The TRG-run Pontiac GTO.R team is still coming down to earth after its first win in the Grand-Am Rolex Series GT category, but will have feet firmly back on the ground in time to seek a second straight success at this weekend's EMCO Gears Mid-Ohio Road Racing Classic.

Confidence is particularly high as the 2.2-mile Mid-Ohio circuit was a key part of the development schedule for the team's two GTO.R.

"We had the opportunity to test there in late May," revealed driver Andy Lally, "Mid-Ohio has so many different aspects and different kinds of corners - most tracks you can be pretty good in most spots, but Mid-Ohio is a compromise. You are not going to be good everywhere, you need to pick your points.

"We are still operating in a fairly large window as far as handling is concerned, but we are really close and not really making huge adjustments. On an individual front, being 30 points out of first is not insurmountable, and we can conceivably be the points leaders coming out of Mid-Ohio, but we need a dark cloud over the guys in front of us."

Co-driver Marc Bunting mirrored Lally's thoughts.

"When we tested there, Andy and I were just getting acclimated to the car," he said, "We may have been able to sort out the gearing and get an idea of the handling so we can unload pretty close on Thursday. The Pontiac motor develops a lot of torque and that will help off of the corners, but we will need to set the car up for the many different corner transitions. We can't get it perfect everywhere, but we need to focus on the turns that lead on to the straights.

"Of course, we will be looking to win. When you are in the points battle, like we are, you have to score maximum points every weekend - and that means winning."

Corvette ALMS star Ron Fellows has been drafted in to substitute for the absent Jan Magnussen alongside Paul Edwards this weekend, and Pontiac's race winner is keen to see what the talented all-rounder can bring to the programme.

"Ron has a lot of experience at Mid-Ohio and in these kinds of cars," Edwards said, "I look up to Ron. He has been in the GM family forever, and I will be absorbing everything he has to offer.

"We did some development work at Mid-Ohio, but it wasn't in the race setting it is in now, with the restrictor. The car is well balanced and has a great base that we work from. We will practice on Thursday and I am looking forward to Ron's impressions and improvements."

"The team has a victory under their belt already, so I am coming into a good situation," commented Fellows, who has also raced NASCAR for GM this summer, "The GTO.R was built at the Pratt & Miller shop, so I know it is a quality car."

TRG team owner Kevin Buckler knows how crucial a good result can be this weekend, particularly as Bunting and Lally are so close to the overall class lead.

"We are in the middle of a points battle with Marc and Andy but, on the other side of the equation, we have Paul and Ron, who are just looking to win races," he said, "It is nice to have these two scenarios working on the track within the same team. The cars have been really performing well over the last two races, and Mid-Ohio is where every driver loves to come and race. We are looking for good things for the GTO.Rs this weekend."

 

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