Petaluma, CA (November 24, 2014) … The TRG-Aston Martin Racing team has been busy this past week, hosting its first “Partners Summit” events at the International Motorsports Center in Daytona Beach, followed by three days of intensive testing at the legendary Sebring International Raceway. The event included a pre-summit and winemaker’s dinner and was followed by a tour of the $400 million Daytona International Speedway’s “Daytona Rising” renovation project after lunch in the infamous 500 Club, personally led by Daytona track President, Joie Chitwood.
On hand at the summit event was a wide range of personalities and professionals from around the motorsports community. Master of Ceremonies was none other than the legendary Bob Varsha. IMSA COO Scott Atherton, David Pettit and David Higdon from IMSA Marketing gave some great presentations, and Torrey Galida (President of Richard Childress Racing) made numerous compelling points regarding the financial justifications and accountability of motorsports marketing programs.
Also on hand was Steven Cole Smith from AutoWeek, Courtney Smith from motorsport.com, and Chris Hixenbaugh from Sports Business Journal. From the business and sponsorship side of the house were Sean Gibbons from SiriusXM, Bryan Yourdon from Calumet/Royal Purple, James Jackson from Orion Energy Systems and Alan Vordermeier from PassTime USA. TRG-AMR team drivers Christina Nielsen, James Davison, Derek DeBoer, Brandon Davis, former F1/Indycar driver Eliseo Salazar and Danish driver and businessman Lars Nielsen, were also on hand to answer questions and present viewpoints from the driver’s point of view – offering their unique perspectives as racecar drivers and business professionals from all corners of the globe. Team Owner Kevin Buckler was in attendance and overseeing throughout. IMSA Chairman Jim France and CEO Ed Bennett made guest appearances as well.
Following the successful summit event, the team and guests made their way south to Sebring International Raceway where the team spent the entire weekend testing the Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3’s and V8 Vantage GT4’s for the upcoming IMSA TUDOR and Pirelli World Challenge season. In addition to TRG-AMR’s driver lineup, several other prospective drivers and team owners were on hand as well. There were a total six racecars and 12 drivers in attendance, actively testing for a variety of programs for next season. The cars and drivers performed admirably, testing new setups and other changes to the car.
Christina Nielsen, Team Driver, TRG-AMR North America: “We had the opportunity to test the GT3 car this weekend for both TUDOR and World Challenge, so we were able to get a lot of good data. Sebring is always a great place to test – if something is going to break it will be here! The GT4 drivers got some good driving time in as well. I think… no, I know we’ve got really strong programs in place for next year. Not one of our programs is a weak link – we’ve got solid drivers across three classes in two series. I am really happy to have been signed with TRG-AMR and looking forward to seeing what we can do next year!”
Kevin Buckler, CEO, TRG-AMR North America: “What an incredible event – I’ve never seen the proverbial light bulb click on with so many people at once. People get it – motorsports marketing can deliver real ROI and is making more and more sense when compared to the expense of other sports and many other forms of corporate advertising and marketing. We’ve got some great corporate and VIP entertainment packages in place for the coming year, in fact, it’s our most requested form of partnership right now and only getting stronger. This really is the magic moment in sportscar racing – two great series embracing different formats, great marketing and support from both of them and media packages that make sponsors want to get involved – it’s the right time to be sportscar racing and we are busy, busy, busy.
Our Wednesday night wine dinner was fantastic– great food and wine and fantastic camaraderie and we also awarded the championship trophies for the season to our GT4 competitors. I cannot say enough about how gracious the folks at IMSA were to open their beautiful facility to us on Thursday and host our Partnership Summit. That was quite a panel of ‘Who’s Who’ in the sport, and we covered a broad range of topics. My goal was to send people away with a clearer understanding of how powerful our sport can be, how we can all work collectively together to build, and leave with some really strong thought starters about how to get involved and involve others. I think we accomplished that and a lot lot more. We are always trying to stay on the leading edge of our sport, and I think this definitely proved that we are. Everybody did a fantastic job.
Following all of that, the testing at Sebring went great, as well. We’re getting ready for the upcoming Festival of Speed Event at Orlando and then the Performance Racing Industry conference up in Indianapolis – then we’re back at Daytona for the Roar before the 24! Stay tuned for 2015 – we’re going to be busy fighting for multiple championships, providing excellent value for all our partners and continuing to push our sport forward as a whole!”