SERKET Racing Finishes Strong in IMSA Season Opener
March 22nd, 2013
March 16, 2013 – Sebring, Florida – A mere 8 months after he started racing, SERKET driver Mark Llano #24 competed in his first IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama race last week at the 61st Annual Twelve Hours of Sebring event at Sebring International Raceway. The # 24 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car drove over the finish line to place 20th in the Platinum series. Llano shook off some early qualification competition and drove a strong race, starting in thirty-fourth on the grid and passing 14 cars to move up to 20th place by the time the dust had settled.
“The adrenalin was pumping the moment I stepped onto the paddock at Sebring,” said Llano, “But with 8 months of hard training on the track and a great team like NGT behind us, I knew we were prepared. It was fast, it was exciting and we can’t wait till Laguna Seca!”
“It was also great to see so many military families at the track — I can’t tell you how many times I was stopped by veterans and their families just to say “thank you” or “Ooh-rah.” Initially, most of them were just happy to see that we were representing our servicemen and women on the track, but they really got excited when they realized we were also actively engaged with charities such as The EBV (Executive Bootcamp for Veteran’s) and Operation Homefront to assist these veterans achieve the American dream as well.”
SERKET Racing worked with Operation Homefront, IMSA and Sebring International Raceway to invite two military families for an all expense paid trip to the track. The families that were able to attend, “had a blast!” according to Operation Homefront Florida’s Executive director, Simone Weaver.
Also, we wanted to pass along the letter we received below from the wife of a service member in the field whom Mark spoke with right before the competition began. As Mark was getting ready to race, Mrs. Augustine approached the paddock. Apparently at the track she had heard of our mission and was hoping to speak to Mark directly, and although he was in the process of getting ready for the race, Mark took time out of his schedule and spoke to Mrs. Augustine about not only SERKET Racing’s mission, but also her husband and the mission he serves daily. Before he got back to pre-race prep, Mark took a picture with Mrs. Augustine that we sent to her later on in the day and below is her response. If we can make this type of impact in a matter of minutes, think of all the people we can help and inspire in a day, a month, a year?
“Thanks so much for the photo. It was a pleasure meeting all of you at SERKET and wonderful of Mark to take the time for the photo so close to his race. I took some photos of the race which I will send to you as soon as I can. To further introduce myself, I’m married to an Army LTC. I so appreciate the mission of SERKET Racing and will proudly spread the word among our military family. If you ever need anything from us, please do not hesitate to ask. We’re committed to the same mission and will gladly help in whatever way possible. Please extend my sincere thanks to Mark and Randy for their time. I’ve had many great moments at Sebring this year, but meeting all of you was my proudest. Warriors Live by a Code!
Five minutes after that Mark found himself autographing an American flag for a US Army soldier serving overseas (see the picture here).
The team’s next race, which is the second round of the 2013 IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge, is in Monterey, CA on May 11th.
SERKET Racing (serketracing.com) is an organization based in Wellington, Florida, that races a 2012 GT3 cup car in conjunction with NGT Motorsport (ngtmotorsport.com). Beginning in 2013 SERKET racing will compete in the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama – the largest single-make racing series in North America. Started by former Marine Mark Llano, and Randy Webb, the SERKET racing team competes with the goal of raising awareness and assistance for those who have honorably served and sacrificed for our country: military veterans and their families. Veteran owned and operated, SERKET Racing is aware of the obstacles that veterans face upon their return home and teams with numerous local, state and national charities to develop and implement innovative programs to assist these veterans and their families in their time of need.