TRG-Aston Martin Racing Heads to Le Mans Festival Race with Eight Aston Martin Racing Cars and Solid Driver Line-Up

June 8, 2015,
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Aston Martin as the Honored Marque of Historic Festival Event in Le Mans

Le Mans, France (June 8th, 2015) … As the race and podium filled month of May passes into the rearview mirror, TRG-AMR stands ready to continue making history, this time in the form of an eight-car entry in the 2015 Le Mans Festival Race with Aston Martin as the honored marque. This marks one of the largest endeavors in history for the Sonoma County-based team, which includes shipping one of their primary race transporters and eight Aston Martin Racing cars across the Atlantic via both sea-freight and air-transport, as well as logistics for over 60 crew, guests, and other personnel. While a massive undertaking from the outside looking in, this is a relatively routine operation for the team which has run large, successful, multi-car operations for nearly 20 years, including an eight year run at the 24 hours of Daytona with five or more cars competing each year and posting 4 victories and 13 podiums there. This is also the team’s first official return to Le Mans where it last competed in 2002-2004 with a major GT victory in 2002.

This marks the second time in four years that Aston Martin has been selected as the honored marque for the Le Mans Festival Race, the last being in 2012 during the marques 99th year of operation. This year Aston was again selected, both for the heritage of the brand at Le Mans, as well as having one of the largest stables of contemporary and functioning racing machines and being able to field a full grid of potent racecars with a full compliment of international drivers. This speaks volumes, not only the history and heritage of Aston Martin, but also of the reliability, quality, and popularity of their racing machines both past and present around the globe. Numerous types of Aston Martin Racing machines are entered to compete, everything from the 2006 Le Mans winning DBR9 to the V12 powered prototype along with nearly 30 V8 Vantage GT4 and GT3 machines, as well.

Aside from the iconic and storied history of Aston Martin as the honored marque, also racing this year are some very notable names from around the sportscar racing world including 10 TRG-AMR Team Drivers including Christina Nielsen, Derek DeBoer, Alex Welch, Rob Nimkoff, Ben Keating, Jeff Huber, Greg Milzcik, Bob Bramlage, Fred Schulte and Kevin Buckler.

Christina Nielsen, a full-season IMSA TUDOR and Pirelli World Challenge TRG-AMR Team Driver, currently second in the TUDOR championship points, is driving the No. 82 V12 Vantage GT3, following in the footsteps of her father Lars Erik Nielsen, who drove for the team in the 2004 24 Hours of Le Mans. Nielsen is currently in second place of the 2015 IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Series, with podium finishes at the historic 12 Hours of Sebring and the recent race at Detroit’s Belle Isle.

TRG-AMR partner and driver Jeff Huber will be making his first trip to Le Mans, having honed his skill in everything from open wheel to stock cars readying for the big event. Jeff’s day job as a senior executive at Google takes up most of his time, though racing fast cars has been taking a more prominent role lately, with Jeff running a partial season in the GT4 Challenge of North America, as well as multiple track and testing days.

2014 GT4 Challenge Competitor Greg Milzcik will be making his debut at Le Mans. Although new to the circuit, Milzcik is familiar with the GT4 having competed in every round of the North American Championship in 2014 and finishing as the Series Runner-Up. A former aerospace industry executive, Greg knows what it takes to compete at the top of his game, showing great promise as a GT racing driver.

TRG-AMR Rolex 24 at Daytona competitor and Pirelli World Challenge driver Derek DeBoer will be sharing the No. 83 entry with Bob Bramlage, SVRA and SCCA longtime driver. Derek ran this year’s Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona with the team, helping bring the car home in a strong top-10 finishing position. Previously a professional wakeboarder, Derek is no stranger to intense competition and the drive to win. Bob has driven almost everything with wheels over the years, competing in a variety of historic and vintage sportscar classes throughout the years, including a Top-5 Finish at the SCCA National Runoffs in 2010, and competing against AMR Factory Driver Pedro Lamy in a 24 Hour Karting endurance race in Portugal.

Pirelli World Challenge standout and longtime GT Driver Alex Welch is in the No. 86 V8 Vantage GT4, having recently tested with the team at Sonoma Raceway and visited the nearby team’s headquarters. Alex has driven everything from Porsche GT3 Cup cars to Audi R8 GT cars and Lamborghini GT3 machines – now it’s time for Aston Martin!

TRG-AMR team driver Fred Schulte is a longtime HSR competitor and friend of the team and has worked diligently in preparation for this big event. His need for speed originated as a US Air Force pilot where he flew jets for a number of years before transitioning to much slower but equally challenging motor racing.

TUDOR driver (and fellow competitor) Ben Keating will be piloting the No. 87 V8 Vantage GT4. Keating, a former TRG Porsche driver, is back with the team at this event but is also driving in the 24 Hours of Le Mans this year with his Riley Viper GT car, campaigning a strong, independent effort during his first outing at the Circuit de la Sarthe.

Rounding out the team line-up will be TRG-AMR CEO and former Le Mans GT Champion (2002), Kevin Buckler and his Co-Driver, East Coast racing standout and Daytona 24 Competitor and TRG-AMR partner Robert Nimkoff. Buckler and Nimkoff will be driving the No. 81 LaSalle Solutions V12 Vantage GT3 and should make a competitive team in this car and class, both having driven The Festival previously in 2012. Nimkoff has strong GT and international competition having recently competed in the Dubai 24 and winning the grueling 13 hour endurance race at Virginia International Raceway. The No. 81 is rather significant in the team’s history, as it has adorned the number plates of all three TRG entries at Le Mans (2002, 2003, 2004), with the number panels from each of these cars proudly on display at the Sonoma County headquarters.

More information on all of our Team Drivers can be found here.

TRG-AMR CEO Kevin Buckler:

“It’s really an honor to be heading back to Le Mans with this amazing group of drivers and race cars. This is going to bring back a lot of nice memories for me, but more importantly creating some great new ones together with our friends. The logistics of putting all of this in place have been just crazy and I cannot believe we are actually here. Everybody back at the offices has been so supportive, working late into the night and everybody on the competition side has just been fantastic, as usual. But this week, here at Le Mans, the real stars are our drivers and I am so proud and happy to be here with nine of my fellow racing drivers and friends to share this amazing experience together! Every one of them have all worked so hard to get here and it all came together. We start with a track orientation on Tuesday and then a big welcome dinner for the drivers and the guests at our private Château and then to scrutineering on Wednesday followed by our first practice. We are booked from morning till night with on-track and off-track activities and this is going to be a week to remember for everybody. We are looking forward to delivering an amazing experience for everybody and I could not be more proud of the entire group. Here we go!”

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