Morad relishes move from part-time to main man with CRP Racing

Images by Richard S. James

Morad relishes move from part-time to main man with CRP Racing

Pirelli World Challenge

Morad relishes move from part-time to main man with CRP Racing

Daniel Morad hasn’t been the only guy in a car since he won the Ultra 94 Challenge Porsche GT3 Cup Canada in 2016. Last year he was always part of a team of drivers, albeit some very good teams – he was with the Alegra Motorsports squad that won GTD at the Rolex 24 At Daytona, and teamed with Ryan Dalziel for Pirelli World Challenge GT SprintX, winning a pair of races there. Now he’s the primary driver in CRP Racing’s DeVilbiss Mercedes AMG GT3, and relishing the opportunity to be the star.

“Being a SprintX driver, it’s simple – you’re just there for support,” Morad explains. “You’re brought in as the additional driver, you do five weekends and basically you do as your told. If you are told to qualify the car, you qualify the car. If you’re told to run a certain pace, you do that.

“Last year I was supporting Ryan Dalziel, and I had an open conversation with him at the beginning and said, ‘Whatever you need me to do, I’ll do it.’ This year is different. I guess through my performances last year, CRP Racing liked what they saw and offered me the full-time position as Ryan moved on to another team. It’s been nice, because it’s been a while since I’ve driven a full race by myself.”

With a win in the the first Sprint round at Morad’s home track of Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, he managed to do something Dalziel hadn’t: win a solo sprint race. He was third in the standings heading into two rounds of SprintX at Lime Rock Park with Rafiello Marciello providing second-driver duties, but despite the car being fast, the weekend at Lime Rock was pretty rough.

Starting on the front row in Race 1, contact at the start left them at the back before they clawed their way back to fifth, setting fast lap in the process. Starting on the pole in Race 2, an electrical problem put them in the pits before the green flag even waved, and they finished 11 laps down. Add that one to Long Beach, where a steering wheel issue left Morad unable to select gears while he was running second, and VIR, where an aerodynamics issue led to vibrations and eventually the use of too much fuel, costing a podium position if not a win.

But there have been bright spots as well. “We started off the season really well, at a track we shouldn’t have been competitive at, at St. Pete,” Morad recalls. “Then my first win at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, which in my eyes should have come a bit earlier … but it’s my home race and I would trade all my other wins for a home race win.”

“I grew up watching races at Mosport – Canadian Tire Motorsports Park now,” he continues. “To win in wet weather, difficult conditions, that’s where they say drivers can really show their talent and shine. BoP is non-existent in the wet. You just drive the car. I’ve watched so many races … I’ve never really driven the track in the wet, so everyone saying I have all the home track experience isn’t true in the sense of never having rain experience there. But I watched. That’s what I do at every track. If it’s raining, you watch what other people do. I watch what works. You kind of pick up the line naturally and you do a little experimentation in the first few laps and at one point you put the pieces of the puzzle together.

(Image by PWC)

“It was really cool that we had a lot of sponsors there, along with friends and family. AMG Oakville was new on the car, they just signed a partnership deal with me and I’m the brand ambassador for them. We had 100 guests from the dealership there on Saturday, so to win the race was pretty epic.”

Morad moonlights as a DJ, putting together mixes that can be found on Soundcloud under the name “Moradness.” He’s morphed that into a lifestyle brand and the Moradness Madness endurance karting event as well. Racing is his passion and primary profession, though. and he’s intent on making the most of this opportunity as CRP’s lead driver.

Now in its second year of running the AMG in PWC, Nick Short’s CRP Racing is also in its second year with Morad in some role. Last season was a learning experience, a couple of SprintX wins aside. Now everything seems to be coming together, a little bad luck notwithstanding.

“It’s my second year in the AMG, I’m a little more comfortable and I think we simplified everything and just stayed within the box of what AMG really recommends and the car has been working really well,” Morad says. “I’m really confident this year; I learned so much driving with different drivers last year, being in IMSA with Porsche, driving with Pat Long, Mathieu Jaminet, Michael Christensen – whom I won Daytona with – and driving with Ryan Dalziel last year. You learn all these different driving styles naturally.”

While he has enjoyed learning from others, he’s also appreciating the chance to set the car up to his liking and not having to answer to another driver. Frustrated by the bad luck, however, and confident CRP would have been on the podium at almost every race, Morad is looking forward to where the rest of the season takes him. “All the guys are working extremely hard with what we have,” he says. “I know the issues we’ve been having in the past are not going to happen going forward.”

Morad’s next opportunity comes at Road America, where Pirelli World Challenge will run combined GT and GTS races with the Verizon IndyCar Series on June 22-24.

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