“THERE WAS AN OBVIOUS CONNECTION FOR ME HERE. SERKET REPRESENTS THE ADRENALINE THAT PUMPS THOUGH EVERY SOLDIER EVEN AFTER DUTY, WHICH THEN PERFECTLY BLENDS WITH THE THRILL OF RACE COMPETITIONS”
June 10th, 2015
LLANO, SERKET RACING BALANCE IMPORTANT MISSION FOR VETERANS, CONTINUED IMPROVEMENT ON TRACK IN 2015
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 15, 2015) – Going to Sebring International Raceway is a reminder for SERKET Racing driver Mark Llano. A reminder of why he suits up. A reminder of why he races. And most importantly, a reminder of why he works hard to help veterans.
Llano is preparing to start his third season in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama, but looking back over the last two seasons he can pinpoint his first-ever race in the championship, in March 2013 at Sebring, as the moment he knew he was doing the right thing.
“We were at Sebring, and this mother came up to me and asked if I was the guy that drove the car with the American flag on it because her son wanted to meet me,” said Llano, a former Marine. “This kid was maybe 7, and he told me, ‘My dad was a Marine.’ I told him, ‘Once a Marine, always a Marine.’ And I’ll never forget when he looked at me and said, ‘My dad died in Afghanistan.’
“I had to turn away because I had tears in my eyes. But I knew in that moment what I was doing was special.”
Seven women also approached Llano on a golf cart that week in 2013 at Sebring, asking him to sign an American flag they were sending to one of their sons in Afghanistan.
Sebring is a special place for SERKET Racing.
“Sebring has a special type of fan,” Llano said. “They’re very patriotic. There’s a motorhome in Turn 10 that has a flag from every branch of service hanging from it. When I drive by it’s a blur, but out of the corner of my eye I can see them waving the flag and cheering. It’s an incredible experience.”
Llano, from Wellington, Florida, and his business partner, Randy Webb, started SERKET Racing in 2013 to raise awareness and assistance for military and veterans’ issues. The idea was created after Llano attended a race at Daytona and noticed there were no cars with military presence.
In just two years, SERKET Racing already has made an impact with its mission. The team has donated to more than 11 different organizations that help veterans. The donations have included financial aid, 250 military family scholarships, weekend trips to racetracks and three brand-new homes.
This season SERKET Racing will continue its mission and focus on pinpointing specific veterans’ issues to aid. The team will continue highlighting some of the biggest issues faced by warriors returning home by building long-lasting relationships with other veteran cause-based organizations.
“There are moments when we’re doing this where it’s like being back in the military,” Llano said. “It’s about the bond we share and being in that moment. We’re out here trying to change a veteran’s life, so for us, it’s a lot more than just about racing. There is no one doing what we’re doing. It’s remarkable.”
The team’s mission involves far more than motorsports, but racing is a key component of the SERKET Racing formula. Unlike many drivers, Llano had zero racing experience before stepping inside a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car in 2013. It’s been a learning curve, especially with trying to strike the balance of the team’s mission and trying to win races.
“I always want to remember why we’re racing to begin with, for all of those who have sacrificed for our country,” Llano said. “But when I’m on the track, I’m focused in that moment. I’m dialed in. The mission is key, but I take racing just as serious.”
Llano got a taste of the podium for the first time last season at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and ended the season with four Gold Cup Masters podium finishes, motivating him to push even harder this season.
“I have two full years under my belt,” Llano said. “Every day we’re learning something new and constantly getting better. But we’re going flat out this year for the Gold Masters Championship.”
The SERKET Racing car will have a slightly new look this year, with a number change from 24 to 22. The number 22 represents the number of military veterans that commit suicide every day. The goal is to raise awareness for the alarming number of deaths, while also educating people on how they can help.
To read more and help support the SERKET Racing mission, visit www.serketracing.com.