Three TRG KONI Sports Car Challenge cars took part in the Roar Before The 24 at the Daytona International Speedway this past weekend. The TRG KONI cars turned competitive laps in preparation for the season opening Fresh From Florida 200 race to be held January 23rd.
Duncan Ende, driving the No. 39 TRG Carlsen Porsche/TheDigiTrust Group Porsche 997 GS with co-driver Spencer Pumpelly spent the weekend proving the updates that the TRG crew had been working on in the short off season. With both drivers turning fast laps, the 39 team was able to put in a lap of 2:01.672 good enough to be the fastest GS Porsche on the weekend. Ende spent a lot of quality time behind the wheel and went away with a lot of confidence in the car.
"The weekend has been good," Ende said. "We have been the top Porsche in just about every practice. We have had a few small things with the steering, but the TRG crew has done a great job to give us maximum track time. This is really not a Porsche track. We almost won here last year with strategy, so we will come back ready to have another competitive weekend."
Veteran racer Spencer Pumpelly knows the reliability and handling of the TRG Porsche will be keys to having a successful race at the end of the month.
"We are really here this weekend to confirm the reliability of the car," Pumpelly said. "It is tough to be two-seconds off of the pace with the level of cars and drivers we have. We have worked on the setup to capitalize on the infield section and the Bus Stop, which is really all we can do. Daytona with the high bank is just tough for us with the KONI car."
John Potter spent time behind the wheel of the No. 41 Magnus Racing/TRG Porsche. Potter, also competing full time in the No. 65 TRG Rolex GT entry, is gaining maximum seat time to improve his overall performance at Daytona.
"I am running both the Rolex and the KONI cars this weekend," Potter said. "The KONI car is a little heavier and is a little slower to react. We also have a little oversteer in the car that makes things interesting. Driving with Andy Lally is a big help. He knows these cars from top to bottom and is a big help with helping me to get around here fast."
Scott Schroeder, who ran most of last season with TRG, returns to Daytona in the No. 40 Cohen Financial/TRG Porsche.
"The testing with the 40 car went well this weekend," Schroeder said. "We have a new crew on the car this year and we are getting know each other. At Daytona we just don't have the outright speed on the banking so we really have to focus on the infield, where the Porsche is really strong. We need to really emphasize the strong points of the handling in the infield to keep in touch with the Mustangs."
New to the TRG KONI family is Beau Borders who made his first laps with the team in the No. 40 TRG Porsche this weekend.
"You would think that hopping into a completely unfamiliar car with a completely unfamiliar team would be a daunting experience, but TRG really went out of their way to make it extremely comfortable," Borders said. "Every single member of the crew was professional, courteous, and fun. After only two days working with them, I consider everyone on the crew a personal friend and look forward to working with them again in the future. The engineers treated me with great respect throughout the process, and worked with me on improving my comfort level in the car. The only thing I ever had to concentrate on during the test weekend was my own performance behind the wheel. The thing that I learned the most about the TRG Porsche is that it really takes a real delicate touch to go fast. Being that it was my first time in the car, I was being much more conservative than my instincts would usually allow."
Kevin Buckler, TRG team owner, has continued the development of the team's KONI Porsches.
"We did a lot of work on our KONI program over the winter," Buckler said. "We used the weekend to prove out some our work, but we are at a huge disadvantage to the Mustangs. They can completely miss the apex and drive around the next turn. It is ridiculous. The rules are very out of balance right now and this is a track where the slippery little Porsche should be fastest. We will get to any of the other tracks that favor torque and we will be embarrassed. Our team of drivers and our level of preparation is all top notch, so this is very frustrating. Duncan, Beau, Scott and John all did an excellent job we loaded the cars without a scratch so I am very happy about that aspect."
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.
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