IMSA NEWS: Racer Mark Llano Faithful to Marine Corps Past
March 1st, 2013
Braselton, GA, March 1, 2013 – It’s been said that life begins at the end of your comfort zone. Veteran and SERKET driver Mark Llano has brought that philosophy from the United States Marine Corps to the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama.
The former Marine decided to pursue the challenge of racing when he heard the roar of the fully throttled engines at the 2012 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona.
“I remember Daytona, when I heard those engines for the first time. I remember being inspired by the competition and the camaraderie on the track and how it reminded me of my time in the Marine Corps. Then I thought, this could be a great way to inspire people,” said Llano. “This could be a great way to inspire veterans. And by competing we could help raise awareness and funds that assist those veterans achieve the American dream they have fought for so long to protect.”
If there’s one person who undoubtedly understands the American dream, it may be Llano. He emerged from an impoverished childhood to become a model citizen with countless awards and achievements on his resume. Llano is motivated to influence those who are in need by developing a legacy of hope.
“As a boy growing up in challenging circumstances, I have learned in my life that where you come from doesn’t define where you will end up,” said Llano. “If you aren’t afraid of the challenge of the unknown, you can achieve great success.”
Through a partnership with NGT Motorsport, Llano is determined to accomplish this mission. NGT Motorsport was the recommended race team for Llano because of their professionalism and commitment to racing, as well as their fierce drive to win.
Llano’s drive doesn’t only come from within. His grandfather reminded him consistently “if you believe in who you are, you will become what you believe.” Llano continues to remind himself of that advice daily.
That gift of wisdom has paid off. Llano is now a Marine veteran, race car driver in the largest single-make series in the world, and President and CEO of Source One Distributors, a leading provider of products and equipment to the armed services and law enforcement.
Though military service is an important part of Llano’s business, it’s not just a business for the Gulf War veteran. Llano has held onto his military service through his distinguished Marine Corps bond of Semper Fidelis, a Latin term signifying the transformation to a Marine that cannot be undone. This term translates to specifically mean “always faithful.” Llano has remained faithful to his military cause with a determination to always live by the ethics and values of the Corps.
“I plan on leaving a legacy in the 2013 IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama season through excellence and achievement on the race track translating into an increase in support and awareness for our veterans and their families within IMSA, its competitors and its fan base,” he said.
Llano embodies his passion for military service with his mission to dedicate 25 percent of sponsorship to organizations dedicated to veteran support. The philanthropic partners Llano will represent during the 2013 season include Extreme Couture GI Foundation, Executive Bootcamp for Veteran’s and Operation Homefront. Because of his earnest loyalty to philanthropy, the Florida-native was recently honored with a key to the Village of Wellington, Florida.
With a high and tight haircut and a camouflage-wrapped Porsche Cup Car, Llano is easy to spot in the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge paddock. But both cosmetic details serve a strategic purpose in the former Marine’s pursuit to raise military awareness.
“In 2012, we were very excited to enter into a relationship with Crye Precision who made the MultiCam® pattern car wrap possible,” said Llano. “With their commitment to creating high quality products that keep our soldiers safe in the field, and their dedication to the veterans’ community, CRYE Precision embodies the very ideals that SERKET Racing was founded on: excellence and dedication.”
The camouflage Porsche GT3 Cup car is one of a kind and Llano has dedicated its originality to serve an important role in a mission to honor service members of the military.
“For CRYE Precision, the MultiCam® camouflage pattern is a source of pride,” said the SERKET racing driver. “The unconventional design and innovation that it was born from has proven to be effective in protecting the lives of our servicemen and women. We want the fans to know that this camouflage represents our military’s sacrifice and that SERKET Racing is an ambassador for their needs.”
Above all, Llano will make his entrance with a statement at the opening race of the 2013 IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge season. With a clearly declared mission for excellence in exchange for military support, expect to hear an “Oorah!” battle cry from the SERKET/NGT Racing Porsche Cup car as the first green flag waves in Sebring for the 61st Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida March 13-16.
Follow the team at serketracing.com.
ABOUT IMSA DEVELOPMENT SERIES
IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama
The IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama is one of three official Development Series Sanctioned by the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA). It is also the largest one-make series in North America. The IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama produces intense, exciting competition for semi-professional drivers alongside some of the most career-minded GT drivers in one of the world’s most successful and iconic race cars, the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, and on some of North America’s most hallowed racing circuits.