September 5, 2011 (Los Angeles, CA) â€“ The inaugural running of the ALMS race at the Baltimore Grand Prix was ultimately a hit with the teams, drivers, and thousands of new fans of the series. However, you could understand why Duncan Ende was thrilled to leave after a difficult weekend in which he and co-driver Spencer Pumpelly started and finished sixth in the GT-C class in the no. 66 TRG / Racerâ€™s Roast /STANDD Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
In the opening practice on Friday, Ende was behind the wheel when he made a mistake through the 100 mph turn 12, backing the car into the wall and doing extensive damage to the left rear corner of the car. His TRG crew quickly had the car disassembled but would have to take it to a local body shop for work overnight, meaning Ende and Pumpelly would miss out on qualifying and the Saturday morning warmup. Missing out on valuable track time meant the drivers and teams would be setting up the Porsche based on limited track time.
The opening laps of the two-hour Baltimore Grand Prix, which would be the first laps that the car had turned since Friday practice, were anxious for Ende as he was careful to make sure that the car was working well after the extensive rebuild. While the car was mechanically okay, Ende quickly realized that setup changes were necessary as the car was wickedly loose in several parts of the 2.1 mile course.
â€œI could tell right away that the car was very loose, but it was also way too tight in the hairpins,â€ said Ende. â€œI just drove it as fast as I could to stay on the lead lap and relayed the information to our engineer so he could make changes for Spencer.â€
A full course caution gave the crew of the no. 66 TRG / Racerâ€™s Roast / STANDD.org Porsche the time it needed to execute a pitstop and make the suspension changes to the car. Pumpelly reported that the car was very good and was able to begin passing GT-C cars until a rear wheel came loose, forcing him back to the pits. The unscheduled stop meant he would finish the race in sixth place.
With two races remaining in the ALMS season, Ende and Pumpelly are second in the GT-C class championship, twenty five points behind leader Tim Pappas.Â However, both of the remaining races are endurance races, with extra points available.
â€œWeâ€™re on the back foot, for sure, but thereâ€™s sixteen hours of racing left,â€ said Ende. â€œA lot can happen, but the best thing we can do is drive as fast as possible and win in Laguna Seca and Road Atlanta. Those are also two tracks I really enjoy and tracks that TRG has a long history of success at. Weâ€™re down , but weâ€™re not out!â€
For more about Duncan Ende, visit www.duncanende.com, or follow him on twitter at @duncanende.
To learn more:
Efrain Olivares, (818) 254-7196, firstname.lastname@example.org