TRG Brings Seven Cars and 33 Drivers in Search of Victory in Rolex 24 At Daytona Team to Also Field Three Cars in Grand-Am KONI Challenge Fresh From Florida 200 DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., January 23, 2008 -- Armed with a 33-driver lineup and seven...
TRG Brings Seven Cars and 33 Drivers in Search of Victory in Rolex 24 At Daytona
Team to Also Field Three Cars in Grand-Am KONI Challenge Fresh From Florida 200
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., January 23, 2008 -- Armed with a 33-driver lineup and seven Porsche GT3s, Petaluma, Calif.-based TRG returns to the legendary Daytona International Speedway this weekend for the 2008 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona. The world-renowned event will take the green flag shortly after 1:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, January 28 and the checkered flag 24 hours later.
TRG Owner Kevin Buckler definitely knows a thing or two about what it takes to win the Rolex 24 At Daytona. As a driver, Buckler claimed a class victory in the twice-around-the-clock event in 2002, and a year later, he celebrated an overall victory--the first for a GT team in 26 years.
Buckler has also won the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and his team won back-to-back Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 GT championships in 2005 and 2006. He has traded his helmet for a headset and turned his focus to ensuring that the TRG fleet is perfectly prepared to battle for the GT victory. And what is Buckler's assessment heading into the grueling Rolex 24 weekend?
"I don't know if this has any bearing, but I've never been so calm before a storm in my life," Buckler said. "Everything is very well-prepared, everybody seems very at ease, and the guys are walking with confidence on both the driver side and the crew side. We're ready. It's going to be a big race."
TRG's driver lineup features a potent mix of sports car racing greats alongside rising stars and Rolex 24 At Daytona rookies. In addition to Buckler's two victories, five of the team's drivers this weekend have also visited Victory Circle at Daytona at the end of 24 hours.
No. 67 TRG Porsche GT3 driver Spencer Pumpelly is the most recent Rolex 24 winner on the team, having claimed the GT class victory in 2006. Pumpelly is slated to share the car with his full-time 2008 co-driver, Tim George Jr., as well as Bryan Sellers and Porsche factory drivers Emmanuel Collard--who claimed an overall Rolex 24 victory in 2005--and Romain Dumas.
Andy Lally, the 2000 SRPII class winner of the Rolex 24, is sharing the No. 66 Marquis Jet/Mitchell Rubber/Resorts International/Total Lubricants/IPC Porsche GT3 with Bryce Miller and Ted Ballou--who will be the car's full-time drivers in 2008--and another Porsche factory driver, Richard Westbrook. Lally, who won the 2006 Rolex Series GT title with TRG and also owns the 2004 Rolex Series SGS championship and the 2001 Rolex Series SRPII title, will drive the TRG Motorsports Chevrolet full-time in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series this year.
In the No. 64 TRG/J Lowe Racing/Globus/Adopt A Pig/CRG/Maxter/Rotax/MBA Group/F1 Air/SRS/NMT Porsche GT3 is the lone two-time Rolex 24 class winner in the 2008 TRG driver lineup, as 1996 overall winner and 1990 GTU winner Jim Pace returns. Pace is sharing the car for the full 2008 season with Jim Lowe, and the duo will be joined this weekend by Tim Sugden, Johannes van Overbeek and TRG stalwart RJ Valentine.
Road racing great Jack Baldwin is the final Rolex 24 class winner in the TRG lineup. Baldwin claimed the GTU class victory in 1984 and is sharing the No. 62 Burtin Engineering/Foametrix/Westfund.com Porsche GT3 with Claudio Burtin, Scott Tucker, Ed Zabinski and the team's fourth Porsche factory pilot, Martin Ragginger.
Sharing the No. 65 Lavender Bridal Salon Porsche GT3 is Daytona veteran Tommy Archer as well as a team of four accomplished Viper racers in Russ Oasis, Tom Atherton, Jim Stout and Jason Daskalos. In the No. 63 The DigiTrust Group/Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing/Impremedia/Reigel Tuning/Adam's Polishes/La Vi Porsche GT3 are young hotshoes and Rolex 24 rookies Duncan Ende and Hima Maher, as well as NASCAR driver Pierre Borque and TRG driver Ron Yarab. Completing the lineup in the No. 68 ACG Motorsports/Cohen Financial/Thomas Weisel Partner/Muffin Top Racing Porsche GT3 are Skip Barber standouts John Mayes, Michael Gomez, Michael Auriemma and Brent Milner and TRG professional driver Scott Schroeder.
Schroeder and Ende are among five TRG drivers pulling double-duty this weekend, as the team will also field three entries in Friday's 2008 Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series-opening Fresh From Florida 200. Ende is sharing the No. 39 The DigiTrust/Adam's Polishes Porsche 997 with Pumpelly, while Schroeder and Lally are teamed in the No. 41 Cohen Financial Porsche 997. Sellers and Daniel Di Leo complete the KONI Challenge lineup for TRG in the No. 42 Maxwell Paper Porsche 997.
"There are a lot of incredibly good teams and talented drivers here, but I'd say our chances are extremely good to be a contender for the win or for podiums this weekend," Buckler said. "I'm very excited to do it and I'm looking forward to the fight. There are a 100 team members here and a bunch more back at the home office and I can't say enough what a great job everybody did to get us to this point. I hope we can deliver."