TRG Ready to Open KONI Challenge Season at Daytona
etaluma, CA — TRG is ready to open the 2009 Grand-Am KONI Sports Car Challenge season on January 23 at Daytona International Speedway. The team will field two cars to start, what hopes to be, a championship run.
Although the current rules configuration does not favor the Porsche 911 GS cars, the drivers are confident that the professional TRG approach to preparation, speed and strategy can still have a chance to win on Friday.
Duncan Ende and Spencer Pumpelly will be driving the No. 39 The DigiTrust Group/Adam's Polishes/Fox River Coffee Racer's Roast/TRG Porsche 997. The duo ran a lot of laps at the test in early January to prove out the work that the team has done on the cars over off season. Ende will be relying on TRG's strengths come Friday.
"Strategy always plays a big role in KONI Challenge races, but since Daytona is at least a half hour longer than our normal races we have even more to work with in the race strategy department than usual," Ende said. "Since we also have a bigger disadvantage to the more powerful Mustangs there than anywhere else we race, our pit strategy is really essential to a good result. With its emphasis on straight line speed over cornering ability, Daytona never shows our cars at their best. All things considered, I'm pretty happy with the way our car was working at the end of the test days. Spencer and I will be happy to have a solid race and take home decent points instead of the big goose egg we had in Daytona last year."
Ende will also be running in the Rolex 24 hour. He will be driving the No 68 James Farrell & Co./Pallis Properties, Inc./COLO Columbia River Logistics/Cohen Financial/TRG Porsche GT3.
"I'm really excited about driving the 68 car in the Rolex 24 this year! My goal for the car as a whole is for us to have a clean and consistent race in which we only see the pit lane for fresh tires and to fill our fuel tank. If we manage that, I think we have a very good chance at going home with a good result. My personal goals are to show what I can do in a very competitive GT field and do my absolute best for the team. We have such a solid team from top to bottom, both drivers and crew, that I cannot wait for things to finally kick off!"
In the No. 41 Magnus Racing/TRG Porsche 997 John Potter and Andy Lally are poised for a strong run. The pair worked well together in the early January test and are looking forward to getting the season going.
"While I have done several GT races, this will actually be my first KONI Challenge race," Potter said. "I am looking forward to seeing how the strategy is different. I do know that KONI races are extremely tight and very competitive. With the cars being so balanced by Grand-Am I know that strategy can make all the difference. I have had a great relationship with the TRG KONI crew, who are far more experienced than I am. I am looking forward to the "strategy" challenge. The KONI car felt great after the test day. I was a little nervous at first after driving the GT car at the same event. I didn't want to throw the GS car off or something trying to do what I could do in the GT car. It's very responsive, thanks to Andy Lally's help with set-up and the crew, the car did exactly what I told it to do. There were a few things that I am still working through but nothing that we can't deal with before the race."
Potter will also be running the Rolex 24 in the No. 65 Riegel-Stanton/Cystic Fibrosis Foundation/65 Roses/Magnus Racing/Marquis Jet/Resorts International/IPC/Total Lubricants/TRG Porsche GT3.
"Well this will be the longest race I have ever done. I have some great co-drivers and I hope to learn as much as I can while going as fast as I can, avoiding mistakes. I think we have a great opportunity to do well in the 24. It should be fun."
Kevin Buckler, team owner, is looking for some parity with the rules in KONI Challenge.
"We did a great deal of work over the winter on our KONI program," Buckler said. "At the test the Mustangs would just motor by us. With our setup and driving talent we were able to make up a little distance in the infield and the Bus Stop but with the run from NASCAR turn one to the entry of the Bus Stop and then the exit down to the road course turn one they just walk away from us. There has been a small competition adjustment, but it is not close to being enough. We will have to rely on excellent pit work, great driving and some extreme strategy calls to be in contention. I am looking forward to this first race of the season."
TRG was founded in 1993 and has been competing at the top level of motor racing ever since. The team has the most wins of any team in the Grand-Am Rolex Series with 25, including the 2005 and 2006 Rolex Series GT championship trophy to go along with wins at the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. TRG's young KONI Challenge team has logged two wins and recorded seven podium finishes in their first two seasons of competition.
TRG is a manufacturer and distributor of high-performance racing parts. The group specializes in engine and chassis tuning as well as full service professional race car preparation. The company also provides electrical and mechanical engineering services, driver development and arrive-and-drive opportunities. TRG is based in Petaluma, Calif., near its home track of Infineon Raceway in Sonoma. The company's NASCAR operation is based in Mooresville, North Carolina with a new state-of-the-art facility coming on-line at New Jersey Motorsports Park in late 2009.