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Autobahn: TRG/Circle B MotorCars race report

TRG Mercedes SLR GT Has Successful First Run at Autobahn Joliet, Illinois. (July 26, 2009) - TRG'sSpencer Pumpelly introduced No. 71 Circle B MotorCars Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren 722 GT to North American road racing in today's running of the...

TRG Mercedes SLR GT Has Successful First Run at Autobahn

Joliet, Illinois. (July 26, 2009) - TRG'sSpencer Pumpelly introduced No. 71 Circle B MotorCars Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren 722 GT to North American road racing in today's running of the SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge GT Series Harrah's Grand Prix held at Autobahn Country Club.

The Circle B MotorCars Mercedes-Benz McLaren SLR 722 GT was classified as 14th in the finishing order today, but that was not the story. Pumpelly experienced the full range of emotions behind the wheel of the exotic Mercedes in the 50-minute sprint race this afternoon.

"The standing start was great," Pumpelly said. "The TRG and RML (Ray Mallock Limited) guys did a great job to tune the car and give me the right coaching needed to make a great start. We are really hamstrung by the power to weight ratio we are forced to run on the car and it really shows at the beginning of the race. We are launching the heaviest car in the field with same horsepower as the rest of the grid."

The race was exciting for Pumpelly who started on the seventh row.

"We got an early yellow and on the double file restart a guy comes flying down the inside, doing his bowling ball impression, and created a huge mess. I somehow was able to thread my way through it and exit the corner in sixth. Two of the cars ahead of me were broken. On the next restart I was able to put one of them behind me. By that time the guys who went off in that first turn, who were faster, got back by me. Starting the last lap I was eighth and then the throttle position sensor went crazy and I ended up on the side of the road."

The team learned a lot during the SLR GTs first outing.

"It was joy, pain, agony and ecstasy all in a matter of 50-minutes. The car is really cool. In SCCA trim we are just slow. The SLR GT has a lot of potential. We just have to work with series to let us get competitive and make things fun at the front of field with the other guys. We learned a lot this weekend."

Circle B Motorcars SLR 722 GT car owner, Peter Blom, was proud to see the SLR GT racing in America.

"This car was made to race," Blom said. "The race was exciting, a lot happens in SPEED World Challenge GT in 50-minutes. Spencer did a great job to try and get the best possible finish today, but a $50 part was the difference between being parked on the side of the track and an eighth place finish. We learned a lot and will take that forward to improve the car and work with the SCCA to give us a break so we can make things interesting at the front of field."

TRG owner, Kevin Buckler, knows that a racing cars first event will test your sanity.

"A first race on a new car takes you through every emotion," Buckler said. "World Challenge racing is a 50-minute qualifying session, not a lot of strategy, just drive as hard as you can until you see the checkered flag. Spencer and the team did a great job. They were headed for a good finish in eighth when a small little part acted up and cost us a top ten finish. We are leaving Autobahn with a big note book and needing a hand from the SCCA to help us adjust on the car so we can be a factor in the race, not just a cool looking race car."

The next race for the SLR GT will be at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 9th.

-credit: trg/cbmc

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Series PWC
Drivers Kevin Buckler , Spencer Pumpelly