Race Weekend Central

TRG Brings Wolf Henzler Back to IMSA, Fills Daytona Lineup

On Tuesday, The Racers Group (TRG) announced their full driver lineup for January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona.  Leading that group will be Porsche factory driver Wolf Henzler, who will be returning to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship on a full-time basis after only competing in 2016 at Daytona.

Henzler won the 2008 GT2-class championship in the American Le Mans Series with teammate Jörg Bergmeister for Flying Lizard Motorsports on the strength of four victories.  Henzler won nine career races in the American Le Mans Series and seven races in the Grand-AM Rolex Sports Car Series.  He is a two-time GT class winner at the Rolex 24 with Farnbacher Racing (2005, using a car that had raced in Pirelli World Challenge’s GT class) and with TRG in 2011.

Henzler is happy to be back with TRG for the full season.

“I was thrilled when I heard about TRG being back with a Porsche in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, and that I will be one of the drivers in their brand-new 911 GT3 R,” Henzler said in a press release.  “I’m proud to be part of Kevin Buckler’s team in 2017. He is doing an amazing job and has an awesome team at TRG. TRG knows very well what it needs to have a winning car on the track. Finally, I’m glad the Roar at Daytona is not so far away, because I can’t wait to sit in the new car.”

Henzler previously drove in the series for Team Falken Tire.  However, Team Falken Tire left the series at the end of 2015, forcing Henzler back to Europe.  In 2016, Henzler raced full-time as the sole Pro driver in KCMG’s GTE-AM class Porsche 911 RSR in the FIA World Endurance Championship.  Sharing the No. 78 Porsche with Christian Ried and former CART racer Joël Camathias, Henzler had five podiums (including second-place finishes in Austin and Bahrain) on their way to fifth in points.

For the Rolex 24, Henzler will be joined by a group of new and returning racers.  Derek DeBoer has raced Aston Martins in Pirelli World Challenge full-time for the team and finished eighth in GTD for the team in the 2015 Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Santiago Creel returns to the team after racing this year’s Rolex 24 in the team’s Aston Martin.  His background mainly consists of racing Porsche 911’s for teams such as Wright Motorsports in the Porsche GT3 Cup USA.  He’s joined by Pablo Sanchez, a driver out of Mexico.  Similar to Creel, Sanchez’s background includes stints in Porsche 911’s, both in North America and in Europe.  In addition, Sanchez has raced in mid-level open wheeled racers, such as Formula Renault 3.5.  He has two career starts in the American Le Mans Series for BAR1 Motorsports that occurred back in 2012 with a best of fourth in class at Sebring.

Finally, former Champ Car racer Jan Heylen fills out the lineup.  Heylen has been out of the series since the Snow Racing/Wright Motorsports No. 58 Porsche pulled out in the middle of 2015.  He earned his best Rolex 24 finish that season when he finished third in GTD in a Porsche GT America shared with Patrick Dempsey, Philipp Eng and Madison Snow.

The press release indicated that only Henzler has been signed for the full year.  It is unclear who will join the German for the sprint races and who will be back for the remaining Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup events.  In addition, the team has not announced which number they will be using as of yet.  Their normal No. 66 is unavailable since Ford Chip Ganassi Racing has claimed it for their own use.

About the author

Phil Allaway has three primary roles at Frontstretch. He's the manager of the site's FREE e-mail newsletter that publishes Monday-Friday and occasionally on weekends. He keeps TV broadcasters honest with weekly editions of Couch Potato Tuesday and serves as the site's Sports Car racing editor.

Outside of Frontstretch, Phil is the press officer for Lebanon Valley Speedway in West Lebanon, N.Y. He covers all the action on the high-banked dirt track from regular DIRTcar Modified racing to occasional visits from touring series such as the Super DIRTcar Series.

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