GRAND-AM Road Racing: TRG Confident of Eighth Straight Rolex 24 Podium Finish

By Auto News Log • December 29th, 2010

PETALUMA, Calif. – Following three victories and eleven podiums in nine straight races at the Rolex 24 At Daytona, TRG heads in to 2011 full of confidence in their team and drivers to continue their streak.

“When everyone else closes their shops for the holidays, we’re always working right up to the point of being dis-owned by our families,” team owner Kevin Buckler said. “The Rolex 24 has been our signature event for the last decade, and it’s been successful because everyone here is incredibly passionate about making it a success.”

Headed in to the upcoming Roar Before the 24, TRG will feature a four-car lineup featuring an all-star roster of past champions, sportscar greats, and Porsche specialists.

Driving the No. 67 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, drivers Steve Bertheau, Brendan Gaughan, Andy Lally and Spencer Pumpelly will now be joined by Porsche factory driver Wolf Henzler. Lally, Pumpelly and Henzler, all have victories at the Rolex 24. Bertheau and NASCAR driver Gaughan will both make their Rolex 24 debuts this year, but between Bertheau’s multiple races in the Rolex Sports Car Series last year, and Gaughan’s impressive Porsche outing with TRG at Montreal in 2009, the No. 67 will be a force at this year’s race.

Driving the No. 4 Children’s Tumor Foundation Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car will be drivers’ Ron Yarab, Daniel Graeff, Kenny Wallace, Rich Zahn, and Ryan Eversley. Yarab and Graeff are both veterans of the Rolex 24, and based on recent tests at the Homestead-Miami Speedway the duo clearly have the pace to be competitive. Wallace, a SPEED television personality as well as NASCAR Nationwide Series driver, will be returning to the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona after an extended time away, and will be competing in a Porsche for the first time in his career. Zahn is a veteran of both GRAND-AM and Porsche club competition, and is returning to Daytona for his second start. Eversley, a recent newcomer to the program, joins the team after an impressive 2010 season. Not only did Eversley earn his second podium at the Petit Le Mans, but he took breakout victories in both the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge as well as World Challenge series. Eversley will also be sponsored by Luna C Clothing, a new lifestyle company perfectly catered to endurance racing.

Running the “Racing 4 Research” program for the Children’s Tumor Foundation (CTF), the No. 4 car will be running a special program at this year’s race. Using the race as a means to raise money for children suffering from neurofibromatosis, CTF and TRG will launch a number of fundraising initiatives throughout the month of January. For more information, be sure to visit www.ctf.org.

Also joining the TRG lineup will be a combined effort from some of the strongest teams in the ALMS GTC ranks: TRG, Black Swan Racing, and Global Motorsports Group (GMG). Running in the no. 54 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car will be drivers Tim Pappas, Bret Curtis, James Sofronas, Jeroen Bleekemolen, and Patrick Pilet. Pappas and Bleekemolen join the team as the reigning 2010 ALMS GTC-category champions. Pappas, the owner of Black Swan Racing, has joined forces with TRG for this one-time event as a means to capitalize on TRG’s enormous success record at the race and their mutually strong programs combined into one. Bleekemolen, a multi-time Porsche Supercup champion as well as 24 Hours of Le Mans winner, will be racing in his second Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona. Bret Curtis and James Sofronas will join the team as drivers for GMG in the ALMS series. Curtis, making his debut at The Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona, ran a very impressive ALMS season last year. James Sofronas is the owner of GMG and is a Porsche veteran, having competed in a number of series from the ALMS GTC ranks to the World Challenge Series. Recently added to the team is Porsche factory driver Patrick Pilet. Pilet, a veteran of Le Mans Series and Rolex 24 competition, was recently announced as the fifth driver to the team and completes a very strong lineup.

Additionally, TRG will be bringing a very strong fourth entry to the Rolex 24, with the finalized driver lineup coming very soon.

For Team Owner Kevin Buckler, the ability to bring in such a great arsenal of drivers puts the team in a position to make another strong run at their fourth victory.

“This year’s race could be our best yet,” stated Buckler. “To have such a strong lineup of cars and drivers, with a fourth on the way, is a great start to the year, and a great way to tell the world we’re here, were back, and stronger than ever. The team and my guys at the shop have been awesome all year and I know they are all showing up on the morning of the 26th and it’s ‘game on.’ I’m so proud to see Steve Bertheau in our car, and to think of how far he’s come in such a short time. Two years ago Steve was racing at the Porsche club levels, now he’s a proven GRAND-AM winner and about to debut at the biggest race of his life.

“For car No. 4, we’re very happy to be running such a worthwhile program to the Children’s Tumor Foundation,” Buckler added. “I’ve been friends with Ron and Daniel for years, and I’m happy to see them come back in to our fold, I know we’ll deliver a solid program for them. Rich is a strong driver and very familiar with Daytona and I’m happy to be able to see him in one of our cars for the 24, he’ll do a great job like he always does. Kenny is of course a proven and popular driver among our NASCAR fans, and we look forward to seeing how he takes to our little Porsches, and I know he’ll do a solid job.”

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.
Detailed team info can be viewed at www.trgmotorsports.com and www.theracersgroup.com.

Source: GRAND-AM Road Racing

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