LaLonde Student-Based Team Prepares for the 2023 Season – DTD Exclusive


As the racing season gets underway, a number of race teams have joined the yearly migration to Florida to compete in the races held there each February, but the majority of teams are busy getting ready, focusing on sponsorship, and finishing up their race cars in preparation for the arduous season ahead. One of those teams is Lalonde Race Team.

It has been several years since I first visited l’École secondaire Catholique de Plantagenet, where teacher Marc Lalonde was inspiring students to succeed in their lives long after they had left the program.

This season is a bit of a revival season, as the effects of the COVID pandemic have heavily impacted the program and the team as a whole.

For the first time since 2019, the Lalonde Race Team will hold its annual spaghetti dinner and silent auction on March 25 in support of its non-profit school-run program.

Marc explained, “After the pandemic, we have tried hard to find sponsors as the COVID situation still has left bruises on some of the companies. With the lack of employees and business, it has been hard on them. We appreciate any form of help that we can get as we need to buy an engine, and with the price being so high, this is hard on a small-budget program like us.”

Marc’s ability to inspire students creatively has been demonstrated in a long list of success stories dating back to 2005 when the program began.

Marc and his life partner Josée were inspired to help students after Marc noticed students within the school were losing interest and drive for what was being taught at the school. Sadly, some were even considering dropping out.

Within the school’s auto shop, Marc envisioned giving the students a project where they would design and construct a completely functional race car. The vision was to then race the car at the Cornwall Speedway after it was completed. Thus, the concept was created.

To this day, Marc is still working on the race project and encouraging students 18 years later. The team has evolved over the years and is currently racing in the Pro Stock division, a more expensive and difficult class.

The team manager Josée and Marc have managed to secure a number of fantastic sponsors over the years, like Lucas Oil and Benson Auto Parts, to name a couple, as well as continuing their fundraising activities to help defray the added costs.

With this background history, it is evident why this is a revitalization year, and so far the community and sponsors have stepped up in a big way.

The community has sparked a lot of interest since it was announced that the fundraiser will be back in full swing this year. Josée said, “We are getting a lot of calls for tickets and 300 tickets were sold in 2 weeks, which is pretty awesome.”

In 2022, the team added 42 races to its history book. In terms of where they will be racing this season, the plans are still being finalized.

Marc said, “We are still waiting for all the schedules to be published. Last year we participated in 42 events. In Ontario, Quebec, and the United States. We ended our season at Charlotte Motor Speedway. We would love to participate in the same events as last season for sure. Brockville is supposed to add the Pro Stock to their schedule.

“Our goals for the upcoming season are to win our second championship in the Pro Stock division. My first was at Plattsburgh, and having the students participate in our championship win was an amazing experience.”

With a full calendar of races, the upcoming season promises to be exciting. To have the students participate in all of this is the primary goal for Marc and Josée as this will leave students with lifelong skills to help guide them through life’s adventures.

This program would not exist if it were not for the support of the school, community, and sponsors who have given time and money to support this non-profit program over the years. Marc and Josée would like to thank: Lamarche Electric Inc., Napa Canada, Mister Sew and Sew, Orleans Toyota, Clyde Slinger Services, Roy Motorsports Next Level Home Improvement, Pasco Excavation, PM Promotions, First Class Trailers, Brennan Automotive, Dupuis Ford, Club Optimiste d’Alfred, Advanced Grain Handling, and Lucas Oil Benson Auto Parts. They are hoping to get these great sponsors back on board for 2023, along with new sponsors for this new year.

For Marc and Josée, their first goal is to keep their students engaged with the program and to welcome the younger ones to get involved. This will keep the program alive while highlighting our sports.