PETALUMA, CA – Ben Keating and Damien Faulkner drove a flawless race, and the TRG crew stepped up with a tremendous strategy/pit stop performance to take a commanding victory yesterday at Virginia International Raceway. The No. 66 Viper Exchange/Port Lavaca Auto Group Porsche GT3 started the event once again from pole. It is the second consecutive pole position and victory for the team.
With temperatures in the upper 80's, this was not ideal. However, Keating remained focused and was able to pilot the Porsche to his scheduled pit stop in the lead. As he was entering the pit lane for that stop, an errant GT class Corvette drove straight into the back of the No. 66, causing both cars to have synchronized spins, miraculously making no contact but causing damage to the rear end, exhaust system and costing valuable time.
The No. 66 made it to the pit stall unaffected by the damage, and the Corvette served its penalty for the error.
Once in the car, Faulkner pushed the No. 66, but did so without incident. Meanwhile, all around him, a number of cars spent time off the track. Most notable was a nasty incident that involved the No. 48 GT class Porsche and the No. 31 GTC class-leading Porsche. The caution period for this incident took 25 necessary minutes for cleanup and repair before going green again.
It also meant that the final 39 minutes would be a tense race for the TRG team as the field tightened. Faulkner, though, was able to hold a small gap on the No. 22 and No. 30 Porsches of two seconds and maintain it until the checkered flag.
The victory now sets up a major showdown for the ALMS season and series finale, Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta. The event will also be the final race for TRG with its 20 plus years with Porsche as it moves to a full-time program with Aston Martin in 2014. Therefore, look for a no-holds barred effort by TRG and the No. 66 team to make it three poles and three victories in a row. Tune in to ESPN2 on today at 5:30 pm ET/2:30 pm PT to watch all of the action.
Kevin Buckler on the No. 66 TRG Porsche after the second consecutive pole position and victory: “What a fantastic day for TRG! I could not be more proud of every single member our team. Once again, talk about close finishes. We ran nose-to-tail until the end of the race and we came out on top. Ben had a terrific opening stint and did exactly what we needed him to do and brought the car to us in the lead.
The pit stops were flawless. Damien had an amazing battle right to the end. This is exactly the type of racing we knew we were in for from the beginning of the season. Moving on to Petit Le Mans, we are looking for a big win to make it three in a row. Again, congratulations to everyone on the team.”
Ben Keating on the day at VIR: “We have been really fast the last four races, but in the last two everything has clicked. It is true that VIR is my favorite racetrack. I won both in the morning in a Viper (in a support event) and in the afternoon with the Porsche. This was a great result. And one we look to duplicate in two weeks."
Damien Faulkner on the victory: “This was a dream weekend for us. The TRG crew did a fantastic job all weekend. I could push the Porsche really hard and it responded for me and for Ben. We also knew that the only things for us to achieve now with this season are pole positions and victories. Ben drove super in his stint, the TRG crew performed great in the pits, and we were able to drive hard and bring home the win. We are now off to Atlanta with the same goal, victory.”