PETALUMA, CA – With a massive operation of five Aston Martin V8 Vantages and ten drivers, TRG-AMR was victorious at the Pirelli World Challenge season finale at Laguna Seca. The team has seen decades of success at this track, and the drivers have stood on the top step of PWC podiums all around the country this year. Last weekend, Max Riddle and Kris Wilson took 2nd place in both SprintX GTS races, securing the 2016 Team Championship title for TRG-AMR. Max Riddle won the GTS Driver Championship, followed closely by Kris Wilson, Derek DeBoer, and Jason Alexandridis.
On both Saturday and Sunday, SprintX GTS championship points leaders Riddle and Wilson (in the No. 07 RingCentral/Adobe Road Winery Aston Martin V8 Vantage) went head to head with runners-up Derek DeBoer and Jason Alexandridis (No. 09 LaSalle Solutions/BRM Chronographes/Rebounderz Rohnert Park/Racing for Cancer/Pirata Della Strada/Simon Ward car). The driver pairs often battled against each other in a total of 24 cars, which included TRG-AMR drivers George Kurtz/Kenton Koch, Craig Lyons/Thomas Merrill, and Brandon Davis/Greg Milzcik. The latter pair, in the No. 77 Wolfwood Refuge/That Newfoundland Place car, earned the fastest times in practice and took 5th in both GTS races.
Two of the team’s race cars were involved in unfortunate crashes over the weekend. The No. 7 Stor-It Self Storage/Mobettah Collectible Cars V8 Vantage, raced by Lyons and Merrill, was caught in a Days of Thunder-style wreck in the promoter practice day after colliding into a competitor who was stationary on track, obscured by a cloud of dust. Fortunately, TRG-AMR was prepared with a backup car and was quickly able to prep it for the following day’s sessions and compete in the final two SprintX rounds. The capable driver pair finished 7th in both races.
The hardworking crew deserves extra special recognition for their work on the No. 04 Crowdstrike Vantage. George Kurtz got spun around during Saturday’s SprintX race and was hit hard by the car that followed. The Aston sustained very heavy damage and It looked like his and co-driver Koch’s race weekend was completely over. However, the TRG crew worked late into the night to make the car safe to race for Kurtz’ GTS and SprintX races on Sunday. They pulled it off, and the No. 04 was able to make it to the next morning’s GTS race. However, a few gremlins popped up in the first lap, and the car was returned to the paddock for repairs in advance of the afternoon’s SprintX race. There, Koch took the opening stint and pushed the car to the maximum, achieving the Hard Charger award for surpassing eight competitors.
With four races and several upscale events planned during this season finale weekend, the team invited nearly 100 guests and partners to share the TRG-AMR paddock experience. Team partners RingCentral, LaSalle Solutions, Crowdstrike, and Marchese Investments enjoyed unrestricted access to the hospitality area and pit wall during each race and had unlimited access to this beautiful Monterey track. On Saturday evening, the hospitality crew planned and executed a VIP Adobe Road wine dinner right in the team’s paddock, giving guests a chance to relax and mingle after the day’s races. Greg Gill, President and CEO of the Pirelli World Challenge, addressed TRG-AMR guests and welcomed them to the Laguna Seca race just before the team celebrated George Kurtz’ birthday. LaSalle Solutions’ president Steven Robb wasn’t able to be in California, so his doppelganger, “Little Stevie,” was with the team for the entire race weekend. The finale was a great success for all components of TRG.
“What a truly amazing event, and to cap it off with the championship was fantastic,” said Kevin Buckler, CEO. “This was our last race of the year and it was at one of our favorite locations, Laguna Seca. We had several of our primary partners in attendance entertaining many of their guests and clients, and all of it came off with class and style. My hat really goes off to our amazing team, on both the hospitality and competition side, to be able to pull off what they did – especially with having to repair two complete race cars overnight and still make the grid! The hospitality team took care of nearly 100 guests and VIPs for the weekend. It was awesome watching the dynamic of these important partners, business leaders and influencers all working together to share an enjoyable event, but also discussing ways to grow their businesses through motorsports. Doing business like this in the sportscar paddock is the new model in corporate networking, and we are helping our partners to fulfill their goals. I love it!
“A huge congratulations to all of the drivers, of course. It was the first pro racing weekend for Craig Lyons and the second for Greg Milzcik, and they pulled it off! Craig was laying down some unbelievable lap times, and once again, Greg showed the racing fortitude that he always has, just like when he ran the Le Mans Festival race and was flying down the Mulsanne. Each had great coaches and co-drivers – Thomas Merrill and Brandon Davis – and they put together two good teams here. George Kurtz surprised everyone with his pace (he’s fast!) and he and Kenton were definitely destined for a podium! Derek and Jason fought hard all year and had a real run at the championship right up until the end. They drove strong and hard and smart and were a formidable duo along with Derek’s big win at Road America. Major congratulations to Max for his win in the drivers championship and for Kris Wilson and everybody else’s contribution to our team’s championship title. Max drove like a pro all year, made no mistakes, and deserved this one. This is one of the best groups of people we have had together all season, and I am so looking forward to 2017 with everything going on and some cool new programs coming on board. Thank you to our friends at LaSalle Solutions, RingCentral and Crowdstrike for your partnership throughout the year – we couldn’t have done it without you!”
– GTS: Alexandridis (P9)
– SprintX GTS: Riddle/Wilson (P2), DeBoer/Alexandridis (P4), Milzcik/Davis (P5), Lyons/Merrill (P7), Kurtz/Koch (DNF)
– GTS: Milzcik (P15), Kurtz (DNF), Riddle (DNF), Alexandridis (DNF)
– SprintX GTS: Wilson/Riddle (P2), Davis/Milczik (P5), Alexandridis/DeBoer (P6), Merrill/Lyons (P7), Koch/Kurtz (P11)