After a delayed start to their new campaign this year, TRG is full throttle ahead on its 2014 program in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
According to TRG-AMR North America team owner Kevin Buckler, plans are being put into place for a two-car Aston Martin Vantage GT3 effort in GT Daytona next year, while also a full-season assault on the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge.
Buckler said he already has a pair of drivers signed for the first GTD entry and is 80 percent confident of having a second V12-powered beast on the grid for the full TUDOR Championship.
An effort in GT Le Mans, utilizing Aston Martin’s V8 Vantage, appears unlikely at this stage due to costs.
“At the minimum, we’re looking to run two house cars for GTD,” Buckler told Sportscar365. “A GT Le Mans car is still going to be a stretch for us with the costs involved. It’s really such a manufacturer-driven series.
“Audi sells more cars in a week that Aston sells in a year. So there’s just not the manufacturer support on our side to be counting on anything that way. It has to be self-funded and it’s just expensive.
“I’m really happy with the GTD formula because it’s Pro-Am and drivers contribute [financially] and we try to backfill with some sponsorship.”
The California-based team debuted its new Vantage at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca last month and also took part in the GRAND-AM season finale at Lime Rock. It came after months of delays, primarily due to the build and development of the car to Rolex Series regulations.
“The two races we did were exploratory missions,” Buckler said. “Obviously the BoP test coming up in November is going to be critical. We’re still off on the straight line speed but I’m hearing that will be corrected.
“Once the car is solid and the series is happy with the rules, that car will be capable of sitting on the front row at Daytona, which is what it does in every other part of the world. It’s obviously a very competitive platform.”
While yet to place the order, Buckler said their second GTD car may be delivered in FIA GT3 specification, complete with the standard Cosworth electronics, as well as traction control and ABS.
It’s expected the GTD regulations will allow more freedom in the rules, although aero modifications and the disabling of the driver aids seem likely at this stage.
There are other potential customers for the GT3 and GT4-based Astons, according to Buckler.
“We have a multitude of people that are either testing with us or coming out to visit us in the next four weeks that are looking at programs for themselves,” he said. “One is a GTD program and two of them are Conti programs.”
Buckler expects to have at least one Aston GT3 at the Sebring and Daytona tests in November, with the possibility of an additional leased Vantage V12 for development purposes.
The schedule for TRG’s one-make Aston Martin GT4 series, meanwhile, is expected to be released this week.