Grand-Am: Buckler pleased despite Porker power.
CRASH EXTRA NEWS
CRASH EXTRA NEWS
After splitting his 2005 Grand Am Rolex Series efforts between the GT class and the Daytona Prototype category in conjunction with Tracy Krohn, The Racers Group owner Kevin Buckler is focusing solely on GT's this year and is hungry to re-capture Daytona 24 Hour glory.
The former overall winners of the twice round the clock classic will be pinning their 2006 hopes on a pair of the new and improving Pontiac GTO's and a quartet of trusty Porsches and while the Pontiac's have the better driver line-ups, the January 26th-29th event will be their first competitive 24 hour test.
The two Pontiac's will be piloted by Paul Edwards, Kelly Collins, Jan Magnussen and Andy Pilgrim in the #64 entry and Andy Lally, Marc Bunting, R.J. Valentine and Johnny O'Connell in the #65 sister car.
Although the Pontiac's were kept off top spot in testing by a trio of the latest Porsche 997's, the team are happy that their race pace is good enough to keep them in contention.
“I think we're in good shape for the race,” said Magnussen, whose car finished fourth on the final timesheets, one place above the second GTO. “The car's got good speed, and it's real easy to drive.”
The best of the TRG Porsche's is undoubtedly the #66 997 crewed by Stephane Ortelli, Cyril Sauvage, Robert Nearn and Steve Johnson, a car that finished the three day test tenth fastest in GT.
“We're all over the board, with a couple of new guys, a couple of good old friends and a couple pros,” said Buckler, who captured Rolex 24 GT honours in 2002 and won the event overall the following year. “The GTOs are running fantastic. We're really down on our straightaway speed compared to the Porsches, our car just doesn't have enough grunt. But it's good on the infield. It's all going to come down to being a good, reliable package, like it always does here. Enjoying success at the Rolex 24 means staying out of trouble.”