The Racers Group (TRG) returns to Pirelli GT4 Sprint and SprintX East Competition competition this weekend at the challenging Virginia International Raceway (VIR). VIR is a track where TRG has enjoyed immense success over the years and the team is eager to get back to the track this weekend. Drivers Derek DeBoer and Sean Gibbons are partnering for their third season and will be driving the #17 TRG | Passtime GPS | LaSalle Solutions Porsche Cayman GT4 CS MR in the SprintX East races. Both drivers have years of experience in multiple racing series and platforms and the team is excited to support them as TRG continues its SprintX championship campaign. Spencer Pumpelly, no stranger to VIR, will be taking to the track for the Sprint Races in the #66 TRG Porsche Cayman GT4 CS MR ready to defend his #1 spot in the Championship standings.
TRG has a remarkable history at this track in Porsche, Pontiac, and Aston Martin. In 2006, the team finished a historic 1-2 finish in the 2006 Grand-Am VIR 400 with the Pontiac GTO’s. In 2008, the team finished 2nd in GT. In 2010, the team was victorious in GT and again in 2012 in GTC, all with Porsche. In 2014, TRG-AMR won the Continental Tire SportsCar Championship race in their Aston Martin V8 Vantage and in 2015 the team finished 2nd in GTD to take the championship lead for the hotly contested IMSA class. In 2017, the team took home top honors at VIR in PWC GT competition.
Known for its 17-turn road course, elevation changes, tricky and rewarding uphill “esses,” tight turns and 3/4 mile back straight, VIR is a challenging track for even the most seasoned drivers. After a tough outcome last year, that put an early end to their season, DeBoer and Gibbons are looking forward to returning to VIR and earning their spot on the podium.
Derek DeBoer has racing running through his veins. Derek’s grandfather raced in the local dirt car circuit and his father followed, albeit in Top Alcohol dragsters, racing in a straight line. Derek’s racing career began 17 years ago at Laguna Seca in a Formula Dodge. Derek has raced in the competitive Formula Renault open-wheel series and spent several years in the ST class of Grand Am. No stranger to the world of endurance racing, Derek won at the 2015 LeMans Aston Martin Festival race, had his first shot at the Rolex 24 at Daytona the same year, and has raced multiple times in the 25 hours at Thunderhill. He’s also competed in multiple Continental Tire Series races. Derek joined The Racer’s Group in 2013 and has been part of the TRG racing family ever since. He is always a threatening contender in the Pirelli GTS and SprintX categories, finishing 2nd in the championship in 2015 and consistently coming away with strong finishes, podiums, and victories and 2019 looks to be especially promising with two co-drivers and a full season covering the Pirelli GT4 America SprintX East and West races ahead of him.
“VIR is one of those epic tracks that every driver always looks forward to attacking! I head there with excitement and also the challenge of putting (and keeping) last years big wreck behind me… This will be my opening round of the East Coast portion of my schedule, so I’m excited to get back in the car with Sean and go find a spot for our amazing new Porsche Cayman GT4 on the VIR podium!”
Sean Gibbons started racing later in life though he’s always had a strong passion for sports cars along with the focus, drive, and determination it takes to succeed as a driver. Sean graduated from the Skip Barber racing school’s MX-5 cup program and entered his first race in 2012 in the highly competitive PCA Spec Boxster class. He won rookie honors that weekend, finishing second in his first race. Since then Gibbons has put his car on the podium nearly 70 percent of the time and set a number of track records in both the PCA and NASA series. With only 8 professional races, he has been on the top step of the podium twice and a runner up once. In 2019, Sean will once again be teamed up with Derek DeBoer for the Pirelli GT4 America East races in the new, #17, TRG 2019 Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR.
“Last year was my first ever visit to VIR and I absolutely love the track, even after a very tough weekend where I never even got to get in the car on Sunday. I am looking forward to getting back in the #17 Passtime Porsche Cayman GT4 and working with Derek to keep the lead in the GT4 East AM championship!”
The team heads to VIR with Spencer Pumpelly leading in the Sprint championship after a strong victory at Long Beach.
Spencer Pumpelly was introduced to racing at a young age while watching his father contest the IMSA GTP Championship in a Ford Prototype during the late 1980s. In 1995 he enrolled in the Skip Barber Racing School and has since raced in many classes of cars successfully. He is a twenty-three year veteran of professional sports car racing and a two- time class winner in the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the 2016 Continental Sportscar Challenge ST champion. He holds multiple victories in IMSA, World Challenge, and Continental Challenge competition including class victories in six major IMSA endurance races and has appeared in the 24 Hours of Le Mans four times.
Known as one of the most talented drivers in the sportscar racing circuit, Spencer is a highly sought after driver, coach, and race winning strategist. Spencer rejoined TRG in 2018 and is no stranger to success with this team. During his six-year-long relationship with TRG, Pumpelly was a fixture on the podium with four top-three finishes in the Rolex 24, a second-place at the 12 Hours of Sebring in 2011, two 6-hour victories and more than a dozen wins and numerous podiums, across a variety of series including; Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge, Grand-Am, and American Le Mans. He also scored a podium in the NJMP ARCA NASCAR series and in 2011 brought home an epic GT class win (Pumpelly’s second) at the Rolex 24 at Daytona…with no clutch!!!
“I could not be more excited to be headed back to VIR on the heels of our Victory in Long Beach. The layout is like no other. It’s fast, flowing, and the elevation makes for some exciting moments. It is hands down my favorite track in the U.S. and the staff is the best in the business! Hopefully we can extend our points lead with good results this weekend.”
“It’s great to be back at VIR running in both the Sprint and SprintX races,” says TRG CEO, Kevin Buckler. “VIR is one of our favorite road racing circuits in North America. Last year we experienced some challenges and we are coming back for some redemption. We have a fantastic crew here this weekend and 3 awesome drivers so we are ready. We love coming here and we all admire the work that Connie Nyholm and her staff have done to maintain VIR as a premier racing facility in North America. We have an incredible history here over the years and plan on adding to that history this weekend!”
What an amazing racing platform has been created here with Greg Gill and his team from Pirelli GT4 America, and now with the addition of Stéphane Ratel and his world-class SRO racing organization. We have discussed this at length and all agree that GT racing is the way to go and I am so appreciative and supportive of the fantastic racing platform they have given us here in North America, and now globally, with this partnership.
The Pirelli GT4 America SprintX East race weekend at VIR is comprised of two (2) practice sessions, qualifying and two (2) 60-minute races with two drivers.
The Pirelli GT4 America Sprint race weekend at VIR is comprised of two (2) practice sessions, qualifying and two (2) 50-minute races with a single driver.
Source. The Racers Group