?
A: The opening, for sure. Of course, people were happy that there was a new Porsche dealership in Oakville, but being brand new, there was still a lot to be done when we opened. We started with 24 employees, and we worked 12-hour days, seven days a week, for the first two months—making sure everything was perfect. It was a lot of work, but it was worth it in the grand scheme of things. It quickly became clear we had a great team and all got along well, having “gone through the trenches” together since opening day. The first few months were crazy busy, and I mean crazy! Everyone wanted to come and see the new Porsche dealership—people came in droves, every day, which was exciting. The buzz was incredible! Fast forward to present day, we now have in excess of 70 employees, organized, and knowledgeable. What we’ve created and achieved since our opening is really remarkable.
On a dealership level, some highlights off the top of my head: Porsche Centre Oakville was recently awarded Porsche’s “Premier Dealer” status for the third consecutive year, an achievement never completed by another Porsche dealer in Canada. In March, we hosted 500+ Porsche enthusiasts for “An evening with Magnus Walker” – the legendary Porsche collector and rebuilder, and star of the 2012 Porsche documentary Urban Outlaw. [Editor’s note: find it on YouTube if you haven’t seen it.] Magnus signed autographs for five hours, never wavering—an embodiment of Porsche passion! Back in 2014, we hosted a fun 24-hour-long 24 Hours of Le Mans-themed event and then we won first place in Porsche AG’s global marketing contest for dealership innovation for it! And, we continue to enjoy a successful racing partnership with Alegra Motorsports, sponsoring a championship-winning car and driver in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada series, and now also, select races in the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship. This past January, it was fantastic to see a car with our name on it win its class at the Rolex 24 at Daytona!
Q: You’re a PCA UCR member, so you own a Porsche. Is that your first P-car? Tell me about it, and how, if at all, selling Porsches for a living played a role in helping you make one become your daily driver?
A: Helping people buy a Porsche is what I do, from the first meeting with the customer to designing the build to confirming the order and to them taking delivery. Throughout this process, I see their eyes light up and their smiles go from cheek to cheek. After doing this a few hundred times, you can feel a bit left out! So, having decided that I wanted to become part of the Porsche family and experience the same feeling of delight, in October 2015, I took delivery of my first Porsche—a brand-new 2016 Panamera GTS. I must have changed the build three or four times (okay, maybe 10 or 11 times!) to make it my perfect build. And what a wonderfully engineered work of art it is! Even though I sell Porsches, it was only when I had my very own that I was able to truly appreciate the quality of the build and how excellent they are to drive on a daily basis. After 18 months of ownership, it still gives me goosebumps when I start it up and hear the naturally aspirated V8 growl! I’ve never forgotten the old ads that said “Porsche, there is no substitute”—and I now know exactly what they meant.
Q: So it’s Porsche at home, Porsche at work—is it Porsche in your free time, too?
A: “Free time”, what’s that?! I collect model cars as a hobby, and as you might guess, there’s Porsches among them, with more to come, for sure. I’ve attended a few UCR Socials, but I haven’t yet found the time to fit in a Fun Run—that’s definitely next on my list! At work, we’ve held, attended and sponsored quite a few events both on site and off… the Marquis d’Elegance in Burlington, track days at CTMP, Joseph Brant and Oakville Hospital charity events that the dealership supports, and “Cars & Coffee” on select Saturday mornings in which owners of current and classic Porsches congregate and chat about their vehicles and experiences. I’ve participated in all these events and love doing so. It’s always great to meet and chat with Porsche owners outside of the dealership, in a more casual setting. So, even if I don’t have much free time, it is true what they say: do what you love and you will find it’s not work, but a pleasure.
Q: Any last thoughts you would like to share?
A: If you were the kid with a 911 Turbo poster or if it’s been your lifelong goal to own a Porsche—whether new or previously loved, come and see me or any of the other great staff at Porsche Centre Oakville. We’ll build your dream together!
Story & Photos by Patrick Fong, UCR Member (from July 2017 Provinz page 20)
It was a warm sunny Saturday morning, a welcome change from the dreary, rainy weekend before it. What better day to spend some time with other local Porsche enthusiasts than at the Cars & Coffee season opener event hosted by Porsche Centre Oakville. Coming from the east end near Pickering, it was a rather far trek to Oakville, but the early morning air and sun were perfect ingredients for a nice long cruise.
It has been many years since PCO started hosting the Cars & Coffee event and each year it seems to be bigger than the last. This year’s season opener on May 13th was no exception. The event was scheduled to commence at 9 am. Arriving just shy of 9:15 am, the streets where PCO is situated were already filled up and lined with all different models of Porsches, joined by a couple of other non-Porsche supercars. There were a few car spotters standing on the street, snapping away on their cameras and trying to capture the beauty of the parade of cars arriving. It was quite a spectacle. I ended up parking almost a block down the street but that didn’t bother me because it was awesome checking out all the different Porsches lined on the street while walking towards the PCO building.
What is great about these Cars & Coffee events is that there is always a large variety of models to drool over— from classics like the 1963 B-Coupe T6 to a 964 Turbo and also modern missiles like the 911 GT3s and the rare 911 R. However, there was one Porsche that I hoped to see but was not present. Are there any Carrera GT owners in the GTA? Because that would have been the sweet icing on the cake for me. Aside from the cars though, it was a great opportunity and a treat to connect with the owners and other Porsche enthusiasts over coffee and food. Even Alegra Motorsports driver Daniel Morad was there, mingling with fans! There was a camera crew there as well, interviewing the owners of some of the classic Porsches on display and making the whole event feel even more special. The organizers at PCO definitely have these events planned out well as they also opened up the garage area where we could see various brand new Porsches sitting on their hoists. I felt like a kid in a toy store when I walked inside, dazzled by the newest toys on display.
Inside the showroom, I noticed a little boy no older than 3 years old sitting in the driver seat of a brand-new Jet Black Metallic 991.2 Carrera S. His father was beside him while the little boy grabbed the steering wheel and pretended to be driving. This reminded me that this event is not only for Porsche owners, but it is also a family event that welcomes future enthusiasts and is a great opportunity for father and son to bond over cars. I can’t wait until my son is older so that I can bring him along to future Cars & Coffee events.
After grabbing my second cup of latte, some people began to make their way out and I heard the musical sound of cold starts firing up one after another. I don’t think there is really a need to have an audio system when you can listen to the Porsche engine sing—but that’s just my opinion. It was after noon by the time most people departed, having enjoyed their coffee and the company of their fellow friends. Without a doubt, this had been another great and successful event, generously hosted by Porsche Centre Oakville for all to enjoy. I just can’t wait for the next Cars & Coffee!
2017 Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama opener foreshadows an exciting season
By Daniel Ponzini, Porsche Cars Canada, Photos by Kathleen Wong, UCR President (from July 2017 Provinz page 14)
After more than an eight month wait, race fans eagerly welcomed back the Ultra 94 GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama as the series dropped the green flag for round one and two at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP) in Bowmanville, Ontario.
Hargrove takes two flag-to-flag overall victories
Round 1 featured a flag-to-flag victory by Scott Hargrove in the No. 9 Castrol-Pfaff Motorsports entry, followed by Zacharie Robichon of Mark Motors Racing and series newcomer Remo Ruscitti in the OpenRoad Racing entry.
Round 2 was another flag-to-flag victory by Scott Hargrove, with multiple passes behind him for an exciting race that witnessed Zacharie Robichon finish second and Michael de Quesada in the Alegra Motorsports No. 31 Platinum Cup car round out the podium.
De Angelis earned the top step in both opening races
Gold Cup results for Rounds 1 and 2 saw Roman De Angelis in the No. 78 entry of Mark Motors Racing entry on the top step of the podium and Orey Fidani in his No. 13 Orlando Corporation/Pfaff Motorsports entry finish in second in both races.
Enthusiasm was stronger than ever as a redeveloped GT3 Cup car was welcomed to the starting grid in the Platinum Cup while the previous generation GT3 Cup car now makes up the Gold Cup.
“It is inspiring to see the strength in the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama continue to grow in the seventh annual season, also fueled by the new 911 GT3 Cup Car,” said Alexander Pollich, President & CEO, Porsche Cars Canada, Ltd. “Optimism, spirit, and excitement are overflowing as the teams and driving talent are all looking forward to the possibilities of the new season.”
Round 1: Saturday, May 20
The Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama competitors enjoyed some spirited competition Saturday as Round 1 of season competition kicked off at CTMP during the Castrol presents the Victoria Day SpeedFest.
Scott Hargrove, of Tsawwassen, BC, in his No. 9 Castrol-Pfaff Motorsports entry led the 16-car field from flag-to-flag to capture the overall and Platinum Cup victory. The 2014 Series Champion held off the No. 98 of Ottawa, ON, resident Zacharie Robichon of Mark Motors Racing by just over two seconds, and set the fastest lap in class on Lap 18 with a one-minute, 20.341 second lap on the technical 2.459-mile road course.
Robichon started the race in third position, but his opening gambit pushed him past the No. 31 of Michael de Quesada and Insync/Alegra Motorsports to slide into second place. He was immediately followed by series newcomer Remo Ruscitti from Vancouver, BC, in the No. 69 OpenRoad Racing entry and the two ran in lockstep throughout the 45-minute sprint to finish in second and third place in Platinum respectively.
Series veteran from Toronto, ON, Marco Cirone in the No. 88 Mark Motors Racing entry proved that he was once again on the championship hunt as he remained patient and consistent, gaining ground to round out the top five overall in Platinum and capture the Platinum Masters championship win.
Cirone was joined on the podium by second-place finisher Tim Sanderson in the No. 07 DFC Motorsport- Speedstar Motorsport entry representing Downtown Porsche and sponsor Harry Rosen.
Shaun McKaigue of Gilford, Ontario, captured third in Platinum Masters class in his No. 34 FER-Pal/Aqua Pipe/ Pfaff Motorsports entry after a heavy battle for overall position with Gold Cup competitor Roman De Angelis.
De Angelis, in the No. 78 entry of Mark Motors Racing pushed his Gold entry into the thick of Platinum action running consistently in 10th overall or better throughout the race. The 16-year-old swapped positions several times with McKaigue as well as the No. 2 Platinum entry of Etienne Borgeat of Montréal, QC, running for Sesame/GT Racing. A native of Belle River, Ontario, De Angelis ultimately finished in eighth position overall and earned the Gold Cup victory.
Orey Fidani, of Woodbridge, ON, pushed his No. 13 Orlando Corporation/ Pfaff Motorsports entry into the tight line of Platinum traffic and maintained a consistent pace to take the second step on the Gold Cup podium.
Borgeat, who started in 10th position on the grid and ultimately finished in sixth, earned the Yokohama Hard Charger Award for advancing the most positions in Platinum Cup competition.
Round 2: Sunday, May 21
The Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama series competitors kept their cool Sunday at CTMP under the looming threat of rain to complete a superb 45-minute sprint to complete the Castrol Presents the Victoria Day SpeedFest weekend.
Scott Hargrove in the No. 9 Castrol- Pfaff Motorsports Platinum 911 GT3 Cup entry took his second overall and Platinum Cup victories and the points lead heading out of Rounds 1 and 2 of series competition. Hargrove once again led flag-to-flag, but the race was by no means quiet, as the field behind him continually shifted with multiple passes and battles for position.
Zacharie Robichon, running the No. 98 entry for Mark Motors started his race in third position, but made an aggressive pass early to gain a position on Remo Ruscitti in the No. 69 entry for OpenRoad Racing by Lap 2. He remained hard on Hargrove’s heels throughout the race and ultimately took the second position on the podium for his efforts.
Alegra Motorsports pilot Michael de Quesada in the No. 31 Platinum Cup car started fourth on the grid and patiently stalked Ruscitti until he was able to move up to finish third in class on Lap 10 when Ruscitti made a slight error on track and lost two positions.
A tremendous battle for overall position was fought between Gold and Platinum Masters competitors Roman De Angelis in the No. 78 Mark Motors Gold Cup car, and Platinum Masters drivers Tim Sanderson piloting the No. 07 DFC Motorsport – Speedstar Motorsport entry representing Downtown Porsche and sponsor Harry Rosen, and De Angelis’ teammate Marco Cirone in the No. 88 Platinum Cup.
Cirone and Sanderson each capture a Platinum Masters victory
The three waged a fierce fight from the drop of the green flag with Cirone and De Angelis swapping positions three times throughout the race. Ultimately, Cirone suffered a spin in Turn 10 on Lap 17, dropping positions and giving the Platinum Masters victory to Sanderson.
Etienne Borgeat in the No. 2 entry for GT Racing fell into step behind Sanderson with Shaun McKaigue in the No. 34 FER-Pal/Aqua Pipe Pfaff Motorsports car immediately behind him to finish in second and third place respectively in the Platinum Masters championship.
While the war raged on between Sanderson and De Angelis, it was De Angelis who ultimately snuck by Sanderson with a hard-won pass with just four laps remaining in the race, to take fifth place overall, the victory for Gold competition and the Yokohama Hard Charger Award for advancing the most number of positions in class during the race.
Orey Fidani, of Woodbridge, Ontario in the No. 13 Orlando Corporation entry for Pfaff Motorsports was forced to start in the back of the field due to technical issues, however, he quickly advanced throughout the field to finish in 11th overall and second place on the podium in Gold competition.
The Canadian competitors will return to CTMP for the season finale in September. CTMP is the only circuit that hosts two event weekends for the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama. The final two rounds of the 12-round series take place during the Chevrolet Silverado 250 weekend on Sept. 1-3.
The next event on the six event, 12-race calendar is a series highlight – the Formula 1 Grand Prix du Canada – June 9-11 at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in Montréal, QC.
The Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama season will be highlighted with four televised races on The Sports Networks (TSN), Réseau des sports (RDS), and Motorsport.tv in Europe.
For more information on the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama, visit: www.imsa.com and follow @IMSA on Twitter with the hashtag #GT3CAN.
By Sajjad Butt, UCR Rally Master, Photos by Halah Butt, Rally Volunteer (from June 2017 Provinz page 38)
Brave Porsche rally aficionados showed up on a gloomy day full of cheer and more than just their engines roaring to tackle the route that would take them through spectacular countryside sporting spring greenery as it awoke up from an Ontario winter.
Registration started at 8am sharp, followed by a lively rally briefing before teams were sent out to line-up their cars, get revved up and ready. Car #1 driven by Ali Al-Malki and navigated by Mohamed Al Mansour began the rally at 8:40 followed by the others in one minute intervals. Participants were to travel 186km in under 3 hours and arrive at the finish before noon. Following the International Navigational Rally protocols the cars were to navigate their way to seven checkpoints as they made their way through Caledon’s Forks of the Credit and onwards where their journey that took them through windy country roads and various elevations that displayed some of Ontario’s wonderful woodlands. Fortunately for the drivers and more so for volunteers posted at the checkpoints, not one drop of rain fell until cars drove in to the final checkpoint at 427 Auto Collision on Evans Road, in Etobicoke.
The winning car #8 was driven by David Stewart and navigated by Mike. They came close to perfection, losing only 2 points. Car #7, driven and navigated by first-time rallyers Martin Lystek and Marianne Neuper, came in second with 8 points lost. Third place went to car #1, Mohamed Al Mansour and Ali Al-Malik. These trophy winners were not the only ones who received prizes, as all cars were presented with a participation gift.
Special thanks to the checkpoint control team of Andy, Halah, Hamsha, Karen, Manzar, Mustafa, Roula, Sadia, Tony, Val, Zuhair and my constant companion, my wife Gulzar who accompanies me on all my rallies. These volunteers make it possible for me to host these enjoyable and fun-filled events. Without them, it just wouldn’t happen.Spring Rally Results