TRG at Infineon Raceway -- Homecoming, and a Visit to the Monster Skunkworks Sonoma, CA-- July 13, 2004 -- Team TRG is on familiar ground this week, as the American Le Mans Series makes the first stop on its West Coast swing this week, through...
TRG at Infineon Raceway -- Homecoming, and a Visit to the Monster Skunkworks
Sonoma, CA-- July 13, 2004 -- Team TRG is on familiar ground this week, as the American Le Mans Series makes the first stop on its West Coast swing this week, through the famous California Wine Country to TRG's home track, Infineon Raceway. California, aside from being the base of operations for the team, is home to all but one of the team's sponsors, and is home to three of the team's drivers and team owner. Pierre Ehret represents the Northern California contingent of TRG drivers, and will have the luxury of sleeping in his own bed during the race weekend.
Ehret, a businessman who splits time between homes in Santa Rosa, California and Berlin, Germany, is firmly tied to the hotel and wine businesses in the States, and has recently finished a renovation of the historic Flamingo Resort and Hotel in Santa Rosa. The Hotel, which opened in 1957 and was a favorite retreat for some of Hollywood's biggest stars in the 1960's, was taken over in 1978 by Ehret's family, and under Pierre's watch has returned to prominence through two renovations and the addition of world-class spa and sporting facilities.
"It's wonderful to be racing at Infineon," Pierre said. "It's a welcome homecoming for me. I've had plenty of track time here, and combined with TRG's technical expertise over the years, I think we'll be a potent combination for the race. Of course, being in my home area is relaxing as well, and the race always sells rooms for us, so it's nice to know that something I enjoy as much as racing helps the business be profitable! We've done a good deal of testing here, so I think that straight out of the box we'll be in good shape. We're settling into the rhythm of the season very well, and I think our pace at Infineon will put us in a great position."
Team TRG will enjoy a brief respite from racing in dual series, as the Grand-Am Series takes a five-week summer break. The ALMS runs back-to-back weekends on the West Coast, with a race in Portland, OR immediately following the Infineon race. Team owner Kevin Buckler is more than happy to spend some time in his own home, working out of TRG's headquarters.
"Being out on the road is part of what all racers do," he said, "but the two California races each year make us realize how much of a luxury it is to be in a familiar place. Most everyone on the team, especially the crew, is more rested and comfortable at Infineon, and I believe it gives us a great edge for the race. We know our way around this track better than almost anyone else, and we're very confident in our technical ability to put together a winning racecar here. The weather, as it always is in the Bay Area in July, will be beautiful, and more importantly, comfortable for our drivers to work in. All in all, we've got a good equation for speed, I think."
The Grand Prix of Sonoma will be enjoyed by quite a few guests of TRG's sponsors, as New Century Mortgage, Monster Cable, CDOC and the Auto Gallery all welcome guests to the track to take in the scenery and the competition. Monster Cable, which helped build the communications cart that functions as the team's nerve center during races and bears Monster's name, has brought the cart back to its skunkworks for further equipment upgrades prior to the Grand Prix.
"We decided that we need to Monster-ize the TRG team a bit," said Monster Cable founder and President Noel Lee, "so we added a big multimedia entertainment system to the communications cart to make it more useful for the crew during their working hours. TRG added a weather system and some other goodies so that they have the best information to aid their race strategy. The Monster Cart is a great way for us to get involved with TRG, and our guests love it as well!"
The #66 New Century Mortgage/Monster Cable Porsche of Cort Wagner and Patrick Long and the #67 Flamingo Resort/TRG Porsche of Pierre Ehret and Jim Matthews race at 2pm ET on Sunday, July 18. The race will be broadcast live on CBS Sports in the US.