TRG Heads South of the Border with Points Lead and a Pair of Potent Porsches. The No. 67 TRG Porsche leads the No. 66 machine. PETALUMA, Calif. - As the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 makes its annual trek...
TRG Heads South of the Border with Points Lead and a Pair of Potent Porsches. The No. 67 TRG Porsche leads the No. 66 machine.
PETALUMA, Calif. - As the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 makes its annual trek south of the border to Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, TRG finds itself in a familiar position heading into Saturday's Mexico City 250.
The California-based squad leads the Rolex Series GT team point standings with its No. 67 Gleukos/Tampico Beverages Porsche GT3 with co-drivers Tim George Jr. and Spencer Pumpelly, while the team's No. 66 Marquis Jet/Mitchell Rubber/Resorts International/IPC/Total Lubricants Porsche GT3 of co-drivers Bryce Miller and Ted Ballou is in fourth place, just 12 points behind the class-leading No. 67 Porsche. TRG is the winningest team in Rolex Series history with a total of 23 class victories, and the team owns two Rolex Series GT championships.
"Going into the third race of the season, we are obviously right where we want to be in the championship with both cars," said TRG owner Kevin Buckler. "The team did an outstanding job of preparing our cars for the first two races this season, and I fully expect that we'll have great cars again when we get to Mexico. Spencer and Tim have performed flawlessly this season to get into the points lead, and Bryce and Ted are well within striking distance. It would come as no surprise to me if both teams battle it out for the championship all year."
Pumpelly and George used a pair of podium finishes in the first two rounds of the 13-race 2008 season to move to the head of the points battle. In the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona, the No. 67 duo teamed with Bryan Sellers and Porsche factory drivers Romain Dumas and Emmanuel Collard to finish third in the prestigious 24-hour enduro. Last month, the No. 67 teammates moved one step closer to the top of the podium with a second-place outing in the GAINSCO Grand Prix of Miami.
"I'm looking forward to Mexico," George said. "Spencer and I are the GT points leaders, but I know how quickly this can change. I have not yet been to the track in Mexico, but I have been watching in-car video footage every night before I go to bed. There is no substitute for raw experience, but I plan to make the most of the small amount of track time we have prior to the race. I'm excited to be backed by a new sponsor as well, Tampico Beverages."
"The Mexico City race is one of my favorite Grand-Am events," Pumpelly added. "Most of the turns are fast so there is a good flow to the track. The fans are very enthusiastic and the city offers us a new cultural experience. This year, a strong finish for Tim and me would make the trip complete."
Ballou and Miller have also visited the Rolex Series GT podium this season with a second-place result in the Rolex 24 At Daytona when they shared their No. 66 machine with co-drivers Andy Lally and Richard Westbrook. Round 2 at Homestead-Miami Speedway yielded an impressive, sixth-place qualifying performance by Ballou, but contact with another car and a couple of penalties ultimately left the No. 66 teammates just outside the top 10. Nevertheless, there is plenty of season left for the No. 66 duo to come back in the championship fight and both Miller and Ballou are expecting that to start in Mexico City.
"I am really looking forward to Mexico City; this will be my first race in Mexico," Ballou said. "The track is challenging and fans come to the event energized anticipating exciting racing. Putting on a great show for appreciative fans is highly motivating to me. Our team is working extremely well together and we will no doubt carry a high level of confidence gained from the first two races to Mexico."
"Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez is one of the more exciting venues on the Grand-Am schedule because of the fans and their enthusiasm for the sport," Miller added. "I really enjoy the track - it offers a good balance of daring high speed corners, hard braking zones, and a tight complex series known as the 'Esses' which involves multiple transitions. This makes the circuit both challenging to drive and to obtain a good car set-up for."
This weekend will mark the fourth Rolex Series visit to Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, and TRG has already won twice at the historic 2.5-mile, 14-turn road course. In the inaugural Grand-Am event in Mexico in 2005, TRG teammates Paul Edwards and Jan Magnussen claimed the victory in the No. 64 TRG Pontiac GTO.R, with No. 65 teammates Lally and Marc Bunting finishing fourth.
TRG won again in 2006, this time with Edwards and Kelly Collins in the No. 64 machine, while Bunting and Lally also joined the podium celebration with a third-place performance in the No. 65. Last year, Lally and co-driver RJ Valentine finished eighth in the No. 66 TRG Porsche, followed by Pumpelly and Scott Schroeder in 11th place aboard the No. 67 Porsche.