Mission Complete: SERKET Racing Finishes First Season
November 8th, 2013
SERKET Racing capped its rookie season off with a standing ovation from their fellow competitors and fans, and team owner/driver Mark Llano could not be more overjoyed with the impact his team has made in only its first year.
Over the course of a single season SERKET Racing has donated to 11 different organizations. The donations have included financial aid, seven free rental car vouchers, weekend trips to a racetrack and three brand new homes. These endeavors were made possible by fans and sponsors supportive of the SERKET Racing mission to provide support and awareness to the country’s warfighters, veterans and their families.
Being a Marine Veteran himself, driver Mark Llano was able to connect with veterans from all walks of life as the SERKET Racing team traveled across North America, visiting famed tracks like Watkins Glen International in New York and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in California. Easily spotted at the track, Llano’s CRYE Precision MultiCam wrapped Porsche GT3 Cup car became a symbol of pride and hope for servicemen and women at the races.
In Laguna Seca the team met one fan whose connection to a local unit allowed SERKET Racing to connect with many servicemen and women. The team sent the fan home with a Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge flag autographed by the entire Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama field for the California unit.
Watkins Glen celebrated its military ties with a special Veteran Appreciation Picnic. Llano was invited to the event as a special guest where he took pictures and signed autographs with nearly all of 1,000 veterans in attendance. He also sent each person home with a wristband promoting the motto, “Warriors Live by a Code,” as a reminder of their brotherhood.
Road America hosted its annual Tour de Road America during the early August race weekend. Llano took to the 4.048-mile track on two wheels rather than four to support the Austin Hatcher Foundation’s fight against cancer. The former Marine dressed in full camouflage for the bicycle ride to show support for his military brothers and sisters who also fall victim to the disease.
The Grand Prix of Baltimore provided SERKET Racing and the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patròn (ALMS) with an opportunity never before seen in the racing series’ paddock. The team paired with philanthropic partner Operation Homefront and sponsor Wells Fargo for the first of three home giveaways. The three organizations stood on city streets in front of thousands of race fans and the ALMS field to ceremoniously hand over the key to veteran Joseph Saunders and his wife’s first home.
The Circuit of the Americas (COTA) race proved that things truly are bigger in Texas. The SERKET Racing team hosted 14 veteran students from the Entrepreneur Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV), a group that provides veterans with small business training in hopes that they will go on to start their own companies. As a former Marine and current entrepreneur Llano knows firsthand how helpful turning military experience into an office skillset can be.
SERKET also donated their second home to veteran Travis Clennon at COTA alongside Wells Fargo Capital Finance, Wells Fargo REO Home Division and Operation Homefront. Clennon was thankful to have a new home to provide care for his six-year-old son and mother who suffers from multiple sclerosis. After the home ceremony Llano and Clennon took part in a parade lap that provided both veterans with a rush of adrenaline.
In mid-October SERKET Racing traveled to the 16th Annual Petit Le Mans Powered by Mazda at the world-renowned Road Atlanta course to give away their final home of the 2013 race season. Llano and the team were honored to be part of history by donating a home at the final event for ALMS before the series merged with GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series to form the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
In Atlanta it was veteran Deramichaelus Daniels whose life was changed. The father of three and his wife received the key to their new home and, like Clennon, Daniels was taken around the track for a fast lap prior to the race start. The two veterans made their way around the course while the explosion of fireworks ushered drivers to their cars and the sounds of cheering fans echoed throughout Road Atlanta.
The race season ended with the Night of Champions banquet where Llano was recognized for the work he and his team had done throughout the 2013 season. Not only has SERKET Racing brought attention to the sport of racing, but also to the countless struggles warfighters face when they return home. The team has found its stride on the racing and philanthropic fronts, but the mission is far from over.
“Our mission at SERKET Racing is to raise funds and awareness for veterans and their families and we’ve had a hell of a year,” Llano said. “We’ve had the opportunity to work with incredibly generous organizations like Operation Homefront and Wells Fargo to give away three homes to veterans and their families. We’ve worked with Crye Precision and the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities to help more of our best and bravest start their own businesses. We’ve been blessed to find great philanthropic partners like the American Freedom Foundation and the Xtreme Couture GI Foundation that assist our veterans in the numerous challenges they face when coming home. We’ve worked with great companies like Shadow Works Group and KOTA Longboards to develop products that enable our fans to give back and show their support for our troops at the track. Most importantly, at every race in every city, members of the racing community from both International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) and ALMS have been supportive of our cause that it’s been very humbling.”
SERKET Racing, along with driver Mark Llano, will look to build upon their first successful season in 2014. The battle lines are being drawn and the plan of attack will soon be known. To receive updates on the team’s progress sign up for news alerts on Facebook. Follow SERKET on Twitter and Instagram at @serketracing to keep up with all current news and information.