When TRG’s owner/driver Kevin Buckler showed up at Le Mans last year to race in the Aston Martin GT4 class’ support races – wearing all of his standard Porsche livery – it was kind of perplexing. True, he was competing with a good friend and fellow winemaker Fred Schrader and they were having an essential “wine-man’s holiday”, but Buckler rarely does anything without forethought – and that was apparently the case with this particular endeavor.
On Thursday, Nov 29 Buckler announced his TRG team is partnering with Aston Martin Racing to be their American outlet for factory-supported North American race programs. With Porsche cutting back on its factory support for GT racing, this is an optimal move for Buckler and his TRG teams.
This program is massive and far-reaching...
The partnership brings Aston Martin Racing programs to the North American racing scene, beginning with the coming season. The endeavor encompasses both the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) and Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, together with Grand-Am’s Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, the Pirelli World Challenge series and, for good measure, a single make support series that features the same Aston Martin GT4 race cars Buckler sampled at The Sarthe in 2012.
TRG-AMR North America launched with the acquisition of 10 new race cars for this variety of North American sports car series. The Aston Martin Vantage GTE will be unveiled at ALMS’ annual Winter Test, scheduled for February 7-8 at Sebring International Raceway in anticipation of the March 16 running of the Mobil 1 Sebring 12-Hour race.
For events the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series (and the Pirelli World Challenge), the AMR Vantage GT4 debuts at the January test days for Continental Tire Challenge and will be ready to race in the Rolex 24 at Daytona weekend in support of and alongside the highly successful Multimatic team that already competes in that championship.
Buckler heads the new outfit as CEO. He remarked: “Aston Martin Racing, as a factory-supported entity, has truly arrived in North America. This program is massive and far-reaching (as is just about anything Buckler does). What we have crafted with Aston Martin Racing is the ability for TRG-AMR North America to compete in all the major race series with multiple teams, and to manage and support all customer programs, marketing, merchandising, transport, maintenance, a new Aston Martin GT4 race series, and even an Aston Martin-specific “Arrive and Drive” program for corporate clients and customers.”
The initial push is to secure customer teams to compete in all the North American racing series. “We will be responsible for race car sales, race parts, at-track engineering and technical support, rebuilds and repairs,” Buckler said. “We want to welcome and assist these teams at the highest level of support and professionalism in any of the sports car series in North America.”
Aston Martin Racing returned to sports car racing in 2005 with the DBR9 GT1 as a factory team. It earned in-class victories in 2007-8 at Le Mans and won the 2011 FIA GT1 Championship.