TRG, together with Nadeau Motorsports, filed a fifth entry for the 49th running of the Grand-Am Rolex Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No.16 Rolex 24 Hour at Daytona. The No. 53 TRG/Nadeau Motorsports/North American League/Porsche team is comprised of Bob Doyle, Jim Michaelian, Coulter Mulligan, Dr. Joe Castellano and Ken Dobson.
TRG fields 5 entries
With the entry of the No. 53 that brings the TRG Porsche armada at the 2011 Rolex 24 to five 997 Cup cars. The car features a nice combination of sports car veterans and young first timers. Bob Doyle won in his first ever pro race with TRG at the Sahlen's Six Hours at The Glen in 2010. Jim Michaelian is a veteran 24 Hour competitor having raced the Rolex as well as endurance races in Europe and the Middle East. For Coulter Mulligan this will be a series of firsts, first time at Daytona, and first Rolex 24. Dr. Joe is a renowned sports car veteran and has been racing professionally for over 50 years. Ken Dobson brings a strong sports car back ground honed in World Challenge as well as the Continental Challenge Series.
Doyle is a returning TRG Rolex 24 Hour competitor having raced last year in the TRG/Guardian Angel Porsche. Doyle has a history of top finishes in the Ferrari Challenge Series following a long career of motorcycle racing.
"I was fortunate to team with Andy and Spencer for the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen last year," Doyle said. "I was given the task of qualifying and starting my first professional Rolex Grand-Am race. I was able to keep us in the hunt long enough to turn the car over to Andy and Spencer, they brought the car home and I had my first pro win. In addition to winning the race I was honored to receive the Bob Akin award. It was a great weekend all around. Prior to that race I competed in the 2010 24 Hour of Daytona with the TRG/Guardian Angel Motorsports guys. That was my first 24 Hour race. My personal race history is in the Ferrari Challenge Series where I have two podium finishes. I am doing my second Rolex 24 and with my first Grand-Am professional win on my resume, I plan to do more. I am a racer and I love to compete. Having an organization like TRG behind you is obviously a huge reason for my meteoric rise from track events to Ferrari Challenge to winning at The Glen. Winning at sports cars highest level only happens with the absolute best prepared race car in the paddock, and of course having the most amazing teammates. I would never have achieved any of that without having the best car, crew, team, and great strategic calls by the best in the business, Kevin Buckler. It has been a heck of a ride and I am looking forward to much more! I love Daytona. It feels great having recently been paved. I am looking forward to a strong 24 Hour race and a great result next weekend."
Coulter Mulligan, with backing from the North American Baseball League, brings a youthful enthusiasm to the team. The Mazda Speed Challenge driver will be making his sports car debut. Although not unknown to the team, Mulligan has tested the TRG Porsche in the past.
"I couldn't be more excited to be running with TRG," Mulligan said. "I've been following TRG since I was a kid, and to be part of such a first-class organization for my first 24 is an absolute dream. This is a team that's got multiple wins under its belt, and always performs well at Daytona. The opportunity to be coached by Kevin and his top drivers is a huge boost as well. He's a guy who knows the track well, knows what it's like to win, and is always striving to get better. The 24 Hours of Daytona is one of the most grueling races there is, and to be in it with TRG adds a whole level of confidence for me. I can trust the team to do their part to help me succeed as a driver. I see this race as a team effort, and I want to do everything I can to support the other drivers, including keeping the car on pace. On top of that I want to be a sponge. I want to listen and learn from everyone I can, ask questions, and essentially soak up every piece of information possible. This is an amazing opportunity to gain experience alongside some of racing's greatest drivers. If I can run clean, consistent times, and turn a few heads while doing it, I'll be satisfied."
Jim Michaelian knows his way around Daytona and a race track. Michaelian is the President and CEO of the Long Beach Grand Prix Association and an avid racer.
"I started racing in 1991 and have competed in Grand-Am Rolex, Firestone Firehawk Series, 24 hours of Dubai, European Lemans series at Spa, Nurburgring," Michaelian said. "This will be my 13th start with a best finish of 10th in the GT class. My goal is to be in the top 10 when the checker flag drops at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday."
Dr. Joe Castellano is a veteran of 10 Rolex 24 Hour At Daytona races. Dr. Castalleno has shared the seat at Daytona with such luminaries as John Paul Jr. and Jim Downing.
"This will be my tenth 24 Hour race and my ninth Daytona 24 Hour in 55 years of racing," Dr. Castellano said. "Kevin and I have been talking about racing together for over a year. This deal came together kind of late, but I am happy we were able to do a deal for the race. I raced the Daytona 24 Hour for the first time in 1976. I drove a 911 Porsche. In 1978 I drove a Camaro. In 1983 I drove "Moby Dick", John Paul Jr.'s Porsche. We started the race from the front row that year next to AJ Foyt and Bob Wollek. I have also driven with Jim Downing in a Mazda. I am looking forward to the race this year and being back in a Porsche."
Ken Dobson was a late add to the 53 car. Dobson is a seasoned sports car driver with wins in everything from a spec Miata to a World Challenge BMW. The Californian will anchor the 53 Porsche and is looking forward to his first effort with TRG.
"I was a late add to the team," Dobson said. "Kevin needed some help with the 53 car and I was more than happy to come aboard. I am looking forward to working with Coulter, Jim, Bob and Joe throughout the weekend to maximize our chances of having a good finish come Sunday afternoon. This will be my first time with TRG. Any time you can jump into one of Kevin's cars, especially at Daytona, it's an honor. I am happy that Kevin asked me to drive with the team. I am ready to do a blue-collar job for the 53 guys. I don't think we will set the world on fire with lap times, but I hope to preach consistency into the team and be running when the sun comes up on Sunday."
Team owner Kevin Buckler betters his odds at Daytona with a fifth Porsche on the grid.
"This is a great group of my friends all here driving our 53 Porsche GT," Buckler said. "These guys are very familiar with our program. Coulter, Bob, and Jim have all turned laps in a TRG Porsche in the past, Jim and I have done this race together several times. Bob did a fantastic job with us last year at Daytona and with his big win at The Glen he is back with us this year. Coulter has tested with us several times and really impressed everyone. This is his first Rolex 24 and we know he will do a great job. My crazy Doc friend, Joe Castellano, has been racing all over the world and we finally get to drive together. He brings a wealth of experience as well as a really cool attitude and personality to the team. With Ken we get a lot of experience and speed in the car. He will also be a big help in getting the whole team together and comfortable in practice and in the race. Each driver brings varied experience to the team. I think this car is going to surprise a lot of people come 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, January 30th."