PETALUMA,Calif. (December 29,2006) — Last week, TRG announced that Southern California driver Duncan Ende will contest the entire 2007 KONI Challenge Series in a Porsche 997 Carrera. Ende, 21, from Los Angeles, will team with former Red Bull Driver Search finalist Grant Maiman for the entire season.
Ende has made steady progress through the amateur racing ranks, winning multiple times in Skip Barber Formula Dodge in 2005-06, and in IMSA Lites and Formula Atlantic in 2006. Now, he will have to adapt his driving style to pilot sports cars – quite the change from light, nimble formula cars.
“I think the hardest thing I’ll have to learn is how to manage an endurance race – even the shortest sports car races are at least twice as long as a standard sprint race,” Duncan said. “There’s a whole new dimension of racing strategy as the races stretch past 30-45 minutes also. It’ll be a challenge to learn to manage the car, manage tires, and listen closely to what the engineers and strategists tell me over the radio.”
“I’m excited to drive with Grant as well – he’s got a lot to teach, so I’m going to just act like a sponge and try to apply as much knowledge as I can. Same thing goes for the whole TRG team – they’re one of the top GT teams in North America, and I’m looking forward to working with them to develop my skills as a professional racer.”
Ende will also have to deal with increased competition on the track, both in terms of quantity and quality. Most KONI Challenge races feature in excess of 60 cars, split among two classes, and many top Grand-Am Rolex Series Daytona Prototype and GT drivers run in the series as well.
“We’re ecstatic to have Duncan on board with us for our inaugural KONI Challenge season,” said TRG owner Kevin Buckler. “He’s demonstrated a great deal of raw speed and poise in the Barber Dodge and IMSA Lites Series, and I think he’ll make a great sports car driver. We’re going to be focusing much of our KONI Challenge program on developing Duncan’s skills, and so far, he’s soaking up everything we’re throwing at him. We’re all focused on getting to the first race in Daytona, and we expect great things.”
The 2007 KONI Challenge consists of 12 races, spread far and wide across the United State and Canada. The full schedule can be viewed at http://www.theracersgroup.com/racing/koni. The 2007 KONI Challenge opens for practice at Daytona International Speedway on January 4-7. The first race of the season will be held at Daytona on January 26, 2007.
TRG is a manufacturer and distributor of high-performance automotive parts, and engine and chassis building and tuning facility, a full-service race-car preparation facility and a professional race team. The company also provides electrical and mechanical engineering services, driver development and arrive-and-drive services. TRG is based in Petaluma, Calif., near its home track of Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. More information is at www.theracersgroup.com.