He has already stood on the top step of a Porsche Carrera Cup North America podium at a Formula 1 race, but now JDX Racing’s Zachary Vanier has his sights set on repeating his Miami performance on home soil in Canada.

The 21-year-old Canadian had a remarkable season in Porsche Sprint Challenge North America by Yokohama last year, winning 12 out of 14 races and claiming the 992 Pro-am title.

Graduating to Carrera Cup this year with JDX Racing, he clinched his first victory in round four at the Miami International Autodrome.

The championship will visit the Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix for the first time this weekend for rounds five and six of the 2024 championship.

The 14-turn, 2.710-mile circuit on Montreal’s Notre Dame Island is the second of three Formula 1 races on the 2024 championship schedule. For many drivers in the 33-strong field this weekend, this will be their first opportunity to drive at the famous F1 circuit.

But for Canadian racer Vanier, he enters this weekend with past experience in Montreal.

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“This will actually be my third time racing at the Canadian Grand Prix,” Vanier said.

“In 2018 and 2019, I raced in the Formula 1600 junior category. It’s definitely been a few years, but I’m very excited to be back.

“To race there in the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup is going to be very different. We have a lot more power, and the car is obviously heavier, but I’m really looking forward to it.”

While Vanier’s pure speed was never in doubt, he is also pleasantly surprised to earn his first series victory in Carrera Cup so quickly.

“I knew coming into this season that it was going to be the most challenging year of my career in terms of competition and adaptability,” he said.

“Porsche Carrera Cup North America is really well run and absolutely the definition of what professional sports car racing is all about.

“To be honest, if you had asked me whether I would have had a win already under my belt, I would have said no way, so Miami was a very pleasing result.

“I’m one of only ten drivers who have won a race in this championship, and it is so competitive. We have a huge points battle ahead as we have only just gotten started.”

Vanier became the first-ever champion from Porsche Sprint Challenge North America by Yokohama to win a race in Porsche Carrera Cup North America at Miami. His year honing his craft en route to the 992 championship in 2023 has put him in a strong position for his rookie Carrera Cup season.

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“I really wanted to do Carrera Cup last year, but getting the entire budget together was a challenge. Mark Kvamme and the guys at MDK put together a great option for me for Sprint Challenge, and the year went exceptionally well.

“Getting the chance to learn the car and get used to the tires has certainly given me a head start in preparing for this season.”

For season 2024, Vanier switched to JDX Racing, joining forces with Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame inductee Jeremy Dale.

Dale’s Colorado-based squad is no stranger to success in this championship. The JDX team has previously taken another Canadian to a championship win in Porsche Carrera Cup North America – Parker Thompson in 2022.

“Jeremy and I have been talking about trying to do something together for quite a few years and it is really pleasing that it has all come together this year,” Vanier said.

“He obviously has massive experience and was one of Canada’s most famous sports car drivers back in the day.

“We actually first met at the Canadian Grand Prix back in 2018, so this weekend is certainly going to be very special.

“Not only have I been able to lean on Jeremy’s experience, but the fact that JDX are running four cars in the Pro class has been a huge help. Alex (Sedgwick) and Elias (De la Torre IV) already have a season of experience under their belts, and that has been very beneficial for myself and Madeline (Stewart).

“We’re all able to see where we are all getting the most out of the car. Being able to compare ourselves to one another and learning where we gained and where we lost time over a lap is really valuable.

“For me, it has really been an eye-opening experience as I’ve never been in a team situation like this. It really is pushing me to be better as a driver.”

While Vanier has stood on the podium at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Montreal’s Notre Dame Island in his junior days, repeating his performance from the Miami Formula 1 race is a dream at the forefront of his mind.

“Getting to stand on the podium again this weekend in Canada would certainly be a dream come true,” Vanier.

“This is obviously a race that I have been really forward looking to. I’ve got so many family, friends, and sponsors all coming this weekend. It’s a huge weekend for me, and I really can’t wait to get started.”