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The Trans-Am Series is an automobile racing series which was created in 1966 by the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA). Originally known as the Trans-American Sedan Championship it has evolved over time from its original format as a manufacturers championship for modified racing sedans to its current form as a drivers championship open to GT style cars.

The series was formed at the dawn of the pony car era and was derived from the SCCA's A & B Sedan amateur Club Racing classes. Originally the series was open to FIA Group 2 Touring Cars and it featured two classes, Over 2.0 Liter (O-2) and Under 2.0 Liter (U-2), with both classes running together. The series was best known for competition among American V8 sedans such as the Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro, Plymouth Barracuda, Mercury Cougar, AMC Javelin, Pontiac Firebird, & Dodge Challenger in the 1960s and early 1970s. A fan favorite in the early '70s was the "Grey Ghost", a '64 Pontiac Tempest prepared by Pontiac Chief Engineer Herb Adams and his young engineers, which had once been Adams' wife's car. Marques such as Porsche, Alfa Romeo, Datsun, Mini-Cooper, Saab, and Volkswagen competed in the series Under 2.0 Liter category.

The Pontiac Trans Am, was named after the series. According to SCCA archives, that car has only taken 7 wins in the 42-year-old series' 446 events. The last win by a Pontiac Trans Am was in 1984.

The Sports Car Club of America is the sanctioning body for the series and holds the rights to the "Trans-Am" name (Note: trademark ownership is limited to the "Trans-Am" logo, and does not currently extend to the text "Trans-Am" when not used in the context of SCCA-sanctioned events, subject to trademark owner's dispute). The series was most recently operated by the Champ Car World Series and ran the majority of its races in support of the parent open-wheel championship.

Due to a lack of participants and interest, the series ceased operations after the 2005 season. However the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) continued to own the name and permitted Heartland Park Topekamarker to run two races in September and October 2006 using Trans Am rules and the Trans Am name. In 2009, the SCCA will revive the series based on the GT-1 class and five races have been announced, with former champion Greg Pickett sponsoring the series with the Muscle Milk brand, using the SCCA's GT-1 category rules.

History

The Beginnings (1966 - 1967)

Kwech/Andrey 1966 Trans-Am Championship Alfa Romeo GTA
At first, the Trans-Am vehicles were primarily modified versions of the road-going car. The competition was divided into two classes- an "Under 2 Liter" class (predominantly small European sedans) and the "Over 2 Liters" class (displacement limited to 5.0 liters, or 302 cu. in. ).

The first race was in 1966 at Sebring International Racewaymarker. The overall win went to Jochen Rindt driving an Alfa Romeo GTA (an Under 2 Liter entry), with Bob Tullius (driving a Dodge Dart) taking second overall, but first in the Over 2 Liter class.

Allan Moffat in an Under 2 Liter Lotus Cortina won the third race at Bryar. Ford had full factory effort with the Alan Mann Cortinas but suffered from reliability issues. In 1966 the Over 2 Liter manufacturers' champion was Ford and the Under 2 Liter manufacturers' champion Alfa Romeo with the Kwech/Andrey GTA scoring 39 of the 57 manufacturers' points for Alfa. The Alfa Romeo of Horst Kwech and Gaston Andrey also scored the most points in the first unofficial drivers' championship, edging out Bob Johnson.

In 1967 Porsche lobbied the SCCA to have the 911 accepted as a sedan and then dominated the Under 2 Liter field winning the manufacturers championship over Alfa Romeo. In Over 2 Liter, Ford edged out Mercury to win the manufacturers' championship. Jerry Titus won the second unofficial drivers' championship.

The Golden Era (1968-1972)

These years were largely dominated by Mark Donohue, driving for Roger Penske. Penske campaigned Camaros through 1969, when he signed with American Motors to race the Javelin in 1970 and 1971. Donohue would chalk up 20 race victories between 1967 and 1970 and three unofficial drivers's championships, the third achieved in 1971.The 1970 Trans Am series is regarded by most racing historians as the high water mark of American road racing. Every "pony car" manufacturer was represented with a factory team and top driving talent: Chevrolet had the Chaparral Chevy Camaro Z28 team with Jim Hall, Ed Leslie, and Vic Elford. Ford's Bud Moore Boss 302 Mustangs were driven by Parnelli Jones and George Follmer. For Plymouth, the All American Racing Cudas were handled by Dan Gurney and Swede Savage. Sam Posey, and occasionally Tony Adamowicz, drove Ray Caldwell's Autodynamics Challenger TA, Jerry Titus had the Pontiac TransAm, and Roger Penske's Sunoco AMC Javelin team starred Mark Donohue and Peter Revson. The Mercury Cougars were driven by Charlie Rainville, Bruce Jennings, and three other drivers in two races of the 1968 season.

Most of these cars have been preserved or restored and are still racing in vintage events today. The Historic Trans Am Group[70027] events often reunite drivers from the era with the cars they raced "back in the day".

The Two-Five Challenge

In 1969 the "U2" class was renamed when the engine displacement limit was increased to 2.5 litres. Porsche 911s and Alfa Romeo GTVs were dominant, until 1971 when the BRE Datsuns entered the series and dominated through 1972, when Alfa-Romeo and BMW quit the series because an inability to beat the BRE prepared Datsuns. When these two marques dropped out interest in the series waned and the SCCA cancelled the series. Successful drivers included Peter H. Gregg, Horst Kwech, Bob Sharp, and John Morton. The Vintage Sedan Racers Group or VSRG is made up of vintage race drivers, car owners, car builders and enthusiast working together to bring the excitement of Trans-Am 2.5 and B-Sedan cars to vintage racing.

Evolution

Rules evolved over the years, incorporating FIA touring and grand-touring classes as well as SCCA Club Racing classes. The different classes had restrictions placed on the allowed modifications in an effort to equalize competition between the different cars. In 1976, Trans-Am returned to the two category format, classifying FIA Group 4 and 5 cars as "Category II".

The Modern Era (1980 - 2006)

In 1980, the SCCA developed a weight-to-displacement ratio for handicapping cars. Five-liter, 2600 pound vehicles dominated the field. Soon, tube-frame cars would begin to appear on the grid, eventually becoming the standard for Trans-Am competitors.

Roush Racing entered into Trans-Am competition in 1984. For the next six years Roush entries would dominate the series, winning 46 of the 83 races. This first decade also saw notable champions such as Wally Dallenbach, Jr. (1985 and 1986), Scott Pruett (1987), Hurley Haywood (1988), and Dorsey Schroeder (1989).

In 1988, after years of rallying, Audi would enter the series with the 200 turbo quattro via the services of Bob Tullius's Group 44 Racing. As usual the car ran their trademark Quattro system. However this did not run without controversy as the car, piloted by Haywood and with both Walter Röhrl and Hans Joachim Stuck sharing duties, steamrollered the opposition taking eight out of thirteen wins. As Audi would defect to IMSA by the end of the season, the SCCA would change the regulation to a two wheel drive only and banning cars with non American engines from taking part. The Historic Trans-am & IMSA Group is dedicated to the preservation of the cars that ran in the SCCA Trans-am series and the similar IMSA GTO class from 1980 until 1991. The variety of cars in these classes ran the gamut from turbo charged 4 cylinder Merkurs to Corvettes with 358 cu in. V-8’s.

In the nineties Tommy Kendall, in a Ford, was the driver to beat- he would take four driver's championships in this decade. Chevrolet was also prominent in this time period, with 6 drivers' champions in their cars.

Paul Gentilozzi rose to the fore beginning in 1998 with his first championship in Trans-Am. He would win four more championships, his latest in 2006, driving a Chevrolet, Ford, and Jaguar. These latter years also saw more marques enter the field, with exotics such as the Panoz Esperante, Qvale Mangusta and Jaguar XKR. Later in the 2004 season, a Rocketsports Racing Jaguar XKR raced with a production-based 4.5 liter 650 hp DOHC AJ-V8. A 2006 season seemed unlikely until late in the year when a short two race season was run with both races taking place at Heartland Park Topekamarker. Fields were shored up by a makeshift assortment of SCCA GT-1 class amateur racers in town for the National Championship Runoffs later that week.

Return

It was announced on December 11, 2008 that Trans Am would be returning in 2009. The first race was held March 22. The revived series utilizes the same vehicle rules as SCCA's amateur GT-1 class, providing top GT-1 competitors a professional series to progress to.

2009 Schedule


Champions

Year Champion Manufacturer Champion Driver Car
1966 Over 2 liter – Ford
Under 2 liter – Alfa Romeo
Horst Kwech*

Gaston Andrey*
Alfa Romeo GTA
1967 Over 2 liter – Ford
Under 2 liter – Porsche
Jerry Titus* Ford Mustang
1968 Over 2 liter – Chevrolet
Under 2 liter – Porsche
Mark Donohue* Chevrolet Camaro
1969 Over 2 liter – Chevrolet
Under 2 liter – Porsche
Mark Donohue* Chevrolet Camaro
1970 Over 2 liter – Ford
Under 2 liter – Alfa Romeo
Parnelli Jones* Ford Mustang
1971 Over 2.5 liter – American Motors
Under 2.5 liter – Datsun
Mark Donohue* AMC Javelin
1972 Over 2.5 liter – American Motors
Under 2.5 liter – Datsun 1972 SCCA Trans-American Championship Results Retrieved from www.trans-amseries.com on 13 August 2009
George Follmer AMC Javelin
1973 Chevrolet Peter H. Gregg Porsche 911
1974 Porsche Peter H. Gregg Porsche 911
1975 Chevrolet John Greenwood Chevrolet Corvette
1976 American Motors (Cat 1) Jocko Maggiacomo (Cat 1) AMC Javelin
Porsche (Cat 2) George Follmer (Cat 2) Porsche 934
1977 Porsche (Cat 1) Bob Tullius (Cat 1) Jaguar XJS
Porsche (Cat 2) Ludwig Heimrath (Cat 2) Porsche 934
1978 Jaguar (Cat 1) Bob Tullius (Cat 1) Jaguar XJS
Chevrolet (Cat 2) Greg Pickett (Cat 2) Chevrolet Corvette
1979 Chevrolet(Cat 1) Gene Bothello (Cat 1) Chevrolet Corvette
Porsche (Cat 2) John Paul, Sr. (Cat 2) Porsche 935
1980 Chevrolet John Bauer Porsche 911
1981 Chevrolet Eppie Wietzes Chevrolet Corvette
1982 Pontiac Elliott Forbes-Robinson Pontiac Firebird
1983 Chevrolet David Hobbs Chevrolet Camaro
1984 Lincoln-Mercury Tom Gloy Mercury Capri
1985 Lincoln-Mercury Wally Dallenbach, Jr. Mercury Capri
1986 Lincoln-Mercury Wally Dallenbach, Jr. Merkur XR4Ti
1987 Lincoln-Mercury Scott Pruett Merkur XR4Ti
1988 Audi Hurley Haywood Audi 200 Quattro Turbo
1989 Ford Dorsey Schroeder Ford Mustang
1990 Chevrolet Tommy Kendall Chevrolet Beretta
1991 Chevrolet Scott Sharp Chevrolet Camaro
1992 Chevrolet Jack Baldwin Chevrolet Camaro
1993 Chevrolet Scott Sharp Chevrolet Camaro
1994 Ford Scott Pruett Chevrolet Camaro
1995 Chevrolet Tommy Kendall Ford Mustang
1996 Ford Tommy Kendall Ford Mustang
1997 Ford Tommy Kendall Ford Mustang
1998 Chevrolet Paul Gentilozzi Chevrolet Camaro
1999 Ford Paul Gentilozzi Ford Mustang
2000 De Tomaso Brian Simo Qvale Mangusta
2001 Jaguar Paul Gentilozzi Jaguar XKR
2002 Ford Boris Said Panoz Esperante
2003 Jaguar Scott Pruett Jaguar XKR
2004 Jaguar Paul Gentilozzi Jaguar XKR
2005 Jaguar Klaus Graf Jaguar XKR
2006** Jaguar Paul Gentilozzi Jaguar XKR
2007 Series not held
2008 Series not held
2009 Jaguar Tomy Drissi Jaguar XKR
* The Drivers Championship was first awarded for the 1972 series. "Champions Drivers" listed prior to 1972 were not officially recognised by the SCCA. ** The title was also not awarded in 2006.

See also



References

  1. Trans-Am Retrieved from homepage.mac.com/frank_de_jong on 14 August 2009
  2. Trans-Am Drivers' and Manufacturers' Champions Retrieved from www.deepthrottle.com on 13 August 2009
  3. 1966 SCCA Trans-American Championship Results Retrieved from www.trans-amseries.com on 13 August 2009
  4. 1967 SCCA Trans-American Championship Results Retrieved from www.trans-amseries.com on 13 August 2009
  5. 1968 SCCA Trans-American Championship Results Retrieved from www.trans-amseries.com on 13 August 2009
  6. 1969 SCCA Trans-American Championship Results Retrieved from www.trans-amseries.com on 13 August 2009
  7. 1970 SCCA Trans-American Championship Results Retrieved from www.trans-amseries.com on 13 August 2009
  8. 1971 Trans-Am Retrieved from homepage.mac.com on 29 October 2009
  9. 1971 SCCA Trans-American Championship Results Retrieved from www.trans-amseries.com on 13 August 2009


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