How Trinkler and Giovanis took the new Porsche to drive the challenge points

The TGM team is tied for the points lead in the Michelin Pilot Challenge. (IMSA photo)

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — You’d be hard-pressed to find a more motivated team than the Team TGM duo currently tied for the lead in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Grand Sport (GS) class.

“TGM” stands for Ted Giovanis Motorsports, a nod to the 76-year-old team owner who shares the #64 Porsche 718 GT4 RS Clubsport with veteran Owen Trinkler, 45. Despite the relatively new driver pairing (they first teamed up last season) and a switch to Porsche power this year, they find themselves at the top of the standings boosted by early season success as they gearing up for the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca 120 on Saturday.

“No. 1, I’m super excited for Ted Giovanis,’ Trinkler said. “I owe him so much for the championship we got in 2018 for the team. My goal with him – I won races and a championship with him as a team owner – but I said to him when we teamed up to race: ‘Let’s do this mate, I’m here for you’ . Let’s do this together.

“I wanted to get him on the podium and win races. I know we’re only two races away, but what a magical year for Ted already. I think it’s such a cool thing and the team is really on top with a car that nobody expected to be leading the championship, really.

With a second-place finish in the BMW M Endurance Challenge at Daytona International Speedway in January and a seventh-place finish in the Alan Jay Automotive Network 120 at Sebring International Raceway last month, the TGM team is tied with Volt Racing’s No.7 Aston. . Martin Trent Hindman and Alan Brynjolfsson lead the standings – 40 points ahead of the #95 Turner Motorsport BMW M4 GT4 team of veterans Bill Auberlen and Dillon Machavern.

And as Trinkler said, expectations were initially tempered in what was to be a transition year to the Porsche.

“We’re still learning about this new car,” Trinkler said. “We don’t have notes on the Porsche, so now we’re learning a new product. Every track we tackle is new to us, so we’re learning as a team what we need to apply. And we’re leading the championship in a car that is all new to us, so we will continue to improve throughout the year in terms of our set-up and what we learn this car likes and dislikes.

There’s legitimately no one better placed to assess this than Trinkler, who arrived on the IMSA scene in the mid-1990s as one of the youngest to start a Rolex 24 At Daytona race. He now has 172 Michelin Pilot Challenge races to his name – the most in history – and the 2018 GS Championship which he and Hugh Plumb won at the wheel of Giovanis.

And the famous 2.238-mile WeatherTech Raceway has been one of Trinkler’s favorites throughout his career.

“I think I’ve been running Laguna since 1997, so I have a lot of experience there in Laguna and I love the place,” said Trinkler, who won at the track in his 2018 championship season and there are also several podiums.

“I like that it has the old pavement because the tire drop happens and that makes it a driver’s track. You also have to own it on the setup, but at this point the driver is involved in keeping the car on track in a slippery environment with the tires dropping, I love that aspect.

Trinkler was encouraged by a two-day test at WeatherTech Raceway with Giovanis earlier this month and has really high expectations for the race ahead.

“I have every confidence when Ted comes back here in a few weeks and does what he did, we’ll be a player in this,” Trinkler said. “All I’m asking is a chance when we go to (the season finale at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta) to be mathematically still involved in it.

“And that’s what I told him: it’s the long game. We can lose that (points lead) at some point, even after the next round, but it doesn’t matter. As long as we finish consistently and do what we need to do, we’ll stay in this thing for the rest of the year. That’s all we can ask for.

The TGM team is fielding a second Porsche, the #46 co-driven by brothers Hugh and Matt Plumb, which is tied for fifth in the GS standings. A total of 41 cars – 28 in GS and 13 in Touring Car (TCR) – are entered this week. A notable change sees Sheena Monk and Kyle Marcelli move into the #42 PF Racing Ford Mustang GT4 after their #3 Toyota Supra GT4 was deemed beyond repair following an accident at Sebring.

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