Off the heels of their historic first podium finish at this year’s 12 Hours of Sebring, TRG will return for the second round of the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron, fielding two cars at the 37th Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. This will be the team’s second visit to the historic 1.9 mile, 11-turn street circuit, nestled along the shore of downtown Long Beach, California.
Returning to the team will be season-long drivers Spencer Pumpelly and Duncan Ende in the Fox River Coffee / Racer’s Roast no. 66, and fellow season-long driver Dion von Moltke will, for this weekend, be officially joined by NASCAR star Brendan Gaughan in the South African Airways / South Point Hotel & Casino / PRNewswire no. 68.
Pumpelly and Ende head to the second round fresh off of their second place finish at the 12 Hours of Sebring. With a goal of winning the championship, the team has their sites set firmly on their first victory of the season, and what better place to do it than at Ende’s hometown race.
Duncan Ende, living in nearby West Los Angeles, is excited to run at his home track.
“The Long Beach Grand Prix is one of those events you always look forward to and want to be a part of,” stated Ende. “I was lucky enough to compete here several years ago, but this weekend we have a really good chance at a good result. We’re all very excited and it should be a great race.”
Brendan Gaughan and Dion von Moltke will team up together for the first time during Friday morning’s practice, but neither are strangers to TRG, Porsche, or sports car competition. Gaughan, from Las Vegas, will be driving his third race for TRG. While most known for his winning record in the NASCAR ranks, Gaughan is a very respected road racer as well, and was part of TRG’s winning no. 67 team at this year’s Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona, as well as a previous podium finish with the team at Montreal. Young professional Dion von Moltke, driving under the South African flag, is also driving for the ALMS GT-C Championship this year, and has driven in a number of sportscar categories ranging from prototypes to touring cars, and has multiple GRAND-AM victories to his name.
Gaughan is excited to turn right again.
“TRG knows how to put together a winning program, and it’s a true pleasure to be a part of it,” stated Gaughan. “With this organization I was able to step on the top step of the podium with my family at Daytona, and that’s a memory I’ll cherish forever. It’s always fun to come out for some of these road races, and Long Beach is definitely an event I’ve always wanted to be a part of.”
For von Moltke, a chance to race at another one of the world’s great events is an exciting opportunity.
“The Grand Prix of Long Beach is an event that I’ve always wanted to be a part of,” stated von Moltke. “TRG did a great job of providing a competitive car at Sebring, and I think with some better luck we could have had a really good result. Teaming up with Brendan could put us in a good position for this weekend, and I’m anxious to get out on track.”
For Team Owner Kevin Buckler, who grew up in nearby Newport Beach, hopes are high for a top result.
“The Grand Prix of Long Beach was an event I used to sneak in to when I was a kid, so it’s great to be part of the other side of the fence. I think of this race and watching Niki Lauda come screaming down into the Queens hairpin is what really set the hook deep for my love of racing.” stated Buckler. “Duncan and Spencer are coming in with a real shot at the championship, and this event could be a big one for them. It would be really nice to deliver in front of Duncan’s home crowd, and after his performance in Sebring I have no doubt we have a great lineup. Dion and Brendan will be a fantastic lineup and have a real shot here as well, keeping Dion in the championship hunt. Dion showed great pace at Sebring, and with a little better luck he could have really propelled the car to the front. Brendan is a proven winner now with our team after Daytona, and I think between the two they could really turn some heads. There’s extra incentive for the no. 68 because I know we have a lot of guests coming from South African Airways, and I know South Point Hotel & Casino would really like to use Long Beach to promote their facility. This should be a great weekend.”
The ALMS Long Beach Grand Prix will take place on Saturday, April 16, and broadcast live on espn3.com at 7:15PM ET, and broadcast on tape delay the next day, April 17, at 5PM ET on ESPN2.