Team TGM team owner/driver Ted Giovanis says his team’s switch from Mercedes-AMG GT4 machinery to the Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R was the result of a lengthy evolution process, capped off by a head-to-head test at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta last fall.
TGM, which claimed IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge GS class championship in 2018 with Hugh Plumb and Owen Trinkler, has been racing with the German manufacturer with significant success for the last two seasons.
While that success might make a manufacturer change seem surprising, Giovanis said it has only come after months of evaluation.
“It was an evolutionary process, not a revolutionary process,” Giovanis told Sportscar365. “It’s started in October.
“We’re always evaluating platforms, we’re always evaluating opportunities. One of my good friends Will Turner told me years ago that to be competitive you always have to be looking for the flavor of the month.
“What happened was we had an opportunity to drive a Camaro GT4.R. That teed up an evaluation process, and that’s where it started.”
The opportunity to test the Camaro GT4 alongside the team’s existing Mercedes GT4 was facilitated by a relationship with former SRO America team Robinson Racing, which started in 2018 when TGM needed a spare Mercedes chassis following a crash at Watkins Glen.
It just so happened that Robinson was making a transition from Mercedes to Camaros itself, and the Texas-based team was able to help TGM in its hour of need.
That relationship led to a phone call to arrange a test drive late last year.
“We have relationships with a lot of teams and one of them [Robinson Racing] was running Camaros in SRO America. With that, they agreed to loan us a car to start an evaluation of what we wanted,” Giovanis explained.
“Each of our drivers, we all are similar in terms of what we like in cars and driving styles, so there was an opportunity in October to test this car at Road Atlanta.
“We had our Mercedes-AMG GT4s there as well. On that occasion, Matt Plumb, Hugh Plumb and Trinkler were able to drive each of the cars and evaluate.
“They got all these inputs, then in November I was able to test the car too, and after that we decided to make the switch.
“We evaluated things like how various cars accommodate personal driving style, ingress and egress of the car, things like that.
“So while it may have seemed like a surprise from the outside, it really was a deliberative process.”