Saturday, Oct 25, 2014
Local Sports

TRG-AMR seeks elusive win in 12 Hours


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SEBRING - TRG-AMR has a collection of trophies from the most prestigious endurance races that is envied by rivals throughout the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.

The team has won the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The Rolex 24 At Daytona, four times. Petit Le Mans. The Six Hours of Watkins Glen.

You name the endurance classic, and owner Kevin Buckler's team from Petaluma, Calif., has won it - except for one event: The Twelve Hours of Sebring. The team's best finish in the once-around-the-clock classic in central Florida is second in 2011.

TRG-AMR enters this year's Twelve Hours of Sebring motivated to earn a finish that accurately mirrors the true performance of the No. 007 and No. 009 Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 and also rounds out its trophy case with its one missing crown jewel of North American sports car racing.

David Block, Al Carter and James Davison once again will share driving duties in the No. 007 V12 Vantage GT3, with Max Riddle, Kris Wilson and Brandon Davis on the No. 009 V12 Vantage GT3. This strong lineup will contend for victory in a striking new livery reflecting a partnership for this event with Bayshore Capital Inc. to promote ownership opportunities at the proposed Residences at the Hard Rock Hotel Daytona Beach.

"It would mean everything to get this win," Block said. "I would not only love to get a victory for me as a driver, but it would be fantastic to deliver the one win TRG has not had - for them with my co-drivers and for the entire crew."

The 12-hour race starts at 10:15 a.m. Saturday on the 17-turn, 3.74-mile Sebring circuit. FOX Sports 1 will provide live television coverage from 10 a.m.-1 p.m., with the remainder of the race streamed live on IMSA.com.

TRG-AMR's No. 007 finished 22nd and the No. 009 placed 26th at the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 25-26 at Daytona International Speedway, but that result deceived.

Davison was one of the quickest drivers in the GT Daytona class and drove the team to the lead around the midway point of the 24-hour race before a penalty and a broken radiator caused by hitting another car's debris dropped the car down the running order.

"Sebring can't come soon enough for the No. 007 TRG-Aston Martin Racing team," Davison said. "Daytona was a great performance for us but a disappointing result in the end."

The team made good strides during testing Feb. 20-21 at Sebring to find smooth suspension setups and proper chassis balance for the notoriously bumpy circuit, which features a challenging, rugged blend of corners and surface changes between asphalt and concrete.

The No. 007 was consistently among the top five on the speed charts throughout the test and ended up less than a second off the leading pace for the class.

"Sebring is such a unique place," said Carter, who made his Sebring debut with TRG-AMR in 2013. "I love it and I hate it for all the same reasons. It's tough. It's bumpy. It's technical. It's hard. It's challenging. We learned (at the test) that our car did everything OK. It handled adjustments. It handled the bumps. We can make it into a competitive race car."

Riddle, Wilson and Davis were named to drive the No. 009 early during race week. But Riddle and Davis were part of the two-car team of drivers for TRG-AMR at the Rolex 24, and veteran Wilson and Riddle are full-time drivers for the team in its V8 Vantage GT4 in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge.

"I've always really, really wanted to do the event, especially after doing the Rolex 24," Riddle said. "The GTD Aston is just such a cool experience. The opportunity came up pretty late, but I can't wait.

"Since the Aston is such a well-balanced race car, it handles great, I think that will really suit this track. The guys at TRG will make sure the car will be handling as well as it can, and I think we'll do well."

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