september 23, 2019

Raphael Lessard and the Bilodeau Brothers team overcame an unusual mechanical problem and finished fourth, back on the lead lap from a two-lap deficit, at the end of a hard-driven 200-lap race at the Autodrome Saint-Eustache on Sunday (September 22). He had started fifth in his Toyota #46 Services GMP I Transport BGT I FRL Express. In his first race in a LMS car on this flat and bumpy track, Raphael Lessard adapted quickly to the unusual layout. Later on in the race, he once again displayed his analytical and adaptation skill to draw the maximum pace from a car slowed by mechanical issues early in the race. Clawing back from 21st to 4th place, the young Beauce driver showed all his talent as a driver during the 200-lap race, which was punctuated by multiple caution periods.

Raphael Lessard's second place in the first qualifying race put him fifth on the starting grid. He kept up with the lead group for a good portion of the first 100 laps of the 200-lap event. The team improved the car during the first and subsequent caution periods as Raphael lost two laps to the leaders, dropping him to the back of the field. Raphael Lessard then drove through the field, moving up to the leader and regaining his two-lap disadvantage. The Bilodeau Brothers team improved the car and the driver responded by climbing through the field back to the four leading cars late in the race, despite a serious unease for the driver due to carbon monoxide poisoning that affected him from the 40th lap.

"The ideal line at Saint-Eustache should minimize the destabilizing effects of the major bumps when passing on the inside of corners 1 and 2, and at the exit of corner 4. The handling of the #46 Services GMP I Transport BGT I FRL Express car was good during the test and qualifying sessions and we had a good car for the race," said Raphael Lessard.

Raphael Lessard's performance was a noble Goodbye to the Autodrome St-Eustache

The last day of Stock Car races at Autodrome St-Eustache took place yesterday in front of a packed crowd of fans and drivers of all ages who helped build the legend of this 0.6 km flat oval. Alex Labbé won the LMS race. Thank you to Alan Labrosse, his family and team who have worked over the past decades to provide a show that lived up to the passion of racing enthusiasts.

Photo Credit: Sylvain Fournier


Born on July 5, 2001, in Saint-Joseph-de-Beauce, Quebec, Canada, Raphael Lessard is one of the most promising prospects in North American oval racing. Raphael made his debut in stock-cars in 2013, on local tracks in the Quebec City area. His exceptional talent quickly allowed him to climb the ladder and attract the attention of David Gilliland, a former NASCAR Monster Energy Series driver and now a team owner, in 2015. An agreement then allowed Lessard to participate in the last four races of the season in the PASS North Tour Series.

In 2016, his first full-time season with Gilliland Racing, Lessard won the CARS Super Late Model Tour title with four wins, 8 top five and 9 top drivers to win a major stock car series title in the United States. Since 2016, Lessard has been part of the Toyota Racing Development (TRD) prestigious driver development program. To date, he is the only Canadian to have been recruited into this program.


2018 - 16 races - Super Late Model with Kyle Busch Motorsports

  • Two wins, seven top-5s and 13 top-10s
  • Wins the U.S. Short Track Nationals race at Bristol Motor Speedway
  • Wins the Red Bull 400 at Anderson Speedway
  • Leads 60 laps at the famous Snowball Derby in December, before a mechanical problem puts him out of the race with only six (6) laps to go.

2017 - Competes in 20 Super Late Model races and two ARCA series races

  • Two wins and eight top-5 finishes in the Super Late Model category
  • A top-10 from two races in the ARCA series
  • Voted the most popular driver in North America by
  • Voted as one of the top 10 drivers to watch in 2017 by
  • Named by Short Track Power Ranking as 7th best driver in the United States

2016 - Participates in 10 races

  • CARS Super Late Model Series Champion
  • Youngest Canadian driver to win a prestigious stock-car series in the United States
  • Four wins, eight top-5s and nine top-10s in 10 races


F.R.L. Express Inc. is a general transportation company founded in 2004 by François Lessard. Its main field of activity over the last 15 years is general transport in closed trailers over short and long distances in Canada and the United States. FRL currently have about 50 employees in addition to about ten tow carriers. FRL owners are proud of the progress made in recent years thanks to the FRL team members and wishes to continue on this positive note. "Our employees, customer service and satisfaction are our priorities. We are all proud to be partners in the success and achievements of our son Raphael Lessard," state the proud parents.


Founded in 2003 in the family garage in Sainte-Marie de Beauce, the Bilodeau Brothers Racing Team competed in various categories on all paved ovals in Quebec since then. The team can count on Crew Chief Germain Gosselin, who has worked for ARCA and NASCAR teams in the United States. Since 2015, the team has focused on a development program of its NASCAR Late Model cars, having achieved several podiums finishes along the way, as well as winning the ACT 2016 Rookie Championship and a first victory in 2017.


Toyota (NYSE:TM), creator of the Prius hybrid and the Mirai fuel cell vehicle, is committed to building vehicles for the way people live through our Toyota and Lexus brands. Over the past 60 years, we've built more than 30 million cars and trucks in North America, where we operate 14 manufacturing plants (10 in the U.S.) and directly employ more than 44,000 people (more than 34,000 in the U.S.). Our 1,800 North American dealerships (nearly 1,500 in the U.S.) sold nearly 2.6 million cars and trucks (2.45 million in the U.S.) in 2016 - and about 85 percent of all Toyota vehicles sold over the past 15 years are still on the road today.