January 31, 2015,
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Petaluma, CA (January 31, 2015) … TRG-Aston Martin Racing with LaSalle Solutions/Royal Purple/Orion Energy Systems/PassTime USA kicked off the 2015 major league sports car season with its 20th consecutive year of running at the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona. Opening week could not have begun better as the 007 V12 Aston Martin Vantage GT3 with James Davison behind the wheel captured the coveted pole position in the highly competitive GTD Class. Both the 007 and 009 entries sponsored by LaSalle Solutions finished strong but were unfortunately hampered by tough luck. Team owner Kevin Buckler viewed the overall weekend with mixed results, having seen tremendous success around the teams’ cutting edge marketing and partnership programs but encountering some unfortunate circumstances on the racetrack.

The race started off in fine fashion with both cars running strong. In the 007, James Davison handed the car off to Christina Nielsen, who put in a flawless double stint for her opening round before handing the car off to teammate Brandon Davis. Sitting comfortably on the lead lap, Davis was finishing his double stint about to hand the car off to Danish driver Christoffer Nygaard before catastrophe struck and the car was taken out of the race by a Ferrari reentering the racetrack after a spin. The 007 would ultimately finish in P13 after an amazing effort by the crew and drivers to get the car on track and salvage as many championship points as possible. The 009 team of Riddle, Salazar, Deboer and Wilson did an outstanding job of driving clean, fast, and smart throughout the entire race. The team dealt with only a small electrical issue and finished strongly in P8 after 24 grueling hours.

Aside from the racing, TRG-AMR used the historic event and facilities to help host what became one of the most engaging and exciting showcases of sponsorships, partnerships and true B2B relationship marketing ever inside the IMSA paddock. TRG-AMR welcomed their sponsors, executive staffs, decision makers, and other guests and influential VIP’s to the track, filling the TRG-AMR hospitality suite and pit area to capacity and playing a big part of the overall weekend program. Guests were escorted around the circuit throughout the entire 24 hours as they were shown the best vantage points from which to watch the 007 and 009 V12 Vantage GT3 racing machines, as well as to interact with all of the guests and other activities.

A huge part of the unfolding story involved the an in-depth media and marketing campaign with TRG-AMR’s team taking to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Reddit in new ways never done before. In 2009, TRG was the first to ever live-stream footage and interviews from the pit box, conducting interviews and chat room discussions with the various drivers and guests throughout the entire 24 hours. With more than a few teams emulating the live stream program over the past years, Buckler decided it was time to do something different.

This time TRG-AMR turned to Reddit and its active userbase of over 300 million accounts, utilizing both a Live Feed updates page and a Reddit-only AMA. AMA stands for “Ask Me Anything” and the fans sure listened. Everything from driver lineups to questions about the team’s inner workings and even inquiries regarding the drivers’ eating and personal habits during such an intense race were on the table. All the fans seemed to enjoy the easy access to team information with more than 50,000 registered users viewing and/or engaging the Reddit activity pages throughout the 24-hour enduro.

Complementing the innovative marketing activities were the team’s typical utilization of traditional and social media channels. Leveraging Buckler’s long time relationship with McNeilly Communications and its managing partner George McNeilly, TRG-AMR’s efforts generated an enormous amount of buzz in the garage area and earned a slew of print, radio, and television appearances and mentions, including a front page story in the Orlando Sentinel by columnist George Diaz and a story in the works by New York Times technology writer Farhad Manjoo, who attended the race with a photographer. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram were filled with fantastic pictures and videos from inside the operations of the team and included some at-track produced video updates every six hours throughout the duration. All of the team’s videos and other media related links are included further down this release.

Also of note were the number of news outlets who spent considerable time with Buckler, Davison, Wilson and Davis, along with fellow rising-star drivers including Christina Nielsen, Derek Deboer, Max Riddle and open wheel legend Eliseo Salazar, as well as many of the TRG-AMR sponsors.

As an added treat, sponsors and others who sought special guest experience packages, enjoyed an exclusive seven course Adobe Road wine dinner at the historic Halifax River Yacht Club. The wine pairing/dinner – hosted by Buckler and his wife Debra who also own Adobe Road Winery along with partner Kenneth Greenberg – was held in the private ballroom atop the yacht club overlooking the Halifax River with the opening reception held on a beautiful new 90-foot Viking sportfishing boat there at the dock.

To help our fans and supporters truly comprehend how the week’s events unfolded, we’ve assembled a sampling of the media surrounding race week – from the disheartening crashes to some point-of-view pit stops and our in-race updates. Fans are encouraged to continue engaging all forms of media and a free to send requests and inquiries to Info@TRG-AMR.com


Christina Nielsen, Team Driver, TRG-AMR North America: “Even though we lost the chance of competing for the win I have to say it was pretty amazing driving the car across the finish line after 24 hours. I am proud to be a part of such a hard working team and I think this was just a small taste of the work we are going to put into this championship. We showed we can handle pressure and are ready to do whatever we need to do to get on the podium!”

James Davison, Team Driver, TRG-AMR North America: “I was really pleased with the productivity of the team this past week. The race result was hard to swallow as it simply didn’t reflect our performance level. The Pole Position in qualifying was fantastic to achieve as we were on the back foot a little up to that point in the weekend. The 007 car’s handling and all my crew and teammates performed exceptionally during the race. This is a world-class organization and any driver should aspire to be here. I look forward to Sebring and securing the result TRG-AMR so richly deserves.”

Christoffer Nygaard, Team Driver, TRG-AMR North America: “This was my first time running this famous North American endurance event and I couldn’t have asked for a better team to be with. The team was fantastic, the car was incredibly strong, we had the pole and the pace… until lady luck struck when the Ferrari pulled out in front of Brandon. It was great to be with my fellow Dane, Christina. She is an incredible driver and an asset to the team. I couldn’t have asked for better co-drivers in James or Brandon, either – what a class act. It’s too bad our chance at winning was taken so early.”

Brandon Davis, Team Driver, TRG-AMR North America: “It was definitely a weekend of ups and downs. Going into the race we were feeling very positive with our pole position and felt that we just needed to execute. The incident occurred on track was unfortunate and took away our chances for a win, but I’m very proud of the TRG-AMR crew for not quitting and getting us back out on track for the rest of the race.”

Derek DeBoer, Team Driver, TRG-AMR North America: “What an incredible first attempt at the Rolex 24 – The Buckler’s and the entire TRG team, along with BlackRider, BRM Chronographes and an overwhelming support group put together an effort beyond expectation. The Aston Martin GT3 was flawless, the team of drivers couldn’t have been paired better, and the team executed like the professionals that they are. This team as a whole gives all of our drivers such an unfair advantage in every way with all that they do. Finishing 8th in class was a strong showing, but know we’ll be back next year aiming for that top spot on the podium!”

Max Riddle, Team Driver, TRG-AMR North America: “Wow! What an amazing experience running one of the most premiere endurance races in the world with one of the top teams in the world. Having the opportunity to run the Rolex 24 with TRG Aston Martin Racing is simply an amazing experience. Kevin and Debra Buckler have put together the best team in the paddock and I couldn’t be more proud to race for them. The V12 Vantage GT3 is by far the coolest race car I’ve ever driven! We also had a great driver line up in the 009 car including my friend and full time 2015 team mate Derek DeBoer who did a unbelievably good job for his first Rolex 24, my long time team mate and coach Kris Wilson and racing Legend Eliseo Salazar. The drivers and everyone on the team did a fantastic job overcoming some adversity during the race and bringing the car home 8th place in the GTD class. A huge thank you and congratulations to everyone at TRG-Aston Martin Racing that has made this opportunity possible. These guys just never stop pushing!”

Eliseo Salazar, Team Driver, TRG-AMR North America: “It was very rewarding to drive such an amazing race car, like the Aston Martin GT3. And like always, very well prepared by TRG. We got a top ten result in the most grueling endurance race, this side of the pond. I enjoyed driving with such competent teammates in Max, Kris and Derek. 8th place that could had been better, but anytime you finish high up on a 24 hour race, it’s a good day. I’d also like to thank AGUNSA for coming on board and helping me drive for such a great team at this historic race. More good things to come in 2015!”

Kris Wilson, Team Driver, TRG-AMR North America: “It was great to race with TRG at the 24. The team did an awesome job. It was really cool to be teamed up with Eliseo. He has done it all, from F1 and Indycar and everything else. Max and Derek drove flawlessly. Kevin told all the drivers to not make mistakes and everyone performed to expectations. What an experience.”

Kevin Buckler, CEO, TRG-AMR North America: “This was a great weekend from a number of perspectives – even though our finishing positions were different than we had hoped. The drivers in both cars showed just how capable they are as a team, running as smoothly and as cleanly as possible. The 007 was really dominating during the first half of the race before a terrible judgement call by a GTLM Ferrari left the car in need of time in the garage for repair. This might’ve been one of the worst moments ever for me in motorsports as we have been preparing for this race for the entire year and particularly for the last 60 days…Heads down…Flat out. We have lived and moved with the racecars and equipment since the first of the year at 18 hour days. We were prepared for everything just like going into a war… every ‘what if’ scenario.

For Max, Derek, Eliseo & Kris– we knew we had something really special coming into this race and the 009 team was a total dark horse – and they proved just that, coming home in the top 10 and beating some really strong teams after a very grueling 24 hours–well done guys! I was so proud of them as they drove so clean and smart and really gelled as a team. Also, we couldn’t have done any of this without our sponsors and partners. LaSalle Solutions stepped up and agreed to be the primary sponsor for this event across both our Continental and TUDOR teams, also bringing with them over 20 guests to enjoy the experience of the race. Royal Purple is back on board for the 2015 season after a very successful partnership in 2014, along with ORION Energy Systems and PassTime USA. Agunsa and Black Rider anchored the 009 team as well and got some great coverage.

I feel really lucky to have the great partners we do on board for what is sure to be a very strong season. The partnerships we are forming here and the opportunities we are bringing to the professional sports car paddock are like no other, and we are leading the charge. A very special thank you goes out to the entire crew, top to bottom. The drivers and the cars wouldn’t go anywhere if it wasn’t for you. Our hospitality staff was flawless and took care of everything from apparel to our 20 golf carts and almost 100 guests and VIPs. And the media and marketing team – I’ve been getting comments since before the race even started regarding how informative and creative our social media and PR channels were at entertaining and engaging the fans. Like I said, we all really pulled together as a team and made this Rolex 24 the start of our new partnership paradigm and we are leading the charge and breaking new ground and I am just thrilled. We’ll be back next year, of course, and we are going for the win. On to Sebring.”

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