Rookie Driver Angel Andres Benitez Looks to Secure Gold Cup Title
Benitez Vies for Championship with Father on Same Track
Venezuelan Angel Andres Benitez didn’t know what to expect in his first season of IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama Gold Cup competition, but vying for a championship as the season winds down is a good place to start.
Benitez sits atop a 59-point lead over Melanie Snow in the 2012 Gold Cup championship standings.
“I didn’t know how my first year in this series would go until the first race of the year in Sebring,” Benitez said. “I felt really comfortable in the car right away. At that moment, I made a goal to learn the car as quickly as possible and make a run at the championship.”
Benitez’s previous race experience was in the F2000 Championship series.
“I was an open-wheel driver prior to this year when I decided to try something different,” he said. “In my first year racing in IMSA I think their work is outstanding, and it’s been great to get so much track time.”
Benitez immediately felt at home driving the Porsche 911 car on some of the most famous racetracks in the United States, but that could have something to do with the fact that his father is on the same tracks at the same time.
His father, Angel Rafael Benitez, competes in the Platinum Cup class of GT3 Cup Challenge competition.
“It’s fun to jump out of the car and share information and experiences with my dad,” Benitez said. “It’s cool to be on track with him knowing that we are both fighting for victories at the same time.”
Father and son both race for Ansa Motorsports, which creates plenty of time for family bonding.
“Being at the track together truly is our dad-son time,” Benitez said. “When we’re at the track it’s all about sharing our passion for racing.”
Benitez already has his eye on moving up the sports car racing ladder. He and his father raced an American Le Mans Series GTC entry together at Road America in August for NGT Racing and finished seventh in their class.
“My goal has been to learn how to drive the Porsche 911 at a professional level this year,” Benitez said. “When we race as a support series for ALMS it gives me a lot of motivation to earn seat time in those cars.”