Daytona Test: TRG Thursday notes

GTO.R Newbies Pilgrim, O'Connell, Collins and Valentine Get up to Speed Daytona Beach, Florida -- TRG has begun its official on track preparations for the Grand American Rolex Series Presented by Crown Royal Reserve 24 Hours at Daytona. The team...

GTO.R Newbies Pilgrim, O'Connell, Collins and Valentine Get up to Speed

Daytona Beach, Florida -- TRG has begun its official on track preparations for the Grand American Rolex Series Presented by Crown Royal Reserve 24 Hours at Daytona. The team is at the World Center of Racing testing their Pontiac GTO.Rs. Newcomers to the cars and team Andy Pilgrim, Kelly Collins, Johnny O'Connell and RJ Valentine are getting up to pace in the GTO.Rs for the January 28 -- 29 race.

Andy Pilgrim, a veteran Daytona competitor and driver of the number 64/TRG/iRise/GTO.R, likes the GTO.R and is already worried about traffic. "You really have to have a good car in traffic to do well here, especially in the GT class. The GTO.R is nicely balanced and so far I am finding it easy to drive. The only trouble I am having so far is the sight lines out the back of the car that will be important for us to sort out for the race to keep track of the Daytona Prototypes coming up behind us."

Teammate and newcomer to the team Kelly Collins is also coming to grips with the GTO.R. "I find that you have to be a little slower with the pace behind the wheel. Gentle on the turn-ins, you don't have to throw it around to put in fast lap times. The guys have the balance of the car really close, it is up to us to fine tune it for consistency. It is really a good all around car. I like the fact that I just showed up and did my first laps without having to make huge suspension adjustments, that is a big pat on the back for the team."

In the companion number 65 car Johnny O'Connell is having comfort issues. "I am having trouble fitting into the car comfortably. I am taller than my co-drivers so we have some adjusting to do so I can really be situated behind the wheel. The car is a lot different than the Corvette I am used to driving. The Corvette has a lot more power and mechanical grip. The team has done a good job of setting up the car, it's really drivable and there seems to be no bad habits to solve. We are really close to the DPs on the infield, speed wise, so it takes a lot of patience to get along on the track."

RJ Valentine knows Daytona and is getting used to his new ride around the modified oval layout. "I am working up to the limits of myself in the car. I have a lot of miles at Daytona and learning the car is what this weekend is all about. TRG has a good history with the GTO.R and that makes it easy for me to just focus on my driving. It is relatively easy to drive and that will be a big help come the 24."

The TRG GTO.Rs ran towards the top of the time sheets all day in the GT class with a fast time of 1:55.630, good for fourth overall on the day, by the number 64 team. "We had a good day with the GTO.Rs," said team owner Kevin Buckler. b^0x001cThe new drivers are getting acclimated to the team, the cars and the TRG philosophy. We are still about 8 miles-per-hour slow around the oval with our restrictor. We have a great handling car in the infield, we just leave too much on the oval."

-trg-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Johnny O'Connell , Andy Pilgrim , Kelly Collins , Kevin Buckler