The Racer's Group press release
TRG Announces Strong Trio for Season Opener at Sebring
Petaluma, CA (March 6, 2012) - TRG opens its quest for an American Le Mans Series GTC class championship at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida with a driver lineup that should certainly be among the GTC class favorites March 17.
TRG sportscar veteran Spencer Pumpelly, Venezuelan standout Emilio DiGuida and TRG former champion Marc Bunting hope to bring what has been an elusive Sebring win to the team's impressive list of victories and 150-plus podiums in its illustrious history. Winning North America's oldest endurance classic during its 60th anniversary year would be particularly special as it is the only major endurance race where TRG has not stood atop the podium.
"We have come close several times so we want this one, and we want it badly!" said TRG team owner Kevin Buckler. "When I think about all the great wins this team has had over the years at Petit Le Mans, Laguna Seca, Daytona, Road America and Le Mans, I become very focused on wanting to add this great race to our trophy case. We've got the drivers, the equipment and the team that can do it this year, and we are ready."
A year ago, TRG drove its Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car to second in GTC class, with an incredibly strong drive by Pumpelly, Duncan Ende and Alain Li.
"We had a really good car last year," said Pumpelly, "and everyone had good runs. It was close and we'll be after it again this year."
DiGuida joined TRG nearly a year ago and had solid runs at both Road America and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in addition to being a stand-out at the Rolex 24 earlier this year. Bunting, a former Rolex season series champion ran three times with TRG in 2011 at Mid-Ohio, Mosport and Baltimore. His second place at Mosport was part of back-to-back, one-two finishes by the TRG team.
A great start at Sebring could set the early stage for a championship run. Last year saw the ALMS GTC class come down to the final race. Beginning with its second place finish at last year's Sebring, the team produced four victories, including the one-two finishes at Mid-Ohio and Lime Rock as well as a third place finish at Petit Le Mans.
Pumpelly is in his sixth season with the TRG. The two-time Rolex 24 at Daytona winner anchors the team with a solid chance to win. One of sport car racing's most highly decorated drivers, he has driven and won in ALMS as well as the Grand-Am Rolex Series and World Challenge Series. A respected and sought after coach, Pumpelly is a valuable and proven asset to the team not only for his on-track knowledge and success but also his ability to guide and mentor many newcomers in TRG's Driver Development program.
"Spence is a team leader," stated Buckler. "He knows his way around every track, figures out every nuance with the car and relates really, really well with his teammates. I can't say enough about how much he brings to the team."
DiGuida is a veteran of sports car racing with five championship wins in Venezuela. He has also participated in multiple endurance races in the GT de las America in Bogota, Colombia. In 2011, he saw his first ALMS action at Road America with a 6th place finish, and again drove for TRG at Laguna Seca. Emilio shared the all-South American TRG entry at this year's Daytona 24 Hours, a drive that saw the car steadily climb through the GT class.
"Emilio did a great job for us last year," said Buckler. "He keeps getting better and better. I was so proud of him earlier this year in Daytona as he emerged as one of our team leaders with a really solid run and laps times that were incredible. We are going to have a really good shot at this for Sebring."
Marc Bunting, who won the 2006 Rolex GT Championship with TRG, has a long history with the team. During the 2006 championship run, Bunting earned seven victories as well as a podium finish at the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
"Marc is very, very fast but also extremely patient and level headed, which is crucial at a race as grueling as Sebring," noted Buckler. "We have also been friends for years and I am both happy and proud to have him back as part of our squad at Sebring."
So the stage is set. Twelve grueling hours. Three inspired drivers. A World Class Team. One great race. The 12-hour race with its 10:30 a.m. green flag will be seen live on ESPN3.com along with special feature coverage from ABC on Sunday, March 18 beginning at 12:00 noon.