MIAMI, Fla. – Through the decades, names like Scott Pruett to Tommy Kendall to Greg Picket have been synonymous with Trans-Am competition.
With the launch of a new initiative, the Trans-Am Series presented by Pirelli will introduce a new path to professional road racing that could see a new generation of racers adding their names to that roster of all-time greats.
Partnering with the Sports Car Club of America, Trans-Am will launch a crossover program called the Trans-Am Pro/Am Challenge, which will introduce SCCA drivers looking to take their next step, to the North American stage of Trans-Am.
Making an easy path for teams to crossover to Trans-Am is the primary focus of the new Pro/Am Challenge, with the schedule and rules package providing flexibility for teams and drivers to chase both their Pro/Am Challenge and their SCCA Road Racing goals in the same year.
“We have been working with SCCA for some time now to foster a program that would be an exciting crossover opportunity for a lot of racers, so we are glad to get the sign off to be able to move forward with this,” said Trans-Am Race Co. President John Clagett. “Since the beginning of Trans-Am, countless drivers have crossed back and forth between SCCA and Trans-Am to make up their annual race schedule. Even today, many Trans-Am regulars are also seen in the paddock at SCCA events. Some teams run more, or fewer, Trans-Am races depending on if they decide to pursue the SCCA National Runoffs Championship or the Trans-Am Championship for that year. Now with the Pro/Am Challenge, teams and drivers can do both.”
Any driver planning to compete in the Runoffs will be allowed to use two Trans-Am races as part of their Runoffs prerequisites, which is yet another attractive aspect of the SCCA/Trans Am crossover package.
“Trans-Am is a significant part of the SCCA’s rich motorsports’ history and the partnership between Parella, SCCA Pro Racing and TARC has fueled much growth in that brand across the past several years,” said SCCA President Mike Cobb. “Many Trans-Am drivers compete in SCCA Road Racing events as well, so the ‘Pro Path’ to the Runoffs is a natural, that gives drivers more options to race while earning the opportunity to compete in the SCCA National Championship Runoffs.”
Charlotte Motor Speedway (March 18-21) and Sonoma Raceway (April 23-25) have been designated as the Trans-Am Pro/Am Challenge feature events. Racers who are vying for the Pro/Am Challenge Championship will pick four more races of their choosing (any National or West Coast Trans Am event) thus creating a six-race championship season.
The Charlotte and Sonoma races are part of Trans-Am’s one tow, double race weekend efforts to create as much opportunity to race at great tracks for a reasonable budget. Following Charlotte, teams will travel to Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta (March 25-28). On the national west coast swing, teams will tow from Sonoma to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca (April 30-May 2).
The Charlotte and Sonoma races will feature the same two-day format that the Trans-Am Series presented by Pirelli West Coast Championship events utilize for practice, qualifying and one race for all five classes.
“While Laguna and Road Atlanta are not required races for the Pro/Am Challenge, they are very strategic- the races are early in the season and the tracks are great venues,” Clagett continued. “SCCA road racers don’t race frequently at Sonoma, so it is an amazing opportunity for SCCA drivers who have not had the opportunity to race at one of the great circuits in the United States.”
The new Trans-Am Pro/Am Cup Challenge will allow SCCA drivers to compete in Trans-Am using the same basic SCCA road racing trim for their cars, making the transition back and forth between the SCCA Road Racing program and Trans-Am seamless.
The Pro/Am Challenge will be open to all five Trans-Am classes. The primary SCCA classes that fit into one of the Trans-Am classes are; GT1, GT2, GTX, T1, T2, T3 and STO. The various cars will be balanced into the correct Trans-Am class with minor weight and restrictor changes.
Equivalent cars from other amateur clubs will also be welcomed to come race with Trans Am. All cars will be fueled by Sunoco and utilize Pirelli tires.
In an attempt to make the crossover to Trans-Am even easier, entry fees will be reduced for Pro/Am Challenge competitors.
“We anticipate this to be another long-term growth program for Trans-Am to develop drivers from the grassroots level,” Clagett said. “It’s also a really great opportunity for racers who might not have thought about Trans Am before.