Petaluma, CA, (December 6, 2010) – Three time Rolex 24 Hour at Daytona winners, TRG began the official preparation for the upcoming twice-around-the-clock race and the 2011 season at the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 test at Homestead-Miami Speedway this past week.
The team took delivery of one of three 2011 Porsche 911 GT3 Grand-Am spec cars just one week prior to the test. The team made the necessary rule book modifications as well as some tried and true TRG tweaks to the car as they prepare to race for their fourth Daytona 24 Hour win on January 29th.
The Homestead test not only provided an opportunity to exercise the new car, but the team also worked diligently on balancing their proven winning cars from this past season with the new up-grades and Continental tires the results were proven on the time sheet. The drivers and crew were able to get reacquainted and the test was pronounced a resounding success. The team had TRG regulars Andy Lally, Duncan Ende and Spencer Pumpelly onsite as well as Steve Bertheau. New TRG drivers Dion von Moltke, Matthew Marsh and Ben Keating took turns behind the wheel as well as returning shoes Daniel Graeff, Ron Yarab, Carlos Gomez and Jim Michalean.
“We had a great test day at Homestead,” Bertheau said. “The new Porsche really hugs the road. They just keep making them better and better. Between the new car, new shocks, and two new tire compounds we had our hands full with set-up adjustments. I think that we learned a lot. The Homestead test was my first time on a banked track. It was pretty wild trying to figure how much speed I could carry into the oval without sliding into the wall. Between the banking and the transitions from there to the infield I learned a lot. The Homestead test really gave us a chance to shake out the cobwebs and jell as a team in preparation for the Daytona 24.”
Andy Lally likes the new Porsche and was focused on the total team package at Homestead, with an eye toward Daytona.
“I thought the transition from last year’s car to the new Porsche was pretty easy and the cars we won with last year had the 3.8 liter motor and are really fast!” Lally said. “It’s a similar car. We’ve been concentrating on the new tire and a new shock set-up we’ve been playing with. It also gave Steve Bertheau his first laps at Homestead, and we’ve been working with him to get him familiar with the new track and the new tire. All positive things as we head into the biggest race of the new season at Daytona next month.”
Team driver Spencer Pumpelly is happy with the results of the test session last week.
“We had a chance to test all of our Porsches, which are very similar and our lap times were very close with both versions of cars,” Pumpelly said. “I think the biggest thing we came away from Homestead with is that we learned a lot about the new Continental tires – what they want, and how our Porsche will react to them next month.”
Kevin Buckler is pleased with the test, the car and the potential of some new faces behind the wheel.
“We came down here with a to-do list about 10-feet long,” Buckler said. “We have the new car and wanted to get an initial set-up package that we could unload with at Daytona. We also had to prove-out the small things like wheel and tire clearance over bumps, fuel mileage, etc. The cars that we won with three times last year were very fast with the new engines. The cars are skinny and I think will still rock in the Rolex 24 – it may even be a slight advantage to what I saw on the track at Homestead. We also wanted to take a look at some new drivers that we have had conversations with over the last year. It was a good opportunity for us to get them some laps in a TRG prepared car and get a small taste of our “Special Sauce” that makes us so successful in sports car racing and especially at the world’s most difficult race. I am confident that our crew accomplished most of what we needed to at Homestead this past week. Next stop is the Roar Before the 24!”
The team will prepare for the Roar Before the Rolex 24 test which will take place January 7-9 at Daytona International Speedway. The Rolex 24 Hour at Daytona will take the green flag on January 29 at 3:30 p.m.
TRG Rolex 24 Hour at Daytona entries:
TRG/Racing for Research/Porsche
TRG/HP/South Point Casino/Porsche
TRG is a full-service motorsports company offering a total driver ladder approach. This approach starts with track days, goes to club events, up into street stock series and culminates in the ultimate goal of professional motorsports. With sports car focused facilities in Petaluma, California (Infineon Raceway) and Millville, New Jersey (New Jersey Motorsports Park) the team can offer turn-key support as well as arrive-and-drive programs.
The company’s NASCAR operations are headquartered in Mooresville, North Carolina. The team fields a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series entry and has the capacity to run ARCA, Nationwide and the Camping World Truck Series.
The Racer’s Group was founded in 1993 and has been competing at the top level of motor racing. The team boasts Rolex Series GT championships in 2005 and 2006 and holds the record for the most wins in Grand-Am with 31. The team’s resume is highlighted by five championships, three Rolex 24 Hour at Daytona victories and a Le Mans 24 Hour win.
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