St. Petersburg, FL – March 17, 2016: Last weekend, three Aston Martin Vantage race cars fought through a fierce field of competitors over four races at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. The TRG-AMR drivers — Jason Alexandridis, Derek DeBoer, Duncan Ende, and new teammate Sean Gibbons — handled the oceanside street course with skill and determination for a huge crowd of team partners and guests that were there cheering them on. A non-stop weekend full of racing, wine receptions, sunshine and nightlife capped the second weekend of the Pirelli World Challenge race season.
TRG-AMR and Adobe Road Wines kicked off their week in Florida with nearly 100 guests at the St. Petersburg Yacht Club for a fabulous wine tasting with their members. The next morning, select invitees were given a private introduction and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the St. Petersburg racing circuit in a different way: strapped into the right seat of the Aston Martin race cars with TRG’s pro drivers at the wheel during TRG-AMR’s exclusive track time. The rush of these thundering V8 and V12 Vantages attacking the track with passengers in the right seat left everyone in awe. Later on in the day, GTS drivers Derek DeBoer and Jason Alexandridis qualified for Race 1 in 6th position in their No. 09 BRM/Rebounderz/Racing for Cancer Aston Martin V8 Vantage. Sean Gibbons, in his first-ever pro-level track session, qualified 13th in his Belleair Aston Martin V8 Vantage. That evening, the four drivers met with new friends and guests at the Aston Martin of Tampa Bay dealership. Max Riddle’s V8 Vantage, in full racing livery, was on display, as were two Simon Ward-commissioned paintings of DeBoer’s Vantage.
The following morning was Duncan Ende’s turn to put on a show with his No. 67 Merchant Services LTD/Linospresso USA V12 Vantage in GT qualifying. Between IndyCar and SuperTruck sessions, the GTS drivers prepared for their Race #1 later in the day. Alexandridis and Gibbons took to the track and maneuvered between a wide range of GTS cars and drivers. Gibbons, in his first-ever race with TRG-AMR, celebrated a remarkable top-10 finish while Alexandridis’ clean driving landed him in 12th.
That evening, race team guests were treated to a private gathering at the amazing downtown penthouse home of Carlos and Beverly Yepes, two passionate and irreplaceable supporters of the team and its endeavors. Over glasses of Napa Valley Beckstoffer Cabernet and 6 other hand selected wines, TRG guests, including friends at LaSalle Solutions, enjoyed time making fruitful connections and were given total access to the team’s drivers.
Saturday kicked off with the opening of the team’s private seating and hospitality within the gorgeous Dalí museum alongside the track. In this space commissioned by Mr. Yepes, TRG guests were treated to an upscale buffet, private screening room, and best of all, a shaded trackside grandstand with views of the yacht harbor. From either inside the museum or on pit wall alongside the TRG-AMR crew, invitees cheered Duncan Ende in GT Race #1. His driving was fast and clean and he earned a hard fought 15th place finish in this world class driving field. In GTS Race #2, the field of cars was more aggressive than ever, with DeBoer and Maserati driver Mark Klenin briefly swapping paint. The front runners made weaving through the pack a challenge, but DeBoer finished 6th while Gibbons once again broke into the top 10 with a solid 9th place finish. Gibbons earned the VP Racing Fuels Hard Charger Award for gaining five positions.
The final day of the Grand Prix of St. Pete was a little quieter, as the final GT race was on the schedule with Duncan Ende’s V12 Vantage on the grid. The series requested DeBoer for a couple of high-profile PR initiatives, one featuring Pirelli and Muck Daddy for a finger-painting contest with driver Austin Cindric, and then DeBoer contributed his own race commentary on the live broadcast alongside announcer Jeremy Shaw. That afternoon, the GT race was marred by several yellow-flag sessions, meaning only a few laps for Ende. A strong and solid drive amongst this incredible driving field moved him up three positions to finish 16th. The team and guests rooted for their driver to the end and are looking forward to the next race at Long Beach.
Several amazing upcoming TRG events are in the works that include two private track days at The Thermal Club in Southern California (April 6) and Laguna Seca Raceway in beautiful Monterey, California (May 5). Select guests are given the chance to drive their exotics at speed with a professional instructor, sit in the passenger seat in the race cars with a professional driver, or even drive the incredible Aston Martin Vantage cars at speed. These events offer first-timers, aspiring racers and even corporations and corporate clients a chance to experience the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of actually driving the current day racecars in a beautiful and professional setting. Event details and booking info can be found at trg-astonmartinracing.com/events.
Derek DeBoer in the No. 09 BRM/Rebounderz/Racing for Cancer Aston Martin V8 Vantage
“What an absolutely spectacular weekend on all fronts,” stated TRG team owner Kevin Buckler. “This is our third year competing at St. Petersburg. We always love street courses and the excitement that surrounds it, but the town of St. Petersburg and all of our friends and partners in the area help to create what is truly one of the most epic events that we do on the motor sports calendar. The drivers and the race cars at this race are the ‘best of the best’ and my hat is off to all four of our drivers, each of whom who had personal bests throughout the weekend. As a team we will continue to work hard to build and develop a competitive platform for them, giving them the best that TRG has to offer and of course to offer them a true ‘unfair advantage’ when it comes to all of our opportunities provided off the track involving corporate America, personal sponsors, new friends and a program that works. Every night something spectacular was happening with fantastic networking and opportunity for the drivers, sponsor partners and friends, and it always makes me so happy to see everybody truly enjoying themselves and activating around the motorsports platform and creating both personal and business relationships. A big round of thanks to our friends at LaSalle Solutions who are on the cutting edge of the B2B opportunities in our sport, the Pirelli World Challenge Series that continues to evolve into one of the top motorsports series in the world. And of course, none of this could happen without our dear friends Beverly and Carlos Yepes who worked tirelessly to put on not only an amazing week’s worth of activities but to bring such positive spirit and promotion around the event itself and the city of St. Petersburg. We successfully brought everyone together and that is what it’s all about.”