The Racer's Group (TRG) press release
TRG Announces Five Car Lineup for the 50th Running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona
Petaluma, CA (December 24th, 2011) - The Racer's Group, one of the most successful sports car teams in history, has announced that it will bring an armada of five Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars to the 50th Anniversary of the Rolex 24 at Daytona in defense of its GT title from a year ago. TRG's lineup of drivers will include defending champions, current veterans, Porsche Factory drivers and more. This is the strongest 5 car team we have ever fielded, according to team owner Kevin Buckler, whose off-season has been anything but.
"There isn't much of an off-season for our group here at TRG," said team owner Kevin Buckler. "We've all worked tirelessly to make this incredible feat happen and it started 2 months ago. The Rolex 24 has been our signature event for the last decade, and we've been successful because of our team's dedication, and glued together by one thing... we like to win - especially here and we deliver."
In early December, the team put five Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars through the tests on the high banks of the Daytona International Speedway in preparation for the Rolex 24. After leading nearly all sessions in the GT category, TRG eagerly awaits the upcoming Roar Before the 24, January 6-8th, and the Rolex 24, January 29-30th.
The GT category defending car, No. 67 Sargent & Lundy/TRG Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, will be driven by TRG regulars Spencer Pumpelly and Steven Bertheau alongside Porsche Factory Driver Wolf Henzler and prototype veteran Marc Goosens, who recently celebrated 4 wins in the 2011 Belgian GT Championship. The No. 67 was at the top of the charts at the December test and will certainly be in contention at the 24 with this driver lineup.
Pumpelly and Bertheau who each started 2011 with a Daytona 24 win, had career 2011 seasons. Pumpelly celebrated three ALMS victories (among seven podiums), two GRAND-AM wins and a trip to Le Mans for the 24 hour European race. Bertheau had a break-out GRAND-AM season with two wins in the GT Category.
TRG's famed No. 66 Porsche will be driven by Viper Cup Champion Ben Keating, Dominik Farnbacher, Allan Simonson and Porsche Factory driver Patrick Pilet. Farnbacher comes from a famous Porsche racing family and is a young 997 veteran. Farnbacher and Keating shared the pole sitting GT car at Daytona last season, and anticipate another strong attack. Keating, who just announced plans to run the entire GRAND-AM Endurance Championship, has been extremely strong. He had earned a 2011 Dodge Viper Cup Championship and had an impressive drive at the 2011 Petit Le Mans with TRG.
Keating will run not one, but two entries in this year's race, sharing the seat of the No. 68 911 with 2011 GT3 Challenge Series standouts Carlos Gomez and Chris Cumming, Kevin Estre, 2011 Rookie Champion of the Porsche Mobile 1 Supercup, and one of Ireland's top international racing drivers, Damien Faulkner. The No. 68 also sat near the top of the time sheets at the December test days.
The TRG No. 65 will be driven by Ferrari Challenge standout Bob Doyle, who spent the early part of his professional career in two-wheel racing; Mike Hedlund, who recently earned his first GT3 Challenge win; Jack McCarthy, a PCA standout; and Jim Michaelian, sports car veteran and President of the Long Beach Grand Prix, who just competed in the 24 hours of Nurburgring finishing 36th of 160 teams. All of these drivers have been working extremely hard in the off season preparing for this years event.
Rounding out the group for TRG is the No. 64 car driven by Formula One veteran, Eliseo Salazar, who will be sharing driving duties with TRG regular and Venezuelan touring car champion, Emilio Di Guida and his Venezualean Co-driver Gaetano Ardagna. They will partner with Salazar's fellow Chilean racer Eduardo Costabal, all making their Daytona 24 debut.
TRG's full driver lineup:
Car 64: Gaetano Ardagna, Eduardo Costabal, Emilio Di Guida, Eliseo Salazar
Car 65: Bob Doyle, Mike Hedlund, Jack McCarthy, Jim Michaelian
Car 66: Dominik Farnbacher, Ben Keating, Patrick Pilet, Allan Simonson
Car 67: Steven Bertheau, Marc Goosens, Wolf Henzler, Spencer Pumpelly
Car 68: Chris Cumming, Kevin Estre, Damien Faulkner, Carlos Gomez, Ben Keating
"This year is sure to be a great addition to the TRG history books," states Buckler. "We are so proud to be the home for so many fantastic drivers... the TRG talent pool runs deep!! Not to mention our Porsche factory guys. To have our manufacturer support us in such a way is absolutely invaluable. The team is working harder than ever to get these guys the top notch TRG equipment they need to get to the podium - we can't wait to get back on track. This year is going to be really special for us in so many ways. Defending champs, lots of returning drivers, a superb team of mechanics and team members and this is the 50th anniversary."
"Even better is these guys are all my friends and we are striking out on this huge mission together. I'll be proudly on top of the pit box the entire time supporting them all. I also have to give huge credit to our Manufacturer of choice - Porsche. I just came back from the wonderful Porsche banquet in Germany and it really gives you the feeling and sense of how truly incredible this global brand is. We are so proud to be representing them."
"And finally - our wonderful series Grand American. They have stayed the course and now have an incredible program for us all for 2012. We are not only extremely proud to be participating once again in Daytona with our 5 car squad, but to able to be partnered with them for the entire season. They are one incredible group of team members that comprise GRAND-AM and we are committed to them. It's gonna be a great year!!!"