GT GIANT KILLERS
According to well-worn boxing lore, “A good big ’un
will always beat a good little ’un.” Which is also
usually true of multi-class sports car racing, in which
prototype exotica shares the track with – and holds a
performance advantage over – the production-based
GT classes. But every rule has its exceptions, as
these memorable feats of GT giant-killing attest.
This was a race at which the quickest of
the GT boys knew they had a chance.
Grand-Am had replaced the full-house
LMP900s with its own breed of pure-bred
racer, the lower-tech Daytona Prototype,
and a GT2 car wasn’t that much slower.
What’s more, the DPs were unproven, plus
there were only a handful of them entered.
2003 ROLEX 24 AT DAYTONA
When opportunity presents itself, you must grab it. That’s exactly what
The Racer’s Group did in a transitional year for Daytona’s enduro.
A betting man would have put money on
a well-driven GT car creating an upset.
The Racer’s Group team of Kevin
Buckler was one of those. Buckler had
been loaned factory drivers Jorg
Bergmeister and Timo Bernhard to
share his lead car alongside himself and
amateur racer Michael Schromm. Their
Porsche 911 GT3-RS spent three
quarters of the race in the lead and, with
Bergmeister and Bernhard driving, was
able to run at a similar pace to the DPs.
“Jorg and I weren’t cruising; we were
pushing,” recalls Bernhard. “We knew that,
when the DPs started having problems,
we had a chance to make history.”
The Multimatic team’s Ford Focus-
badged DP, which had been delayed early
with a throttle problem, came back at the
TRG Porsche. It got within seven seconds
at one point, only to be tapped into a spin
by a slower car and dropping to fourth.
It was, remarkably, a third win for a GT
car at the Daytona enduro classic in four
years. But it never happened again, as
the DPs found speed and reliability.
Founded by Kevin Buckler (ABOVE), The
Racer’s Group has run in pro-level GT racing
since ’ 95. As TRG-AMR, it currently fields
Aston Martin GT cars in multiple series.
PLAYING THE GT LONG GAME
WORDS Gary Watkins MAIN IMAGE F. Peirce Williams/LAT