1988 was the twenty-third season for the Sports Car Club of America’s Trans Am Championship.
After three years, Escort Radar Detectors replaced Bendix Brakes as the series title sponsor.
1980 was a transition year for Trans Am as the two category system was eliminated. The most significant alteration to the rules was the removal of Category II - turbocharged Porsches and highly modified Camaros and Corvettes. The object of these changes was to create a competitive series with the costs of racing being within reach of teams. The decision was proving successful with the championship drawing large fields, closing race and capturing the imagination of race fans. However, the expensive smaller displacement turbocharged vehicles were creeping back into the series. In addition, the factory entered all-wheel-drive Audi 200 Quattro created a lot of controversy among competitors.
Trans Am cars use a tube frame chassis with bodywork that resembles road-going versions of the Ford Mustang, Pontiac Firebird, Chevrolet Camaro, Chevrolet Corvette and Merkur XR4Ti. There are some engine equivalency formulas, with most cars using a production-based 310-cu.in. V8, which produces approximately 600-horsepower. The exceptions are the Audi, Merkur and Porsche, which are powered by smaller displacement turbocharged motors. A V6 engine option is also available for some General Motor models, such as the Chevrolet Camaro. Most vehicles weigh about 2,600-lbs. with a maximum wheel width of 10-inches and a wheelbase of 110-inches. Given a long straight and proper gearing, a Trans Am car can reach a top speed of 180-mph.
The thirteen race championship competed at four new venues – all of them being temporary circuits. The season kicks off in early April at Long Beach, California, followed by Dallas, the first of these new stops, and Sears Point Raceway. Round four at Detroit is the championship’s most important event as the city is the headquarters for many American automotive manufacturers. Then teams travel to two more of the new layouts - Niagara Falls and Cleveland. After Cleveland, there are stops at Brainerd, the new track at the Meadowlands, Lime Rock Park, the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and Road America. The series then heads north of the border for the penultimate weekend at Mosport Park. Back in the United States, the championship stops in St. Petersburg, Florida, for the finale.
The penultimate round of the 1988 Trans Am Championship was held at Mosport Park during the Rothmans Trans Am weekend. Drivers would compete in a fifty-lap contest around the ten turn 2.459-mile road course.
|After podium finishes at Dallas and Lime Rock, Park Darren Brassfield scored his first victory of the 1988 Trans Am season at Mosport Park. Brassfield qualified 0.112-seconds slower than the pole-sitter, Ron Fellows and started on the outside of the front row. Driving the No. 88 Mobil 1/Pacific Summit Chevrolet Corvette, he led the most laps and battled with Walter Roehl before winning by a margin of 42.88-seconds.|
|Darren Brassfield and Walter Roehl were in close quarters for most of the Escort Trans-Am event at Mosport Park. Brassfield in the No. 88 Chevrolet Corvette led a total of thirty-eight circuits. But after the final round of pit stops and with just eight laps, remaining Roehl in the No. 14 Audi 200 Quattro moved into the top spot. With two circuits remaining, Roehrl encountered a mechanical issue and Brassfield grabbed the victory.|
|Local favourite Ron Fellows made his first start of the 1988 Trans Am season at Road America, where he finished in the fifth spot. The next round was at Mosport Park, where Fellows put the No. 4 Mackenzie Financial sponsored Merkur XR4Ti on the pole. He fell out of contention and ran much of the race in the fourth position. An issue with Walter Roehrl’s Audi 200 Quattro allowed Fellows to capture the final position of the podium.|
|Audi entered two Audi 200 Quattro in the series. The team’s primary driver was Hurley Haywood. The second car was shared by Hans Stuck and Walter Roehrl. Roehrl handled the driving duties at Mosport. He qualified fourth fastest and battled with Darren Brassfield in the race. With two laps remaining, Roehrl was in the lead, but the right rear suspension collapsed. Roehrl was able to salvage a fourth-place finish.|
|R.K. Smith made an impressive Tran Am debut last season at Mosport, finishing second in a rented Chevrolet Camaro. Smith returned this year driving the No. 77 Baja Boats Chevrolet Beretta. His best result in 1988 was fifth place at Mid-Ohio, but he did not qualify at Niagara Falls and was unable to start at Road America. At Mosport, Smith was gridded fifteenth but charged to a seventh-place result.|
|Last year at Mosport, Trans Am veteran Les Lindley used a V6 power plant, but this season the No. 8 Chevrolet Camaro was equipped with the popular 310-cu.in. V8 engine. Lindley came close several times but only landed on the podium once in 1988. In the penultimate round at Mosport Park, he started in the fifth position. Lindley fell down the running order after losing an engine with two-laps to go and finished eleventh.|
|1||2||Darin Brassfield||Chevrolet Corvette||50||-|
|2||8||Tommy Riggins||Chevrolet Corvette||50||-|
|3||1||Ron Fellows||Mercury Merkur XR4Ti||50||-|
|4||4||Walter Rohrl||Audi 200 Quattro||50||-|
|5||3||Irv Hoerr||Oldsmobile Cutlass||49||-|
|6||13||Jim Derhaag||Chevrolet Camaro||49||-|
|7||15||R. K. Smith||Chevrolet Beretta||48||-|
|8||7||Lyn St. James||Mercury Merkur XR4Ti||48||-|
|9||19||Craig Shafer||Oldsmobile Toronado||48||-|
|10||18||Jerry Clinton||Oldsmobile Cutlass||48||-|
|11||5||Les Lindley||Chevrolet Camaro||47||Engine|
|12||16||Randy McDonald||Buick Somerset||47||-|
|13||11||Paul Gentilozzi||Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme||46||-|
|14||22||Bruce Nesbitt||Ford Mustang||46||-|
|15||28||Peter Deman||Chevrolet Corvette||46||-|
|16||17||Rick Dittman||Pontiac Firebird||45||-|
|17||9||Mike Ciasulli||Oldsmobile Cutlass||45||-|
|18||30||Tim Taylor||Pontiac Trans-Am||43||-|
|19||21||Jerry Simmons||Chevrolet Corvette||38||-|
|20||12||Deborah Gregg||Mercury Merkur XR4Ti||37||-|
|21||23||John Macaluso||Pontiac Trans-Am||35||-|
|22||6||Hurley Haywood||Audi 200 Quattro||29||Engine|
|23||26||Jerry Dunbar||Pontiac Trans-Am||23||Oil leak|
|24||25||Phillip Bartelt||Ford Mustang||11||Mechanical|
|25||20||Danny May||Ford Thunderbird||9||Mechanical|
|26||10||Robert Lappalainen||Mercury Capri||5||Transmission|
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