It’s a pretty hard year to forget. 2012 was the relaunch year of CKN and Rotax DD2 was at it’s prime here in Canada. The grid featured two Rotax Grand Finals champions and entries nearing 30 at ECKC and the Canadian Championships. There was no shortage of talent on display and we had a front row seat for one of the greatest head-to-head match-ups of all time. On top of it all, there was one of the tightest qualifying sessions ever as the Canadian Championships saw the top-eight drivers separated by a mere 0.17 seconds! Canada also secured the Rotax Grand Finals DD2 crown that year courtesy of Ben Cooper and finished second in the Nations Cup at the event in Portugal.
But where are they all now? DD2 struggles for double digits nowadays and the competition has been dominated by Jeffrey Kingsley.
So we did some digging and looked into the drivers that competed in Canada in 2012 and we’ve come to a major conclusion, this was a very special group of racers. On and off the track, many of these racers have bloomed into incredible careers. From progressing up the motorsports ladder to graduating from some of the worlds top Universities, these drivers have were destined for future success.
- Pearce Herder
- Enrico Menotti
- Corey Walsh
- Dominic Legrand
- Dante Lerra
- Aaron Attard
- Kyle Attard
- Zach Boam
Of the 32 drivers we found that competed in the Eastern Canadian Karting Championship and the Canadian Nationals, only eight of them are still competing in karts today, however most are no longer racing in Rotax DD2. Pearce Herder, Zach Boam and Corey Walsh have shifted their attention to Briggs & Stratton competition while the majority are reaching for six gears now instead of two including Enrico Menotti, Dominic LeGrand, Dante Lerra and the Attard brothers Aaron and Kyle.
Spotlight: Pearce Herder
Shifting his attention to Briggs & Stratton LO206 competition, Pearce Herder has been a predominant front-runner, although he’s come up just short of both the ECKC and Canadian National titles on a few occasions. He doesn’t show that he is moving on from karts anytime soon as he continues to race with his family owned and operated Karts & Parts race team and Awesome Kart!
Graduated to Car Racing
- Pier-Luc Ouellette
- Nicholas Latifi
- Daniel Morad
- Zacharie Richard-Robichon
- Daniel Burkett
- Matthew Di Leo
Now this list of drivers is a good reason why 2012 was so impressive on the results sheets. Just look at where some of our drivers have graduated to.
Nicholas Latifi is currently competing in his second season of Formula 2 (formerly known as GP2) and just recently finished fourth in the season opening race. Formula 2 is just one step down from Formula 1 and Latifi was associated with the Renault Formula 1 Team in 2016. He also competed in Formula 3 and the Formula Renault 3.5 series.
Daniel Morad was part of the winning team at the 2017 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona and is racing a Porsche in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship as well as the Porsche GT3 Cup Canada. Zacharie Richard-Robichon is also competing in the Porsche GT3 Cup Canada and battled head-to-head with Morad for the 2016 championship.
Daniel Burkett worked his way through the Mazda Road to Indy ladder before shifting his attention to sportscars. He is now competing for CJ Wilson Racing in the Continental Sportscar Challenge. Matthew Di Leo also worked his way up the Mazda Road to Indy ladder, competing in Indy Lights for a couple seasons and owning the race team MDL Racing. However Di Leo has since stopped racing.
Pier-Luc Ouellette, a two-time Rotax Grand Finals Champion, has raced in all sorts of machinery since the 2012 season including a substitute ride for Alex Tagliani in the Pinty’s NASCAR Canada Series at Mosport. He also made an attempted comeback in karts, competing in the 2014 Canadian Championships in Mont-Tremblant as well as winning the 2015 Canadian Championship title in Open Shifter.
- Darren White
- Ben Cooper
Graduating from driver to team owner is a big accomplishment and two Canadian Champions traded in their racing helmets for business hats.
Darren White showed up for the 2012 Canadian Championships and delivered the pole-position in Qualifying. Nowadays the 2009 Canadian Champion is traveling North America with his Energy Kart North America race team and finding success along the way.
On the other hand, Ben Cooper was the man who stepped up and earned the Canadian Championship that weekend in Mont-Tremblant and he now operates Ben Cooper Racing which took over the operations of the SRA Karting race team. He too is traveling North America supporting Rotax Max races and slowly grooming Canada’s next group of great racers.
Pursued an Education
- Christophe Boisclair
- Brendon Bain
- Cory Cacciavillani
- Dru Gallagher
- Tyler McEwan
- Fred Woodley
- Alessandro Bizzotto
These drivers were all destined for greatness, albeit not in a race suit.
Christophe Boisclair began his studies at the University of Laval in Mechanical Engineering, taking part in the schools Formula SAE race car project before graduating. He followed it up with an acceptance into Oxford University in England, a world-renowned school, where he was one of only 30 students accepted annually from around the world to take part in their Motorsports Engineering program. Following graduation. he has returned to motorsports, working as lead engineer for Exclusive Autosport and their Formula 1600 and 2000 race teams in 2015 and just recently joined Norma Auto Concept, helping to develop and engineer their LMP3 race car.
Brendon Bain and Cory Cacciavillani pursued their education at the University of Western Ontario and both took part in the schools Formula SAE program, albeit in different positions. Bain studied Automotive Engineering and was one of four drivers for the team while Cacciavillani handled the business matters of the program while studying finance. Both have since graduated with Bain taking a position with Ford Canada as a research and development engineer. Cacciavillani returned to his hometown of Leamington, Ontario and works for Aphria Pharmaceuticals.
Dru Gallagher also took his studies to London, Ontario, attending both the University of Western Ontario and Fanshawe College majoring in Accounting while Tyler McEwen went to Mohawk College and now works for Red Hill Toyota.
Competing up until 2016, Fred Woodley and Alessandro Bizzotto were fierce competitors on track. Impressively, Bizzotto handled both racing and his studies while taking on additional courses throughout each summer season to graduate early from the John Molson School of Business at Concordia where he majored in Accounting. Woodley also had an interest in finance and is currently studying at McMaster.
- Hugo Ouellette
- Hugo Mousseau
- Blake Reith
- Nico Fattore
- Laurent Boivin
- Tyler David
- Stefan Yasin
- Richard Hibbs
- Eric Gerrits
There are some interesting names from this list of drivers who also competed in 2012. Hugo Mousseau has helped guide Lance Stroll to Formula 1 with the Williams F1 team, supporting him throughout his progression up the motorsports ladder while also competing in the 2014 Canadian Championships in Briggs Senior as a teammate to Stroll.
Richard Hibbs has stayed close to the karting world and now spends his weekends flagging and officiating at the Goodwood and Mosport Kartways club races. Eric Gerrits has jumped back in a kart a few times over the years, even winning an ECKC race at Mosport in Briggs Masters. Nico Fattore continued karting 2013, competing in a few races in Italy with GP Kart factory team, but he too has since retired from the sport.
As for the remainder of the list, we haven’t heard much about them since that 2012 season.