March 9, 2015,
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Austin, TX (March 10th, 2015) … The Pirelli World Challenge 2015 season of competition is officially underway after the opening race weekend at the impressive Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. TRG-AMR brought four potent Aston Martin racecars to the fight, with a pair of V12 Vantage GT3s and another duo of V8 Vantage GT4s rounding out the team lineup. The Astons proved strong throughout the weekend, bringing home a GTS Pole, GTS Victory, and a strong 3rd place podium finish in GTA with Christina Nielsen behind the wheel.

Starting on Saturday afternoon with the first GTS race of two, TRG-AMR team driver Kris Wilson took the checkered flag after starting the race from pole in the No. 07 Royal Purple/Orion Energy Systems/LaSalle Solutions/PassTime USA Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT4. Wilson was initially outgunned by the Mustang’s power off the line before recapturing the lead moments later and never looking back. Wilson led the entire 20-car GTS field around the 20-turn Formula 1 track for the remainder of the race. The second GTS race on Sunday was marred with bad weather, with Wilson starting from the pole again and ultimately finishing 9th after a great battle in the rain.

Wilson’s’ teammate Derek DeBoer also put in a fantastic drive on both Saturday and Sunday, showing his strengths as a smart safe and competitive driving. Running a nearly flawless Saturday race only a few spots back in the field from Wilson, DeBoer, starting from 8th, took the No. 09 Lex Tempus/BlackRider/BRM Chronographes/Petrol Lounge/ Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT4 up to 6th place thanks in part to a daring final corner and last lap pass on one of the KIA racing machines. Sunday was equally as impressive with DeBoer’s patience and tenacity leading to a very strong P7 finish in one of the most challenging rain races in recent history. This was DeBoer’s first professional PWC races at COTA, with results like this lending a very positive outlook for DeBoer’s upcoming full season of PWC racing with TRG-AMR.

The GT race on Saturday was marred with a bit of bad luck for both drivers, with outside incidents affecting both TRG-AMR pilots and their cars. In the first GT race of the weekend Mark McKenzie got an extra push up the hill into turn 1 on the opening lap causing him to spin before rejoining the race a ways back. Mark would persevere, driving some incredible laps and bringing home the car a very respectable 7th position in front of a cheering local crowd. Christina Nielsen was running a very successful race strongly in the top-10 when a backmarker Porsche clipped the wheel of the No. 07 V12 Vantage GT3 as Christina attempted to pass, sending the car into the gravel trap and ending her day.

Sunday was much stronger for the team, even with the unfortunately terrible weather at the circuit. Starting from 22nd, Christina Nielsen and her V12 Vantage GT3 powered through the field, easily taking down a number of seasoned competitors as she showed her prowess racing in the rain. After a long, wet race Christina would bring the car home on the podium finishing P3 in the GTA category. Mark drove an absolutely stellar race again turning incredible lap times with strong heads up driving in the rain but was sideswiped by another competitor causing him to pit for two left side tires and wheels.

Kris Wilson, Team Driver, TRG-AMR North America: “We knew we had a good car heading into this race – but as all drivers and fans know, having a strong car is only part of the equation. I had to make sure to run clean and consistent with some stiff competition that had way more horsepower than our Aston did. Nevertheless, I was able to put a little pressure on the pony car and watched his tires start fading in the first few laps. Once I saw I could make a nice safe pass I took the initiative because I knew I would hold the lead for the rest of the race as long as I kept it clean. Thanks to some great driving by lapped traffic playing it smart and clean I held on to the front of field for the rest of the race. Thanks again to the Riddles, to Kevin and the entire TRG-AMR team, and to Pirelli World Challenge for giving us an awesome field of cars and great events this year. I am looking forward to more! Get well soon, Max!”

Derek DeBoer, Team Driver, TRG-AMR North America: “What an incredible race! I can’t say enough to Kevin and the TRG team for giving me the best shot and most capable car and team combo I’ve ever had. The team has worked so hard to get me the best car and we could not have done any of this without our partner Shane Sterling from Black Rider Racing. There is an incredible motorsports future in Austin and Shane is in the middle of it!”

Christina Nielsen, Team Driver, TRG-AMR North America: “What a great weekend – everything from the car to the crew was flawless. The only incidents we had were caused by other people on the course, but that’s racing. To be on the podium during my first weekend of racing in the Pirelli World Challenge series really says something about the kind of team TRG-AMR is and what a powerful platform the V12 Vantage GT3 is proven to be. Looking forward to a busy next couple of weeks with the 12 Hours of Sebring followed by the Grand Prix of St. Pete! Stay tuned!”

Mark McKenzie, Team Driver, TRG-AMR North America: “Working with Kevin and TRG-AMR was a great experience. The V12 GT3 is one of the most exciting cars I’ve ever driven – great power, great handling – what a car. The weekend didn’t go as planned, though it was the unfortunate result of other people’s mistakes or errors, but that’s racing. I’m looking forward to more World Challenge racing in the future.”

Kevin Buckler, CEO, TRG-AMR North America: “What a fantastic start to the season. In the very first PWC race of 2015 we put it on the pole and then led most of the race in GTS. Really great job to Kris and the team! I was worried in the beginning when I saw him get passed so easily by the Mustang and its massive power, but Kris stayed clean and smart and managed to keep his tires under him. Once he got back around… that’s all she wrote. Derek was equally impressive especially considering it’s his first PWC race of the season and he does what he does best. Super clean, super smart and now getting superfast! Kudos to the team and to Shane Sterling and the Black Rider Group. It was nice to see such positive performance especially at their home event. Race #2 on Sunday was a little rougher and run in crazy wet conditions but both drivers did a great job and Derek really moved up through the field.

The first GT race was really wild but I was proud of everybody for the effort they put in. Christina had a terrific start and probably would’ve gained even more positions had the McLaren not stalled in front of her. She kept her calm and drove really well up into the top group of drivers. Unfortunately, she was taken out by a back marker that she was lapping which was really unfortunate. We will have the car back together and ready to go again tomorrow. Mark had only a few laps during the Saturday morning session after a crazy situation yesterday where we had to fly in a new ECU from across the country. He totally rocked it in the race would’ve probably finished in the top five had he not gotten punted at the start.

GT Race #2 was beyond crazy… I remember yelling green green green into the microphone and then looking up the hill as all you could see was a sea of mist… I mean like zero visibility. We were all holding our breath but then saw on the monitor as both of our drivers came out in fine shape. Unfortunately Mark got sideswiped and had to come in for a quick pit stop but went back out and drove like a champion that he is putting in some incredible lap times in the rain. Christina put her head down and does what she does best… focused on putting in the very best lap every time and it paid off handsomely with a podium finish. Well done by her and the entire team!”

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