TRG Bringing Five to Laguna Seca Ballou and Pumpelly lead GT points Petaluma, Calif., (May 12, 2009) - TRG is bringing five Porsche GT entries to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for this weekend's Verizon Festival of Speed....
TRG Bringing Five to Laguna Seca
Ballou and Pumpelly lead GT points
Petaluma, Calif., (May 12, 2009) - TRG is bringing five Porsche GT entries to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for this weekend's Verizon Festival of Speed. TRG's Ted Ballou and Spencer Pumpelly, on the heels of a second place finish in New Jersey, currently lead the GT drivers championship point standings.
Ted Ballou and Spencer Pumpelly spent a lot of time in the lead at New Jersey Motorsports Park two weeks ago in their No. 66 AXA/Mitchell Rubber/Wealth Management Strategies/TRG Porsche GT3. Eventually settling for second, Pumpelly is looking forward to a one place improvement at Laguna Seca.
"Besides the neighborhood - I like all the high speed turns like four, five and the kink," Pumpelly said. Laguna has a lot of fast turns. We will need to protect our rear tires over the course of the stint. Rear tire wear is always an issue with the 911 and the slippery Laguna surface will make it even tougher on the teams. The track was the site of my last victory in KONI, at least until last weekend. Porsche got a little help this past week, but it was small when compared to what we needed. We are significantly slower on the straights to the other cars, which makes passing a real challenge, but as always the team will come ready to do our best."
Justin Marks started the No. 67 Construct Corp/No Fear Energy Drinks/Voodoo Ride/Kartel Motorsports/K1 Speed/Gemstone Winery/TRG Porsche GT3 is coming off of a strong run at New Jersey Motorsports Park and are eighth in GT points. Teamed with TRG regular and Grand-Am champion Andy Lally, the duo are eager to back-up their season opening win at the Rolex 24 Hour at Daytona.
"Laguna is one of the best tracks on the tour," Marks said. "Besides just being a world class facility, it's in a beautiful setting. Monterey is a great part of the country. I always look forward to this race because the track is challenging, as well as the accommodations, the food, the scenery, and the town is all amazing. There are a few good passing opportunities on the circuit that makes your car's grip off the corners very important. Utilizing the rear end weight of the Porsche to aid in forward bite is going to be crucial to get good runs into the braking zones. My career began here at Skip Barber and a few years later my first professional podium in SPEED World Challenge. My best memories have been sharing my passion for racing with my close friends and family at this place, my home track."
"Turn five and six is pretty fun, and also an important place to set your car up well for racing at Laguna," Lally said. "One of my favorite memories of racing at Laguna is when RJ Valentine and I won the race in 2007 and it opened up the flood gates for us that year. It was a great one-two finish for TRG that day and it was great to win at such a historic track. We will have our hands full with the power of the Pontiacs and the weight to power ratio of the Mazdas."
John Potter and Craig Stanton will take to the track in their No. 65 Riegel/Stanton/Cystic Fibrosis Foundation/65 Roses/Magnus Racing/TRG Porsche GT3. The duo has been extremely strong at all of the races so far this year with a valiant finish at New Jersey two weeks ago.
Josemanuel Gutierrez and Scott Schroeder will partner for the third time this season in the No. 68 Cohen Financial/TRG Porsche. Schroeder has a winning history at Laguna Seca.
"My favorite part about Laguna Seca is that it is only an hour away from home and I have had good results there in the past, including a win in the Skip Barber Series," Schroeder said. "I also like that it is a good track for the Porsches and TRG has had great success there in the past. The track is nice to drive as it has a good combination of fast and slow corners along with the famous corkscrew. Although the Pontiacs and Mazdas have been quick this year I know the TRG Porsche will be strong."
New comers to the Grand-Am GT series are Henri Richard and Rene Villeneuve. The pair will pilot the No. 63 Team Polizei 144/TRG Porsche GT3. Richard is no stranger to Laguna Seca, having competed there many times and Villeneuve is an instructor with Skip Barber.
"Turn five and turn six are critical at Laguna Seca," Richard said. "Perfect execution in those turns is key to a good lap since it is all uphill. I was racing there two weeks ago with my Ferrari and led the race for a few laps under the rain. I love the track. The Grand-Am version of the Porsche has more mechanical grip than the GT3 Cup car I am used too, as well as a little more power. Most of my racing experience is with a Ferrari F430 which is a very different car in almost every area. I consider the Porsche a true racer's car, and I am impatient to get familiar with our new car."
Team owner Kevin Buckler will have his hands full again this weekend with five GT and two KONI entries.
"We are very familiar with running five cars," Buckler said. "If you can handle it at Daytona for the Rolex you can do it anywhere. Ted and Spencer are leading the points with Andy and Justin up there as well. We were able to get a small adjustment from Grand-Am last week, but it isn't close to being enough to make us competitive. We have a new group with the Polizei team with us and of course Scott, Josemanuel, John Potter and Craig Stanton are all professionals and know their way around this track. The odds are definitely in our favor."
Round four of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series will be run at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on May 17 and will be televised live on SPEED Channel starting at 4:00 p.m. ET.