2001 marked the thirty-sixth season of the Sports Car Club of America’s Trans-Am series. Competitors were competing for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup. This season would have the largest payout, with potentially more than $2.3 million in prize money.

Additional titles were also on the line, such as the High Tech Performance Trailers Owner’s Championship, Manufacturer’s Championship, AmeriSuites Rookie of the Year, and BBS Most Improved Driver and Crew of the Year.

An exciting piece of news for this season was the live television coverage of round six at Sears Point Raceway.

Several models were eligible for the Trans Am series, including the newly styled Chevrolet Corvette, Ford Mustang, Panoz Esperante, Jaguar XKR, Chevrolet Camaro, and Qvale Mangusta. Still, the most exciting entry in 2001 was the Dodge Viper.

Joe Tranchida, a successful entrepreneur and racing enthusiast, entered the Dodge Viper under Cinjo Racing / Motorcity True Performance. Motorcity True Performance is an automotive specialty company focused on the design, fabrication, and manufacture of components for the racing and street markets. The company is a complete performance shop that builds, maintains, and prepares race cars. This capability was apparent in the new Viper built for the Trans-Am series. Motocity also campaigns a Ford F150 in the American Race Truck Series.
The Dodge Viper was built from the ground up at the Motocity True Performance facility. Unlike the production Viper, the Cinjo Racing chassis is a custom steel tube-frame design covered by a Carbon fiber / Kevlar honeycomb body. The car is 180 inches long and 80 inches wide with a height of 46 inches. The wheelbase is 102 inches with a front track of 66.7 inches and a 66.4-inch rear track. Per the Trans Am rules, the weight distribution is 51% on the front and 49% on the rear.
The front suspension is a double wishbone with coil-overs, while the rear is a live axle, three-link that uses coil-overs. Moton three-way adjustable shock absorbers and Hypercoil springs are on the four corners. Steering is accomplished using a Woodward rack and pinion. Stopping the Viper are Alcon four-wheel rotors with six-piston calipers on the front and 4-piston calipers on the rear. The wheels are BBS alloy, 12X16 inches on the front and 13X16 inches on the rear. The 2,800 lbs. race car uses BFGoodrich g-Force T/A Radials.
One of the most significant differences between the production Viper and the Trans Am-prepared vehicle is the engine. Vipers come off the assembly line with an 8.0-liter V10. The Cinjo Racing entry is required to use a North American-based V8. The Trans Am Viper is equipped with a 310 cu.in. Dodge pushrod V8 prepared by Caldwell Development. The motor produces 640 horsepower at 8,000 rpm and 425 ft-lbs. of torque at 6,000 rpm. Bolted to the engine is a Tilton carbon clutch and Hewland five-speed transmission.
Joe Tranchida’s Cinjo Racing / Motorcity True Performance team hired some talented individuals to drive and prepare the car. Former Chrysler factory driver Tommy Archer, who has competed in the FIA GT Championship with a Viper, was chosen to get behind the wheel. Archer also had Trans Am experience, having won the series 1992 Rookie of the Year Award. Here, Archer is being interviewed after a third-place finish at Mosport. Will Moody, who has over 30 years of experience in the motorsports industry, filled the race engineer position.
The team made their series debut at the season opener at Sebring International Raceway. This was his first Trans-Am event since 1994 for their driver, Tommy Archer. Archer narrowly missed making the Fast Five in qualifying and started the twenty-seven-lap contest in sixth. A pass, late in the contest, on Lou Gigliotti was rewarded with a fifth-place finish. The next round was at Long Beach. Again, Archer just missed the Fast Five. He collected a fourth-place result after passing Brian Simo and when Paul Gentilozzi and Boris Said had issues.
The Cinjo Racing / Motorcity True Performance team earned their first podium finish at Mosport International Raceway. In the center is the winner of round three, Paul Gentilozzi, from Rocketsports Racing. On the left is the No. 36 Dodge Viper driver and the runner-up, Tommy Archer. This was Archer’s first podium since 1993 at Lime Rock Park, when he won the race. Completing the rostrum is Johnny Miller, the driver of the No. 64 Automationdirect EATON Cutler Hammer Jaguar XKR and third-place finisher.
Tommy Archer made the Fast Five at Mosport International Raceway by qualifying as the third fastest. From the inside of the second row, Archer moved into the top spot. On lap 44, he was passed by the pole-sitter and eventual winner, Paul Gentilozzi, leaving Archer to finish in the runner-up position. Unfortunately, the race will be remembered for the contact between Mike Gagliardo and Gary Longo on lap 38 of the event. Longo was left in critical condition, while Gagliardo was fatally injured.
At the Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix of Detroit, Archer missed grabbing the pole by 0.615 seconds and started on the outside of the front row. However, he dropped out of contention early and finished in the nineteenth, five laps behind the winner, Paul Gentilozzi. Round four was conducted at Ohio’s Burke Lakefront Airport. Archer made his third consecutive appearance of the season in the Fast Five after qualifying fifth. During the race, he was passed by Stu Hayner, who was up from twenty-ninth on the grid. However, Justin Bell retired, and Archer got by Brian Simo for a fourth-place result.
Round six marked the halfway point in the 2001 Trans-Am season. A testing injury prevented Archer from participating in race six. His replacement for this event was Anthony Lazzaro. Earlier in the year, the 1999 Formula Atlantic champion drove the TWC Motorsports Chevrolet Corvette and finished seventh. Lazzaro started the forty-lap contest in eighth and finished fourth. A rcher returned for the Grand Prix of Portland and put the No. 36 Dodge Viper on the pole. Despite a flat tire before the green, he charged through the field for the victory.
Unfortunately, the team’s recent success at Portland didn’t follow them to Road America. Archer qualified second fastest; however, mechanical irregularities were found during the technical inspection and he would start in the thirtieth position. Every car started the race on dry tires, but half the field changed to rains before the green flag. Archer went off course a couple of times and was ninth when the race was red-flagged. It was on to Mid-Ohio, where he started second but fell to an eighth-place finish at the checkered flag.
The penultimate round of the 2001 Trans-Am season was held at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. For the second time this season, Archer captured the pole position. He finished ninth despite a spin and pit stop for dragging a bumper during the race. The finale took place at the Streets of Houston. In the qualifying session, Archer was fourth fastest. He crossed the finish line in fourth place but was awarded third after Michael Lewis was penalized for an on-track incident with Lou Gigliotti.
Tommy Archer returned to the Trans-Am Series for the first time since 1994. He took fourth place in the championship with 221 points. During the season, Archer earned his third series victory at Portland International Raceway. His other two wins came at Detroit in 1992 and Lime Rock in 1993. His season also included a runner-up result at Mosport International Raceway, and he ended 2001 with a third-place finish at the Streets of Houston. Archer was among the most consistent drivers during the year; he finished ninth or better in nine of his ten starts.

Cinjo Racing / Motorcity True Performance ended their first season with the Trans-Am Series Crew of the Year award, seven Fast Five appearances, three podiums, one of which was a victory and a fourth in the championship standings. An impressive year for a new car and team.

The team had aggressive plans for the 2002 season to win the Trans-Am Series championship. Unfortunately, they could not attract financial support for an entire campaign or even an abbreviated season. When it was clear that Cinjo Racing wouldn’t be participating in 2002, they decided to regroup and prepare for 2003; however, they failed to obtain the necessary backing.

1March 16Superflo 12 Hours of SebringDodge Viper65
2April 8Toyota Grand Prix of Long BeachDodge Viper64
3May 20Mosport International RacewayDodge Viper32
4June 16Tenneco Automotive Detroit Grand PrixDodge Viper219
5June 30Marconi Grand Prix of ClevelandDodge Viper54
6July 21Sears Point RacewayDodge Viper84
7August 4Portland International RacewayDodge Viper11
8August 18Road AmericaDodge Viper309
9August 25Mid-Ohio Sports Car CourseDodge Viper28
10September 9Mazda Raceway Laguna SecaDodge Viper19
11October 6Texaco/Havoline Grand Prix of HoustonDodge Viper43

Copyright Notice:
All content (photographs and text) appearing on this website are the exclusive property of © www.zoompics.com and are protected under International copyright laws. The subject matter on this website may not be reproduced, copied, stored or manipulated.

© Copyright 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024

Return to home page.