On Wednesday, The Racer's Group announced its plans for five cars to run at the Rolex Series' upcoming December winter test and January “Roar before the 24,” and also in the 50th anniversary Rolex 24 at Daytona later in January. Included in the five cars are two new 2012 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars, with three 2011 Porsches scheduled to fill out the fleet.
Testing parts, setups, tires, cars and drivers are all key elements for TRG to address during the two-day test. The team won last year's Rolex 24 in the GT class and has four prior wins in the race, including the 2003 race overall.
Fourteen drivers will be testing next week at Daytona International Speedway. While this isn't the final driver lineup that will be in the team – upward of 20 are likely to fill the five cars (either with four or five drivers, per car) – this should provide a good indication of what's to come, according to TRG team principal Kevin Buckler.
“This test is huge!” said Buckler. “We are five cars strong – all filled with great guys. In this sport, track time is invaluable especially with our upcoming Super Bowl, so to speak, and also having it be the first race of the year. We have a great group of drivers coming down to help us dial in these cars and to be sure we are on top of our game with the 2012 rules and regulations – not to mention testing parts and theories that our engineers have spent countless hours developing this past year. We're really excited to begin to get to our final driver lineup for these five cars. We are very fortunate to have such a deep pool of talent to work with. We hope to make a final driver race announcement in the coming weeks.”
Defending Daytona 24 GT class winners Steve Bertheau and Spencer Pumpelly will once again be teammates as the two hope to build off of their 2011 successes. The pair also shared a GT win at Watkins Glen International in August.
Ben Keating, fresh off of his 2011 Dodge Viper Cup championship, will be back in Daytona for the 24 with TRG for the second straight year. Keating will work alongside GT3 Challenge driver Carlos Gomez who also enjoyed several successes in 2011 season with podiums in Canada and at Mazda Raceway in the IMSA GT3 Cup Series.
Michael Waltrip, team co-owner Rob Kauffman and their co-driver Rui Aguas will join TRG for another test. Kauffman and Aguas most recently drove a Ferrari at Petit Le Mans, and the three shared a Ferrari at last year's 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Venezuelan touring car champion Emilio Di Guida will return to a TRG seat after three late season runs with its ALMS GTC program. Di Guida will be joined by Bob Doyle and Jack McCarthy. The team also adds Dr. Ron Yarab and another GT3 veteran Mike Hedlund to the program.
Returning to the team is Formula 1 racing veteran Eliseo Salazar who will be sharing track time with fellow Chilean drivers Sebastian de Carcer, Eduardo Costabal, and Patricio Bornand.