For years, TRG has been a force to be reckoned with on the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series scene. However, the Kevin Buckler-led squad puts most of its effort on the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona, and 2009 is no exception. TRG has entered a fleet of five Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars, as the California-based team aims for its third victory in the twice-around-the-clock January classic.
Two of its entries in particular hold a strong chance of challenging for the GT class victory, especially with the assistance of several Porsche works drivers. European hotshoes Emmanuel Collard and Richard Lietz will lend a helping hand in No. 66 Porsche, joining team regulars Ted Ballou, Tim George Jr. and Spencer Pumpelly.
TRG's No. 67 entry could likely be a factor as well, with Porsche stars Jorg Bergmeister and Patrick Long teaming with Andy Lally, Justin Marks and RJ Valentine. Bergmeister, the reigning American Le Mans Series GT2 co-champion, was part of TRG's two Rolex 24 victories in 2002 and 2003. Lally and Marks, meanwhile, trade in their NASCAR Camping World Truck Series rides to pair with each other for an assault on the Rolex GT Championship.
"We have five Porsches that feature very strong driver lineups," team owner Bucker said. "We have five Porsche Factory Drivers sprinkled in the cars. That helps with experience, speed, setup as well as having been through the rigors of racing in a 24-hour event."
Two of the team's entries will be raising money for charity. First, the all-East Coast No. 63 entry of Bruce Ledoux, David Quinlan, Dan Watkins, Steve Zadig and Kurt Kossman will be gathering donations on a per-lap or lump-sum basis to help the Children's Hospital Boston and its pediatric health care center.
TRG's No. 65 Porsche, meanwhile, will be turning laps for the "65 Roses Sports Club," a division of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. John Potter, Craig Stanton, Bryce Miller and Marco Holzer have been named drivers.
Finally, Josemanuel Gutierrez, Steve Miller and Chris Pallis make up the driving strength in the No. 68 Porsche.
"It is an exciting time going into Daytona," Buckler added. "We won the GT race in 2002, won the 24 hour overall in 2003 to go along with seven total podium finishes at this historic race. The team is focused on preparation and we are looking forward to going for our third Rolex win at the end of next month. No doubt, this is a big task and there are a lot of strong teams, but we will be ready."
Buckler and company will assemble at Daytona International Raceway on January 3-5 for the "Roar Before the Rolex 24" test days in preparation for the 24-hour marathon itself, set for a 3:30 p.m. green flag on Saturday January 24.