One of the longest-running and most successful teams in North American sports car racing has expanded into the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo North America series, with TRG having made its debut in the world’s fastest single-make series earlier this month at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
The Kevin Buckler-owned squad fielded a Lamborghini Huracán LP 620-2 Super Trofeo car for James Davison and Derek DeBoer, who teamed for a podium finish in the Pro-Am class in Round 2 at the famed California circuit.
With plans in place to expand to a two-car effort beginning with next month’s Super Trofeo round at Watkins Glen, Sportscar365 caught up with Buckler to get his thoughts on the series and the team’s long-term future and strategy.
What was the motivation for expanding into Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo North America?
“I needed to keep true to where we started. TRG was the overarching company always.
“Although we love our Aston Martin program, and we’ve gone deep and hard into that program for three and a half years, the company has always been representative of multiple brands and we need to take advantage of it.
“[Lamborghini] has done a great job. Look at the paddock; it’s beautiful. They’re very supportive of the teams, the cars are fantastic to drive, and I think we’ll have a vibrant program here shortly.
“We’re ramping up to a two-car program for Watkins Glen, and hopefully more. We have another car on the trailer right now.
“I like seeing a brand like this come in and support. I’ve watched them from afar for, in what’s now their fourth season. And I’ve gotta give them credit. They have the big momma ship behind them that gets to push. It’s good to be a part of that.”
Have you seen that kind of support from other manufacturers before in terms of promotion of a single-make series or do you feel Super Trofeo is special in its own right?
“Porsche is it’s own animal because they’ve had that machine that’s been working so well. So you take them off the tree, and you see what a great job Ferrari does with their Challenge series, and this is a little variant of that.
“But since [Lamborghini] is trying to push towards also a GT3 program at the same time and encouraging other teams to be there, the answer is probably no, I haven’t seen it. And I like it.
“As a team owner, we like seeing that kind of support from a manufacturer and a brand. And of course, I’m always thinking of the business side. What do we need to do to win on Sunday and sell on Monday? I don’t think many of the teams think or care about that.
“For us, if we can connect what we do on the race track back to the brand, back to the dealerships, back to sell cars, then I think we’re a valuable ally, and of course our company is pretty good at doing that.”
How was it to have to have James Davison back at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, after nearly a year away from the team?
“He was always strong, that was never an issue. He’s got such good feedback on the car, good teammate with Derek [DeBoer]
“Derek’s awesome and he’s been at the highest level of other sports that he’s been involved with so he’s really taken a measured approach into his driving.”
What will the lineup look like at Watkins Glen?
“My friend, Steve Parmee, who owns one of the cars, might be able to make it. He’s a partner of mine and actually got me going on this program. He’s got some personal issues he’s dealing with right now.
“He’s been training hard and is a very successful businessman and wants to come racing with us. Then I’ve got my guys with this car that if we can do another deal with James and Derek, we’ll try!
“They’re great. Both of them are great guys and I love working with them.”
Where do you see the future of TRG evolving to next year. Are you looking to ultimately focus on a single brand?
“I got a couple of really cool opportunities right now that I’m taking a look at. If we put the power of what we do behind one brand, one program, that’s integrated, we’d be unstoppable.
“No one really does what we do. Whether that be Aston, Lamborghini or somebody else, I think that sports car racing is hot and we have this team that runs from on track to off track.
“We have people who are doing stuff all the time with corporate events and sponsorship, getting it all pieced together on one focused program would be the goal… around a manufacturer and a brand that would be supportive.”