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TGM Entering GTD Pro to Have “More Flexibility” on Drive Time

Ted Giovanis explains decision to enter GTD Pro ranks in Rolex 24 at Daytona…

Photo: John Dagys

Team TGM is entering the GTD Pro class in the Rolex 24 at Daytona to have “more flexibility” with the drive-time of Bronze-rated drivers Ted Giovanis and Hugh Plumb.

The Braselton, Ga.-based team is fielding an Aston Martin Vantage GT3 in conjunction with TF Sport in the higher of the two production-based categories after previously racing in GTD.

GTD Pro permits all Platinum-rated factory driver lineups but the TGM quartet of Giovanis, Plumb, Owen Trinkler is a Bronze-Bronze-Silver-Silver combination.

The sporting regulations for the Rolex 24 state that GTD drivers must complete a minimum of four and a half hours behind the wheel, however GTD Pro drivers only need to do two hours.

Even if Giovanis and Hugh Plumb only drive for two hours each, both Trinkler and Matt Plumb could feasibly complete the rest of the race within the 13-hour maximum seat time, factoring in the limit of doing no more than four hours in a six-hour period.

“It gives us more strategic advantage in terms of drive time,” Giovanis told Sportscar365.

“It’s less than regular GTD and it offers us more flexibility. I’ll probably drive as much as I do over there [in GTD] but we’ll see.

“They’ve got two new platforms in the Ferrari and the Porsche, and so maybe they have issues.

“Whereas the Aston Martin is a [known] platform. It’s not going to falter because of new parts and technologies. It could only fault because of something else.”

TGM is embarking on its first race with Aston Martin next weekend, after switching its Rolex 24 and IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge programs over from Porsche.

The team has loaned a car from TF Sport for its debut with the Vantage GT3, while it owns all three of the Vantage GT4s in its support series stable.

“We drove here at the December test and also [tested] the GT4s,” Giovanis said. “As I understand it, the lineage of the platform is that the GT3 [and GT4] car came from the GTE car. It wasn’t another platform.

“These cars are somewhat similar and I can tell you my personal opinion is the GT3 car is a little bit stiffer, just over the bumps coming out of Turn 1 and 2.

“It’s a little more rumbly, but that’s because the spring rates are higher. That’s my impression.”

Giovanis added that he enjoyed his first taste of the Vantage platform and is looking forward to receiving assistance from TF Sport, which won last year’s FIA World Endurance Championship GTE-Am title and won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in class.

“TF is a pretty cool group, when you look at what they’re doing,” Giovanis said. “We’re very fortunate that Aston Martin hit us up with them.”

A total of nine cars are entered into the GTD Pro class at Daytona. The No. 95 Turner Motorsport BMW M4 GT3 is also there despite being shown as a GTD car on the latest entry list.

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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