The Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) introduced the Trans Am series in 1966. The championship was created during the introduction of Detroit’s ‘American Pony Car’ period. The Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro proved to be very popular with consumers and the best way for manufacturers to demonstrate their potential was ‘To race on Sunday and sell on Monday.’

In 1966, vehicle classification and rules were based on the SCCA’s A and B Sedan amateur classes. A Sedan was called the Over 2.0-Liter category. The cars competing in the group were limited to a 5.0-liter engine and provided a platform to showcase the new ‘Pony Cars.’ The Under 2.0-Liter category included vehicles from BMW, Alfa Romero, British Leyland and Porsche.

The Trans Am series and its regulations have evolved over time. The championship has undergone changes to the race formats, vehicle eligibility and rules governing the cars.

Currently, the races are 100-miles in length with no opportunity for a pit stop to change drivers or tires and refuel the car. Teams can also compete in two championships – Trans Am Championship and Trans Am West Coast Championship.

  • Trans Am Championship – This division opened the season at Sebring International Raceway during the first weekend of March. At the end of the month, teams competed at Road Atlanta. Round three would be at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca and include both championships. After the west coast swing teams would travel to Lime Rock Park, the temporary circuit at Detroit’s Belle Isle, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Road America, Watkins Glen International and Virginia International Raceway. The penultimate weekend at Circuit of the Americas would be the second event with their west coast counterparts and the finale would take place at Daytona International Raceway in November.
  • Trans Am West Coast Championship – The season started in April at Thunderhill Raceway Park and was followed two weeks later with an event at Auto Club Speedway. WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca hosted rounds for both championships. Then it was on to Sonoma Raceway and the penultimate event at Portland International Raceway. The finale for the west coast competitors would be another joint weekend – it would take place at Circuit of the Americas.

In 2019, there are four classes – Trans Am, Trans Am 2, Super Grand Touring and Grand Touring. Trans Am, Super Grand Touring and Grand Touring compete in the same event. Tran Am 2 drivers have their own race.

  • Trans Am (TA) – This is the series quickest class. These tube-frame race cars are powered by a naturally aspirated pushrod V8 engine which produces over 850-horsepower. From a technological standpoint the vehicles are kept quite simple – no superchargers, turbochargers, anti-lock braking systems or traction control. The body styles used are the Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro, Cadillac CTS-V, Chevrolet Corvette and Dodge Challenger.
  • Trans Am 2 (TA2) – These are also tube-frame chassis cars. Unlike the TA category, these vehicles use electronic fuel injection and intake restrictor plates to limit the horsepower to approximately 490. To keep expenses down the maximum price for shock absorbers, wheels and brake pads and calipers are set by the series officials. For example, shock absorbers are limited to a cost of $850 each. This category is also restricted to using a four-speed manual transmission with no overdrive. Teams are also prohibited from using superchargers, turbochargers, anti-lock braking systems or traction control. The most common body style is the Chevrolet Camaro but the Ford Mustang and Dodge Challenger are also eligible.
  • Super Grand Touring (SGT) – In 2019, TA3 was renamed SGT and includes a large number of production-based vehicles. Unlike TA and TA2, which is restricted to North American models, European manufacturers may also compete in this division. As a result, the list of vehicles eligible for SGT is long and ranges from the BMW M3 to the Dodge Viper. To maintain parity, some cars are fitted with restrictor plates or carry additional weight.
  • Grand Touring (GT) – The newly named Grand Touring was previously called TA4. A wide range of European and American vehicles are also eligible to compete in this group – the list is not as lengthy as the Super Grand Touring category. This is viewed as an entry-level category which only allows limited preparation. To equalize performance some of the cars may carry additional weight or the engine may be fitted with a restrictor place.

Round eight of the Trans Am 2 championship was held at the thirteen-turn 2.258-mile Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Twenty-seven drivers competed in a race that was shortened from forty-five to forty-laps due to caution periods.

Twenty-seven TA2 competitors enter the ‘Esses’ at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for the first lap of round eight. Squeezing by the pole-sitter, the Chevrolet Camaro of Rafa Matos, is the second-fastest qualifier, Marc Miller driving the No. 40 Dodge Challenger. Falling in behind Matos and Miller are the Chevrolet Camaros of third and fourth place starters, Scott Lagasse, Jr. and Misha Goikhberg.
The points leader, Marc Miller, started the season with runner-up finishes in the first three races. In round seven at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Miller scored his first victory of the season. At the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, he was quickest in both practice sessions but in qualifying, Miller fell to second place. Driving the No. 40 Dodge Challenger, he grabbed first place on lap-1 and led flag-to-flag.
Giving the winner, Marc Miller all he could handle was Scott Lagasse, Jr. Lagasse driving the No. 92 M1 Motorsports prepared Chevrolet Camaro was third quickest in qualifying. At the start of the contest, he was behind the Ford Mustang of the pole-sitter, Rafa Matos. On lap-2, Lagasse muscled his way by Matos for second place. He challenged the leader Marc Miller for the remainder of the but had to settle for a runner-up finish.
Rafa Matos joined the Trans Am series full-time in 2018 driving a TA2 Chevrolet Camaro and won the title. Matos opened this season with victories at Sebring International Raceway and Road Atlanta but he wasn’t entered at Laguna Seca which accounted for his third place in the standings. At Mid-Ohio, Matos put his Camaro on the pole but fell to as low fifth place during the event only to fight back for a third at the checkered flag.
West Coast resident, Thomas Merrill has only entered three races this year but when he does make appearance his presence is felt. Merrill’s first event was at Road Atlanta where he qualified second but finished twenty-eighth. In the next two rounds – Laguna Seca and Lime Rock – he grabbed first-place finishes. Merrill qualified fifth quickest at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and ran as high as third before finishing fourth.
Russian-Canadian competitor, Misha Goikhberg is a very versatile driver. In addition to participating in the Trans Am series this year, he is competing in IMSA driving a Cadillac DPi-V.R and he also races in his local F1600 championship. Goikhberg was fourth fastest in qualifying driving the No. 10 BC Race Cars prepared Chevrolet Camaro. During the first lap of the race at Mid-Ohio, he fell to seventh place but rebounded to finish fifth.
One TA2 competitor, Aaron Quines and three NASCAR XFINITY drivers – Justin Haley, Brandon Jones and Christopher Bell - were performing double duty – entering both the TA2 and XFINITY races. Quickest of this group was Haley piloting a Ford Mustang prepared by Mike Cope Race Cars. He qualified sixth fastest but failed to finish after completing twenty-two of a scheduled forty-five-laps, he was classified twenty-second.
Another successful TA2 driver competing in multiple series is Dillon Machavern. Machavern is participating in the WeatherTech Sportscar Championship driving a BMW and has he raced a Porsche in the Michelin Pilot Challenge. Currently, he is second in the Trans Am 2 standings despite failing to score points at Laguna Seca. Mid-Ohio proved to be a disappointing outing as he started eighth and finished twenty-third.
Lawless Alan has a comfortable lead in the Wilwood Rookie of the Year standings. Driving the No. 52 AutoParkIT sponsored Ford Mustang, Alan is ranked fifth in the points championship. Despite his rookie status, in 2018 he was a NASCAR Late Model track champion and is participating in several NASCAR K&N Series events. At the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Alan qualified tenth but was in sixth place at the checkered flag.

12TA2Marc MillerStevens-Miller Racing / Dodge Challenger40
23TA2Scott Lagasse JrM1 Racecars / Chevrolet Camaro40
31TA2Rafa Matos3Dimensional Services Group / Chevrolet Camaro40
45TA2Thomas MerrillBig Diehl Racing / Ford Mustang40
54TA2Misha GoikhbergBC Race Cars / Chevrolet Camaro40
610TA2Lawless AlanAutoParkIT / Ford Mustang40
712TA2Aaron PettipasBC Race Cars / Chevrolet Camaro40
814TA2Elias AndersonSampson Race/Harris Hill / Ford Mustang40
913TA2Tom SheehanLTK Insulation Technologies / Ford Mustang40
1021TA2Roberto Sabato6th Gear Garage / Ford Mustang40
1124TA2Alex WrightStevens Miller Racing / Dodge Challenger40
1225TA2Brian SwankBerryman Products / Chevrolet Camaro40
1322TA2Drew NeubauerPalfinger Liftgates / Dodge Challenger40
1411TA2Doug Peterson3Dimensional Services Group / Ford Mustang40
1528TA2Mitch MarvoshWolf Entertainment / Chevrolet Camaro39
1626TA2John CloudUltimate Headers / Chevrolet Camaro39
1716TA2Barry BoesSampson Race/Harris Hill / Ford Mustang39
1827TA2Tim GrayRyan Companies / Ford Mustang39
1919TA2Riley HerbstMike Cope Race Cars / Ford Mustang37
209TA2Max NuferManufacturing News / Chevrolet Camaro25
2117TA2Keith ProciukHP Tuners / Chevrolet Camaro24
226TA2Justin HaleyMike Cope Race Cars / Ford Mustang22
238TA2Dillon MachavernLiqui-Moly / Ford Mustang21
247TA2Ty GibbsMike Cope Race Cars / Ford Mustang15
2515TA2Aaron QuineQuine Racing / Chevrolet Camaro15
2618TA2Jacob MoslerM1 Racecars / Chevrolet Camaro10
2720TA2Steven LustigThe Autosport Group / Chevrolet Camaro5
2823TA2Jeff / Dodge ChallengerDid Not Start
2929TA2Brandon JonesMike Cope Race Cars / Chevrolet CamaroDid Not Start
3030TA2Christopher BellMike Cope Racing / Ford MustangDid Not Start

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