“Duncan Ende drove possibly the most impressive stint of his career….”
October 30, 2008 – Petaluma, CA- With a victory, multiple podium results and two Porsche 997s in the top-10 in the final season standings, the 2008 Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series season was tremendously successful for TRG.
On the strength of outstanding effort from drivers Duncan Ende, Scott Schroeder, Peter Ludwig, Spencer Pumpelly and Andy Lally, both of the team’s full-time entries finished inside the top-10 in the final Grand Sport (GS) team standings, which included a total of 57 cars in the 2008 KONI Challenge Season.
The No. 41 Carlsen Porsche/Cohen Financial/Wolf-Tec Inc./www.WTInc.com/Ludwig-Motorsports Porsche 997 was driven in all 10 KONI Challenge events by Schroeder with rotating co-drivers Ludwig and Lally. The No. 41 team finished ninth in the team standings on the strength of four top-10 finishes, including a dominating victory at Iowa Speedway in August and a podium result at the season finale at Virginia International Raceway earlier this month.
The No. 39 Carlsen Porsche/The DigiTrust Group/Adam’s Polishes/Fox River Coffee Porsche 997, which was co-driven on a full-time basis by Ende and Pumpelly, finished 10th in the season standings. The performance was particularly impressive considering that the car was damaged in practice for the fourth round of the season at Watkins Glen, forcing Ende and Pumpelly to campaign the TRG No. 40 Porsche for the remainder of that weekend, scoring no points for the No. 39 car. Ende and Pumpelly claimed four top-10 results, topped by second place finishes at Lime Rock Park and Miller Motorsports Park.
Ende was the highest-ranked of the full-time TRG drivers in the final GS driver standings, placing 12th in the championship. Pumpelly was 16th in the final standings, with Schroeder 17th and Ludwig 25th.
“In just its second year of full-time competition in the KONI Challenge Series, I feel that TRG has established itself as one of the top teams in the series,” said TRG owner Kevin Buckler. “We have persevered through all of the usual development issues and I am extremely proud of the team’s effort throughout the year. All of the drivers did a phenomenal job all season and really stepped it up a notch. The KONI Challenge team is a very important part of our overall program and this team is now ready to run for a championship in 2009.”
Round 1 – Daytona International Speedway
January 25, 2008
After starting last in a 42-car field, No. 41 Cohen Financial Porsche 997 co-drivers Scott Schroeder and Andy Lally charged through the field to finish eighth and lead the TRG effort in the 2008 Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series season-opening Fresh From Florida 200 at Daytona International Speedway.
Schroeder started last in the GS class field after missing qualifying for an engine change that was prompted by an engine management problem in the first practice session of the weekend. He made up the bulk of the positions for the team during his stint, working all the way to 10th place before pitting just after the one-hour mark. Lally continued the No. 41 team’s forward progress to bring the No. 41 Porsche home with a top-10 result.
The No. 39 The DigiTrust Group Porsche 997 of co-drivers Duncan Ende and Spencer Pumpelly started 10th after an impressive qualifying effort. Ende drove a clean and competitive first stint that included a brief appearance in the top five before pitting in seventh position to turn the car over to Pumpelly, who momentarily claimed the lead inside the final 20 minutes of the race before engine management issues forced the No. 39 machine out of the race.
Round 2 – Lime Rock Park
May 26, 2008
TRG drivers Duncan Ende and Spencer Pumpelly earned their first podium finish of the 2008 Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series season by finishing second in the GS race at Lime Rock Park.
Ende started 13th in the No. 39 DigiTrust Group/Adam’s Polishes/Fox River Coffee/Sherab-Khandro.com Porsche 997 and had the No. 39 machine in the top-10 before handing it over to co-driver Pumpelly under a green flag pit stop. Pumpelly rejoined the race in 22nd and sliced his way through the field to finish second.
Piloting the No. 41 Cohen Financial/Wolf-Tec Inc./www.WTInc.com/Ludwig-Motorsports Porsche 997, Peter Ludwig started seventh in his first appearance with the TRG and ran inside the top five for the majority of his driving stint before turning the car over to co-driver Scott Schroeder, who likely would have brought the No. 41 Porsche home inside the top five had it not been for wheel problems that relegated the driving duo to 16th in the final race standings.
Round 3 – Mosport International Raceway
June 14, 2008
The first voyage north of the border for the 2008 Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series produced top-15 results for both of TRG’s Porsches at Mosport International Raceway. No. 39 The DigiTrust Group/Adam’s Polishes/Fox River Coffee/Sherab-Khandro.com Porsche 997 co-drivers Duncan Ende and Spencer Pumpelly came home sixth, with the No. 41 Cohen Financial/Wolf-Tec Inc./www.WTInc.com/Ludwig-Motorsports/Pillers Porsche 997 co-drivers Scott Schroeder and Peter Ludwig finishing 12th.
Another impressive qualifying performance by Ende had him start the No. 39 Porsche from 10th on the grid. During the race, Ende did an excellent job keeping the No. 39 up front, and in position to finish with another top-10 result. After the mandatory driver change, Pumpelly rejoined the race in 15th place and fought his way up to sixth.
Ludwig placed the No. 41 Porsche 19th on the starting grid and moved up to 16th before turning the controls over to Schroeder, who battled the likes of sports car veterans Bill Auberlen and Andrew Davis before finishing 12th.
Round 4 – Watkins Glen International
July 5, 2008
For the third consecutive race in the 2008 Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series, teammates Duncan Ende and Spencer Pumpelly brought home a top-10 result, this time with a seventh-place performance at Watkins Glen International. Meanwhile, Peter Ludwig and Scott Schroeder came home 24th from the two-and-a-half hour event in the No. 41 Cohen Financial/Wolf-Tec Inc./www.WTInc.com/Ludwig-Motorsports Porsche 997 due to an accident.
The result for Ende and Pumpelly was not without adventure. The duo was forced to switch from the team’s No. 39 machine to the No. 40 The DigiTrust Group/Adam’s Polishes/Fox River Coffee/Sherab-Khandro.com Porsche 997 when the No. 39 was damaged in a crash during Thursday’s test day at The Glen.
Ende placed the No. 40 machine 16th on the starting grid and drove a clean opening stint before turning the car over to Pumpelly for the finish. Pumpelly gained several positions on course and was in position for a top-five result before a flat tire on the final lap relegated him to seventh at the finish.
While they had a comparatively easier time through the early portion of the weekend at Watkins Glen, Schroeder and Ludwig had misfortune at the most inopportune time, during the race itself. Ludwig started the No. 41 Porsche from 14th on the grid and quickly worked his way forward into the top five before turning the car over to Schroeder.
Schroeder was working his way back toward the front of the field when he was hit by another GS car. The incident forced Schroeder to also make contact with a Street Tuner (ST) class car and when all was said and done, Schroeder was left with two flat tires. As a result, the No. 41 teammates came home one lap down in 24th place. The result ended a three-race streak in which the No. 41 team finished inside the top-16 spots.
Round 5 – Barber Motorsports Park
July 20, 2008
TRG drivers Peter Ludwig and Scott Schroeder finished ninth in Round 6 of the 2008 Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series at Barber Motorsports Park,
as part of the Porsche 250 presented by Bradley Arant weekend, while Duncan Ende and Spencer Pumpelly finished 13th.
Ludwig started the race from the inside of Row 9 in the No. 41 Carlsen Porsche/Cohen Financial/Wolf-Tec Inc./www.WTInc.com/Ludwig-Motorsports Porsche 997. Early in the stint, Ludwig made an unscheduled pit stop to change a flat tire, which was the result of contact with another car. Undaunted by the early setback, Ludwig continued to push and had the car as high as ninth when he came to pit lane for his final green flag pit stop. On Lap 44, Ludwig brought the No. 41 machine to pit lane for four new Hoosier tires, a load of fuel, and put Schroeder in the car.
After the green flag pit stops cycled through, Schroeder started his 45-lap stint in 16th. Throughout his stint, he continued to turn consistently fast laps on pace with the race leaders, and this helped him climb through the field to finish ninth. Ludwig and Schroeder had the top finishing Porsche in the race.
Ende started 13th in the No. 39 Carlsen Porsche/The DigiTrust Group/Adam’s Polishes/Fox River Coffee Porsche 997. Throughout his 44-lap stint, Ende fought some power issues, but still managed to have the car up to seventh when he made his green flag pit stop. On Lap 44, Ende made his final stop and turned the No. 39 Porsche over to Pumpelly. On pit lane, Pumpelly had difficulty re-firing the car and when he finally returned to the track he had dropped to 20th. Determined to make up the lost track position, Pumpelly fought his way past seven cars and finished 13th.
Round 6 – Iowa Speedway
August 10, 2008
It was a dream race day at Iowa Speedway for TRG and No. 41 Carlsen Porsche/Cohen Financial Porsche 997 co-drivers Scott Schroeder and Andy Lally. Schroeder opened the day with his first career Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series pole position and left the track later that evening with his first victory trophy as he and Lally combined to win the Casey’s General Stores Race.
Schroeder, who broke the KONI Challenge track record in qualifying with a lap at 49.302 seconds (94.925 mph), took full advantage of his pole position and led the first 49 laps of the race before pitting to turn the car over to Lally. The three-time Grand-Am Rolex Series champion would lead three different times for 61 laps and came out on top in a battle with his TRG Rolex Series teammate Craig Stanton and sports car ace Bill Auberlen to bring TRG its second victory in KONI Challenge competition.
While the No. 41 teammates celebrated in Victory Circle, it was a tough day for No. 39 Carlsen Porsche/The DigiTrust Group/Adam’s Polishes/Fox River Coffee Porsche 997 co-drivers Duncan Ende and Spencer Pumpelly. The No. 39 machine made it just 35 laps in the race before being forced to retire due to power steering problems. The car was classified 17th in the final race standings.
Round 7 – Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres
August 17, 2008
The No. 39 Carlsen Porsche/The DigiTrust Group/Adam’s Polishes/Fox River Coffee Porsche 997 with Duncan Ende and Spencer Pumpelly ran the fastest lap of the Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres, but that was the highlight of a disappointing race in Canada for TRG.
Ende led TRG’s effort in qualifying by putting the No. 41 machine eighth on the grid. Peter Ludwig qualified 15th in the No. 41 Carlsen Porsche/Cohen Financial/Wolf-Tec Inc./www.WTInc.com/Ludwig Motorsports Porsche 997 he shared with Scott Schroeder.
Despite impressive laps times, Pumpelly and Ende battled brake issues throughout the race. After taking the controls over from Ende, Pumpelly lined up eighth for a late-race restart and seemed poised to make one last dash toward the front before he was bitten again by brake problems, which forced him into the barrier and out of the race. Ende and Pumpelly were credited with 14th place in the final race results.
Ludwig and Schroeder were saddled with shift linkage problems in the No. 41 Porsche, which dropped them well down the order as the team worked feverishly to correct the problem. He and Ludwig were credited with 19th place.
Round 8 – New Jersey Motorsports Park
August 31, 2008
In the first Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series race of his career, rookie Bryan Silas combined with Bryan Sellers to lead a three-car entry from TRG with a 14th-place run in the No. 40 Carlsen Porsche/TRG Porsche 997 at New Jersey Motorsports Park’s Thunderbolt Raceway.
After starting sixth in the No. 39 Carlsen Porsche/The DigiTrust Group/Adam’s Polishes/Fox River Coffee Porsche 997, Duncan Ende quickly moved into the top five and ran as high as fourth before pitting to turn the car over to co-driver Spencer Pumpelly just past the one-hour mark in the two-and-a-half hour race.
At the same time, Peter Ludwig-who started seventh-pulled the No. 41 Carlsen Porsche/Cohen Financial/Wolf-Tec Inc./www.WTInc.com/Ludwig-Motorsports Porsche 997 onto pit road from 12th place to hand over the controls to co-driver Scott Schroeder. Both the No. 39 and No. 41 machines were seemingly in position for great results until disaster struck on the ensuing restart. The No. 39 Porsche was credited with a 21st-place result, with the No. 41 one spot behind in 22nd.
Round 9 – Miller Motorsports Park
September 21, 2008
In the course of the two-and-a-half hour Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series race at Miller Motorsports Park, the two-car TRG Porsche team experienced the highest highs and the lowest lows and finished the day celebrating on the podium with a second-place finish.
No. 39 Carlsen Porsche/The DigiTrust Group/Adam’s Polishes/Fox River Coffee Porsche 997 co-drivers Duncan Ende and Spencer Pumpelly battled all the way from the back of the field to score a hard-earned podium result. Meanwhile, the No. 41 Carlsen Porsche/Cohen Financial Porsche 997 co-drivers Andy Lally and Scott Schroeder missed out on what would have likely been their second victory of the season due to a mechanical failure.
Schroeder and Ende both turned in stellar qualifying performances on Saturday, with Schroeder taking second on the grid for his second front-row qualifying performance of the season and Ende slotting in just behind Schroeder in third. Just as the green flag dropped on the race, however, the day’s first dramatic moment unfolded as Ende brought the No. 39 machine to pit lane to replace the fan belt.
Miraculously, Ende managed to get back on course without losing a lap, although he rejoined the race in last place on a 4.5-mile road circuit where full-course cautions are somewhat rare. Nevertheless, Ende took up the challenge and fought all the way back up into the top 10 before pitting to turn the car over to Pumpelly.
Pumpelly picked up where Ende left off, although he was still a good distance behind the race-leading No. 41 machine with Lally at the wheel. The No. 39 team got just the break it needed when the double yellows flew for the second and final time with less than 10 laps remaining. The caution period allowed Pumpelly to line up in fourth place, directly behind the lead group of cars for a restart with five laps to go. He brought the No. 39 home in second place, a result made all the more impressive considering the No. 39 started the race dead last.
In the No. 41 Porsche, Schroeder held his second-place position for the first seven laps of the race before taking the lead on Lap 8. He would go on to lead a race-high 15 laps before pulling onto pit road for Lally’s stint. Once the pit stop cycle was complete, Lally put the No. 41 machine back at the head of the field and led seven laps of his own.
However, just as the No. 39 team began to celebrate its opportunity to close the gap to the leaders with the second full-course caution, disaster struck the No. 41 team as an engine failure cruelly ended the race for Lally and Schroeder with less than 30 minutes remaining. The No. 41 team was credited with 26th place in the GS class, but for most of the race, it appeared that Lally and Schroeder would be celebrating in Victory Circle.
Round 10 – Virginia International Raceway
October 5, 2008
TRG’s two car Grand-Am KONI Challenge team finished the 2008 season in strong fashion at Virginia International Raceway. The trio of Peter Ludwig, Scott Schroeder and Andy Lally finished third in the No. 41 TRG/Carlsen Porsche/Cohen Financial Porsche 997. In the No. 39 TRG/Carlsen Porsche/The DigiTrust Group entry Duncan Ende and Spencer Pumpelly finished a close fourth putting both TRG Porsches in the top five to close out the season.
The two silver Porsches ran toward the front in each practice session over the weekend. In qualifying Scott Schroeder put the No. 41 on the sixth row, in 11th place. Spencer Pumpelly drove the 39 to a front row starting position to come to the green flag in second.
As the six hour race played out, Lally, in the Carlsen/Cohen Financial Porsche 997 was able to lead a handful of laps. The car ran flawlessly for the entire race proving, once again, that the TRG Porsches are front-runners with the trio of Lally, Schroeder and Ludwig coming home in third.
The No. 39 TRG/Carlsen Porsche/The DigiTrust Group entry had to lean on the crew for some mid race repairs. The car was forced onto the curb and half of the exhaust system had to be replaced. The TRG pit crew went to work and made the repairs without losing a lap. As the race wore on, front row starter Pumpelly was able to put together a final 10-lap run to the front finishing in fourth. Duncan Ende drove possibly the most impressive stint of his career and was a big part in giving TRG the top two finishing Porsches of the race.