Saturday, the Ben Keating/Damien Faulkner pairing claimed victory after an intense battle with the No. 30 GTC team in the Austin, TX.
With three races left on the season, the No. 66 TRG Team had one goal coming into COTA--- to win everything this past weekend. After a bit of a tough season for the No. 66 Viper Exchange/Port Lavaca Auto Group Porsche GT3, the team came into the event with a razor focus on winning in practice, qualifying, and the race. Saturday, the Ben Keating/Damien Faulkner pairing claimed victory after an intense battle with the No. 30 GTC team in the Austin, TX round of the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron event.
Keating settled into second; where he drove his entire stint directly behind the No. 30 class leader. With an uncharacteristic solid green flag run; the two drove away from the rest of the class.
After Keating’s fantastic opening stint, Damien Faulkner assumed the driver’s seat again directly behind the No. 30 Porsche. The TRG team felt that their car had an advantage in tire wear if the race stayed green throughout the stint. The racing field cooperated, and as the laps counted down, Faulkner began to attack with 20 minutes remaining. The race saw some of the closest GTC racing of the season with the cars and drivers equally matched.
As time drew down to the 2 hour 45 minute time limit, Faulkner and the No. 30 car had not only their own race to contend with but also the Prototype and GT Cars in a battle as well. The increased traffic allowed Faulkner to find a way to get a run on the No. 30 Porsche. He made a brave pass with five minutes left in the race and drove away to victory by more than 10 seconds.
The victory was a great conclusion to an outstanding weekend for the No. 66 TRG Porsche team and Texas native Ben Keating. The team now looks forward to the penultimate event for the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron at Virginia International Raceway.
Kevin Buckler on TRG on the COTA track for ALMS GTC: “That was epic. Epic in so many ways….We said that this was exactly what we wanted to do, and planned for…and executed…Done. The team was flawless all weekend. It was hot and sweaty and they worked early to late every day.
But I have to say that that was one of the most amazing shows of pure driving talent I have ever seen. Ben was flawless and put us exactly where we wanted to be. The battle with Damien and Sean in the #30 was was simply amazing---they stayed 3 seconds apart for an hour and just did it lap after lap….My hat is off to all of them and of course I am so glad we came out on top."
Ben Keating on the big win at COTA: “Today was amazing. We worked really hard all week to get the Porsche as good as possible. I had so many family and friends here and to start from pole position was a great way to begin the race. We got held up at the start due to issues in front of us at the start. After we found ourselves in second, I worked hard to stay with the No. 30 while also using as little of the car as necessary.
We had no drama during my stint, and Damien got in and drove really hard. The TRG guys have worked so hard for us and we are so happy for everyone to get the victory. For me, if you told me I could only win one race this season, this would be the one for me to win. To capture the victory here was outstanding!"
Damien Faulkner on the battle to victory: "I am so pleased. We all worked so hard, but especially the TRG crew. The season has had tough luck, so to win today makes the win that much sweeter. I am also really happy for Ben to get this win with all of his family and friends here to see it.
We knew that our Porsche seemed to make the tires work better longer than on the No. 30 Porsche. With around 20 minutes to go, I attacked HARD. This attack allowed me to get close to the No. 30. When traffic hit, we were able to make the move and pull away for the win. Thank you to TRG, Ben, and Kevin for such a great day!"