Petaluma, CA-Duncan Ende and Spencer Pumpelly will be returning to the Grand-Am KONI Sports Car Challenge Series for the 2009 season. The duo will once again race the No. 39 TRG Carlsen Porsche/TheDigiTrust Group Porsche 997 GS entry.
The 11-race season will kick-off at Daytona International Speedway on January 23, with a three day test planned January 3-5. The ’08 season was highlighted by the duo leading several laps as well as posting several fastest race laps resulting in second place finishes at Lime Rock and Miller Motorsports Park.
Ende is looking forward to the KONI season as well as a lot more success with teammate Pumpelly.
“Our goal for the 2009 season is the same as it was for 2008, to compete at the front of the pack each weekend and win the championship,” Ende said. “The number one thing we had to overcome last season was the lack of reliability we were dealing with. I think we’ve come a long way in that department. I think we just need to drive our race and get a little bit of luck. We finished second at Lime Rock last year despite being hit hard by another car and needing an extra pit stop to replace a bad wheel. In Utah we finished second again after I needed to stop before the drop of the green flag to replace a belt on the engine and then we worked our way up through a 60+ car field. We definitely would have had a shot at winning either of those races if things had gone a bit more smoothly. Spencer and I like our car setup pretty much the same way, which is a nice start. Besides that, Spencer is one of the quickest guys in the field, so I can just focus on keeping the car clean and in a respectable position throughout the opening stint.”
Pumpelly shares Ende’s thirst for wins and a shot at the KONI GS championship. “We are going into the season with the thought of winning the GS title,” Pumpelly said. “To do that we need to keep doing the things we did well in 2008 and we should be able to take some wins. A lot of things last year came down to bad racing luck and that is not something we can change, but if TRG remains as strong as the team was last year we should have more good chances. Duncan and I both bring a strong focus to the track and we both have the same championship goal.”
“Duncan and Spencer showed a lot speed in 2008,” Kevin Buckler, TRG team owner said. “Duncan qualified and raced that car upfront consistently all season and really showed his true potential as a front running professional driver. They finished second twice and had top 10 finishes at Mosport, Watkins Glen and VIR. They also led a lot of laps. The TRG crew has had a very busy off season working on the Porsche 997s making many improvements on the speed, engine management, and reliability and handling fronts. We are running for a championship this year. We are looking forward to getting these guys in the winner’s circle right off the bat at Daytona and being a threat to win every weekend.”
Grand-Am KONI Sports Car Challenge 2009 Schedule
Daytona International Speedway January 2- 5- test
Daytona International Speedway January 22-23
Homestead Miami Speedway March 13-15
Thunderbolt Raceway May 1-2
Laguna Seca May 15-16
Lime Rock Park May 22-25
Watkins Glen June 4-5
Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course June 19-21
Barber Motorsports Park July 17-18
Trois-Rivieres August 14- 6
Miller Motorsport Park September 18-20
Virginia International Raceway October 2-4
TRG was founded in 1993 and has been competing at the top level of motor racing ever since. The team has the most wins of any team in the Grand-Am Rolex Series with 25, including the 2005 and 2006 Rolex Series GT championship trophy to go along with wins at the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. TRG’s young KONI Challenge team has logged two wins and recorded seven podium finishes in their first two seasons of competition.