TRG: Laguna Seca Preview, Mini Le Mans and Hot Laps With A Surfing Legend
Monterey, CA -- October 14, 2004 - The Racer's Group made rolled into the picturesque seaside town of Monterey, CA on Wednesday after two unique promotions in the San Francisco Bay Area. TRG driver Cort Wagner thrilled the lunchtime business crowd in the heart of Silicon Valley on Wednesday, as he drove his #66 New Century Mortgage/Monster Cable Porsche through the streets of San Jose as part of the sixth annual Mini Le Mans promotion. TRG, along with five other ALMS teams, blasted their cars down city streets and around Cesar Chavez Park, to the delight of a crowd of hundreds of lunch goers.
"It was a lot of fun to drive our car on the city streets," said Wagner, "and the crowd really seemed to enjoy it. The street was very dusty so the car slipped and slid around a lot. It was also a lot of fun to do burnouts and watch the police officers cheer instead of flash their lights at me!"
While Wagner was scaring pedestrians in San Jose, Patrick Long was in Half Moon Bay, CA getting lessons from surfing legend Jeff Clark, who pioneered big wave riding in California at the mystical Mavericks break. Long was part of a contingent of ALMS drivers to meet with Clark, and was thrilled at the opportunity. The drivers met with Clark at his famous Mavericks Surf Shop, home of Jeff Clark Surfboards and the annual Mavericks Big Wave Contest. "To actually go out to the cliff with Jeff and have him show us where the 60 foot waves break at Mavericks was amazing, and to listen to the stories that he has to tell is something I'll never forget," he said.
Clark, who in the 1970's started paddling into the surf on his home turf and discovered one of the largest waves on earth, was a guest of the team's Thursday for hot laps in the #67 Flamingo Resort/TRG Porsche, at the hands of Patrick Long. The team outfitted the #67 car with a passenger seat and set Long loose on an empty Laguna Seca track with Clark tightly strapped in.
After getting out of the car on pit lane, Clark let out a whoop and said, "That was the most intense big wave I've ever ridden out of water! Watching Patrick drive the car around this twisty track reminds me of the technical skill and rhythm needed to surf big waves -- in both sports it all comes down to feel. I got a glimpse of a new world today, and it was a huge adrenaline rush-- I didn't want it to end!"
In racing news, TRG welcomes veteran Porsche driver Bobby Julien to the team this weekend, to drive the #67 Flamingo Resort/TRG Porsche in the four-hour Laguna Seca race. Julien, who lives in Delray Beach, FL, said "This is my first time at Laguna and my first time driving an RSR, and it's a blast. The sequential shifter is incredible, the thing is very fast, and the brakes are awesome. Laguna is a challenging circuit, so it takes a bit of getting used to. It'll be a great weekend."
Laguna Seca marks the end of the 2004 ALMS racing season, a season that has seen big changes at TRG. The team partnered with four exceptional companies and designed an all-new livery and racecar, and hosted hundreds of guests on behalf of its sponsors. New Century Mortgage, Monster Cable, The Auto Gallery, CDOC and Adobe Road Wines all contributed to the team's 2004 effort in different and meaningful ways. Team owner Kevin Buckler said, "We were thankful and very proud to have New Century, Monster Cable, The Auto Gallery, CDOC and Adobe Road involved with us this year, because they put their trust and investment in us to provide them a great return. We're proud of the program that we assembled with their help, and I think its safe to say that we succeeded in making a very successful and very memorable year of it. We're putting the finishing touches on our 2005 plans, and we're looking forward to being back in the ALMS in a big way. This weekend, we've got a large group of guests from all of our sponsors, and we're going to put on a great show for them."
To learn more about Jeff Clark and the Mavericks Big Wave Contest, visit www.maverickssurf.com
The 2004 American Le Mans Series has its final race October 16th, at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, in Monterey, CA. The race will be broadcast on NBC.