Biography

Michael Valiante is a true racer and a proven winner. His impressive racing accomplishments speak for themselves.

Starting out in junior karting, Michael’s obvious talent was developed and fine-tuned. As he moved up through the karting world, the results speak for themselves:

  • North American Champion in Formula A
  • Canadian Grand Nationals Champion in Formula A
  • IKF Gold-Cup Champion in Formula A
  • Elf Constructors Champion in Formula A
  • US Grand Nationals Champion in Reed & Rotary Light for three consecutive years
  • ELF Series scholarship winner in Le Mans, France competing against twenty top karters from North America
  • Constructors Cup Champion in Formula C
  • Finished 6th in the World Championships as privateer entry
  • Number 1 Shifter Kart Driver in North America (1998) as ranked by Shifter Kart Magazine

These karting successes led him to a full-season scholarship in the Skip Barber National Series, where he was both Rookie of the Year and Series Champion.

This spectacular performance resulted in Michael winning the Rio Big Scholarship, a fully-sponsored season in the 1999 Barber Dodge Pro Series (BDPS) worth US$175,000. In Michael’s first year in BDPS, he scored seven top-10 and four top-5 finishes and was co-Rookie of the Year. In 2000, his second season, Michael earned the pole position and finished second in the first race at Sebring International Raceway; he won from the pole position at Road Atlanta and finished sixth overall in the Barber Dodge Pro Series Championship that year.

In the 2001 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship, in his first limited season as a driver for Lynx Racing, Michael kept the lead in the points for the rookie driver during four races although he only raced in two events. He finished fourth in the Long Beach Grand Prix and an impressive second during the high-profile Montréal Formula One Grand Prix weekend. Michael stormed through the rest of the season with a sixth in Toronto, fourth in Trois-Rivières and second in Vancouver, finishing eight in the Championship with participation in only five races against a talented international field.

In 2002, Michael ran the full CART Toyota Atlantic schedule with the Lynx Racing team, placing second in the championship, with a total of three victories and four podium finishes. Michael was also the championship points leader on two separate occasions during the 12 race season.

In 2003, Michael once again ran the full 12-race CART Toyota Atlantic schedule with the Lynx Racing team, this year placing third in the championship, with a total of three victories and six podium finishes. Michael was also supposed to make his CART series debut after being selected to drive for Walker Racing Champ Car team at Fontana. Unfortunately, due to severe fire conditions in the area, the race was cancelled.

In 2004, Michael got his CART chance again with the Walker Racing. This time he competed in the Mexico City season finale where he qualified 12th and finished 14th in his first ever Champ Car event.

In 2005, Michael tested for the Finlay Motorsports Grand-Am team. He was selected to drive for the team in the 24-Hours of Daytona and soon after invited back to compete in the Ferrari and Maserati 400 in Fontana, California. Michael made an impressive sprint debut where he charged through the field and led the majority of the race including setting the fastest lap.

In 2006, Michael competed full time in the Grand American series with Finlay Motorsports and led a total of 20 laps, captured 6 top fives and ten top tens with rookie co-driver Rob Finlay. He also was awarded the most positions improved on multiple occasions.

In 2007, as co-driver of the No. 19 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates entry, Valiante recorded a career-best second-place finish at Iowa Speedway and six top-10 finishes in 13 events with Robert Finlay. Michael also tested and competed for Chip Ganassi Racing in the Nascar Busch Series in Montreal Canada filling in for Juan Pablo Montoya. Valiante led one of the practice sessions and dropped out of the race while running 7th due to a broken drive shaft.

In 2008, Michael joined SunTrust/Wayne Taylor Racing and took the Dallara chassis to it's first victory in the Grand-Am series. Michael also captured 3 pole positions, 4 podiums, two 2nd place finishes and a third alongside teammate Max Angelleli

In 2009, Michael joined Michael Shank Racing and Teammates John Pew, Oswaldo Negri and Mark Patterson. Michael had four top 5's, two podiums and 4 fastest race laps. He also was consistently quickest on every race weekend and led 90% of every session. Michael charged through the field at nearly every event with gentleman driver John Pew. Valiante, Allmendinger, Pew and James led the 24H race to the 6h mark until an engine related issue ended there race prematurely.

In 2010, Michael re-joined the Michael Shank Racing Team along side Oswaldo Negri and John Pew. New comer Brian Frisselle would team up with Valiante for the year and Allmendinger, Frisselle, Valiante and Pew would come close to winning the 24H at the start of the year. Valiante and Frisselle would go on to capture multiple podiums that season.

In 2011, Valiante ran a limited schedule. For the 24H he drove the Crown Royal Car for Michael Shank Racing with teammates Oswaldo Negri, John Pew and Marc Goosens. Valiante was also paired with Mark Blundell for the Miami 200 and narrowly missed out winning the event. For the remainder of 2011, Valiante started a driver program now known as MV Motorsports Driver Development and coached drivers Chris Cumming, Remo Ruscitti and Scott Hargrove to race wins and podiums.

For 2012, Michael joined Chris Cumming and JDX Racing in the American Le Mans series, Chad Gilsinger in the the Continental Grand Am series and Richard Westbrook in the SDR/Chevy for the Grand Am DP Championship. Valiante and Cumming fought for the Championship in the GTC class piloting a Porsche GT3 including nearly winning three races until unfortunate circumstances took them out of each event. However, Valiante was able to capture a pole position in is maiden GTC event along with 4 podiums to wrap up the season. While also competing in a limited Grand Am DP schedule and Grand Am Continental schedule, Valiante was able to notch up one victory in four races in Daytona Proto types and two victories and one second place in 5 events in the Grand Am Continental series. Michael also made Grand Am history becoming one of three drivers in history to win two professional races in one day.

For 2013, Michael joined Chris Cumming and JDX Racing in the American Le Mans series, Chad Gilsinger in the Continental Grand Am series and Richard Westbrook in the SDR/Chevy for the Grand Am DP Championship. Valiante and Cumming fought for the Championship in the GTC class piloting a Porsche GT3 including nearly winning three races until unfortunate circumstances took them out of each event. However, Valiante was able to capture a pole position in is maiden GTC event along with 4 podiums to wrap up the season. While also competing in a limited Grand Am DP schedule and Grand Am Continental schedule, Valiante was able to notch up one victory in four races in Daytona Proto types and two victories and one second place in 5 events in the Grand Am Continental series. Michael also made Grand Am history becoming one of three drivers in history to win two professional races in one day.

For 2014, Michael was re-signed by SDR/Visitflorida.com racing and paired with Richard Westbrook. The duo would capture 5 podiums and 1 victory, which was the prestigious Watkins Glen 6H. The pair would go on to place third in the IMSA Tudor Championship Prototype class. Michael also re-signed with Honda of America for 2014 to run in the Continental tire series alongside Chad Gilsinger. They would go on to take one victory and three podiums.

For 2015, Michael joins SDR/Visitfloridaracing.com once again with Richard Westbrook. This pairing has proved to be successful and the duo will be looking to capture more victories and fight for the championship in 2015.

Michael continues to spend as much time as his busy schedule allows coaching and managing his family’s very successful kart racing team, Italian Motors.