Racing With Heavy Hearts, TeamTGM Takes Double Top Ten

Monday, March 19, 2018

After braving the notoriously fickle, rough and tough 3.7-mile Sebring International Raceway, TeamTGM brought home its two Mercedes-AMG GT4s to finish eighth and ninth as they continue to learn and develop the new GS platform.

The TeamTGM Mercedes-AMG GT4 machines – which made its Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge debut at Daytona –  took to  the track for the Alan Jay Automotive Network 120 on Friday.

Hugh Plumb and Owen Trinkler teamed up in the No. 46 JKTG Foundation / Camp Boggy Creek Mercedes-AMG GT4 while Ted Giovanis and Guy Cosmo raced behind the wheel of the No. 4 JKTG Foundation / Camp Boggy Creek Mercedes-AMG GT4. 

After a qualifying effort that was not representative of the team’s pace, the main focus was to move forward through the race while also taking into consideration the increased track temperature for the late afternoon event.

Staying out of trouble was the name of the game for the first half of the two hour sprint race. Both Trinkler and Giovanis gained considerable track position in the early stages of their stint. Several yellow flags bunched the pack of close-racing GS cars, which also played to Trinkler’s advantage as he dominated the restarts. 

On lap 22 Trinkler brought his No. 46 JKTG Foundation machine to lead the field, the second race in a row for the new GT4 machine to lead laps.

“For where we are in the development of the Mercedes-AMG it was a great result for us,” said Trinkler. “I was able to get a great start and ran in the top three, we just couldn’t get track position today. The car handled way better than it did yesterday and I am really happy with the performance of the guys.”

Giovanis picked off 18 cars in his hour and 10-minute stint, one of the strongest stints to date for the team owner/driver. It was up to Cosmo – No. 4 – and Plumb – No. 46 – to bring it home to the finish. Despite facing chaotic restarts, both cars made it through with Cosmo glued to the rear of Plumb’s Mercedes-AMG. But with two experienced drivers behind the wheel, both Cosmo and Plumb played it smart to bring home both machines across the finish line with Plumb scoring eighth and Cosmo finishing ninth.

“(Guy) Cosmo really made me sweat more than I should at the end there,” said Plumb. “We got shuffled back in the field when the yellow came out, so I feel as though I burned up the tires fighting with traffic. Overall I think the guys really did a great job this weekend and we are continuing to learn more and more about this car every weekend.”

Cosmo, who was impressed with his teammate Giovanis’ gains throughout the weekend, felt like he gave it his all right up until the very end.

“With Ted (Giovanis) performing at this level, it puts me in a position to strike at the end,” said Cosmo. “We caught up to our teammates and I was thinking ‘let’s see how this plays out.’ It was evident that we were tapped out on pace, but it was nice to finish close together. We’re making strides with the Mercedes and we had a good, solid performance. We’re learning more and we’re looking forward to the improvements we have planned.”

After coming off track with a smile on his face, Giovanis is pleased to see his craft improve every time he gets behind the wheel.

“After qualifying it seemed like I didn’t have it,” explain Giovanis. “But during the race I got more comfortable in the car and then I started to get more ‘racey’ and things started to fall together. Even though the track conditions were greasy, I felt so comfortable in the car that I was able to really battle.”

From the outside, TeamTGM performed like they would any other race weekend, but internally every member of the team was working with a heavy heart as their beloved truck driver, Ron Rigdon, received the terrible news of the passing of his wife, Debbie Rigdon, early Thursday morning.

TeamTGM’s tight knit ‘family’ atmosphere pulled together to work through the tragedy and dedicated the weekend to their fellow teammate.

“We’re a family and we count on each other and stick together,” said Cosmo. “It’s fun that we all get to go racing, but we’re racing for Ron and his wife today.”

“My man Ronnie (Ron) who unfortunately is dealing with the passing of his wife yesterday – I was thinking about him throughout the race weekend, my thoughts and prayers are with him,” said Plumb.

The next event for the TeamTGM squad will be at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on May 4-6th.