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 six of the 2019 Trans Am championship for the Trans Am, Super Grand Touring and Grand Touring categories took place at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course during the B&L Transport 170 weekend. Seventeen drivers competed in a scheduled forty-five-lap race around Mid-Ohio’s 2.258-mile thirteen-turn road course.

The first lap into the ‘Esses’ at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for the Trans Am, Super Grand Touring and Grand Touring competitors. Leading the way is the pole- sitter, Ernie Francis, Jr. in the No. 98 Ford Mustang with backing from Frameless Shower Doors. Behind Francis is the other front row starter, Chris Dyson also racing a Mustang. Behind the two leaders is the Chevrolet Camaro of Doug Peterson and Adam Andretti in a Corvette.
Ernie Francis, Jr., driver of the No. 98 Ford Mustang has earned Trans Am titles in multiple classes – TA 2017-18, TA4 2016 and TA3A 2014-15. This season did not start well for the reigning champion. After the first two events, he had eighth and fourteenth place finishes. At Mid-Ohio, Francis led flag-to-flag to earn his second victory of the year. More importantly, he closed the points gap on the series leader, Chris Dyson, to five markers.
Mark Boden, of Fall-Line Motorsports, has transitioned from a successful amateur racer where he has won two Sports Car Club of America National titles to the professional ranks. In 2017, Boden captured the Trans Am 3 category championship. This season, he leads the Super Grand Touring with second-place finishes at Sebring and Road Atlanta and a victory at Lime Rock. At Mid-Ohio, he added another to the win column.
In 2011, Chris Dyson, along with Guy Smith, won the ALMS P1 championship. Dyson joined the Trans Am series on a fulltime basis in 2018 and finished third in the standings. He returned this season in a Ford Mustang and is leading the points with victories at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Lime Rock to his credit. At Mid- Ohio, Dyson chased the eventual winner, Ernie Francis, Jr. but could not make the pass and settled for second.
The Trans Am series uses a split-start procedure with the quicker Trans Am category receiving the Starter’s flag first. The second group includes the Super Grand Touring and Grand Touring competitors. The slower classes are entering the ‘Esses’ for the first lap of round six. In the lead is the No. 46 Porsche 991 GT3 Cup of the Super Grand Touring pole-sitter, Mark Boden. On the outside of Boden is the second-place starter, Ken Thwaits.
The round six podium for the Trans Am Super Grand Touring category. In the center is Mark Boden who piloted the Fall-Line Motorsports prepared Porsche 991 GT3 Cup. This was the point’s leader second victory of the season. To Boden’s right is Ken Thwaits who racked up his second consecutive runner-up finish. Completing the rostrum is Boden’s Fall-Line Motorsports teammate, Tim Kezman who also drove a Porsche.
The No. 45 Audi R8 was piloted by Ken Thwaits. Thwaits first event of the season was at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway where he started and finished second in Super Grand Touring. At Mid-Ohio, he was second quickest during the qualifying. Thwaits chased eventual class winner, Mark Boden but could not maintain the pace of the Porsche. With the race ending under caution, there was no opportunity for Thwaits to challenge Boden.
Adam Andretti is part of the Andretti clan. His father, Aldo is Mario’s twin brother and Adam’s brother is former open-wheel competitor, John Andretti. Andretti had previous experience in the series and this year is driving the Engineered Components Co./Anchor Bolt Chevrolet Corvette. His first race was at the Indy where he started and finished third. At Mid-Ohio, Andretti inherited another third-place result when Doug Peterson retired.
Another driver that did not begin his season until the Indianapolis Motor Speedway weekend was Tim Kezman. Driving the Lemons of Love Porsche 991 GT3 Cup, Kezman started on the Super Grand Touring pole and won the race. At Mid-Ohio, he was gridded third in class. Unfortunately, at this event, he was no match for his teammate, Mark Boden and the Audi R8 of Ken Thwaits – Kezman earned the final spot on the podium.
The top-three finishers in the Trans Am category for round six at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. On the left is the third-place finisher and driver of the Engineered Components Co./Anchor Bolt Chevrolet Corvette, Adam Andretti. On the right side of the podium is the points leader and runner-up, Chris Dyson. In the center, victorious for the second time this season is the reigning class champion, Ernie Francis, Jr.

12TAErnie Francis JrFrameless Shower Doors / Ford Mustang43
22TAChris DysonThetford/Norcold / Ford Mustang43
35TAAdam AndrettiAnchor Bolt / Chevrolet Corvette43
46TAAmy RumanMcNichols Co. / Chevrolet Corvette43
54TADavid PintaricKryderacing / Cadillac CTS42
69TASimon GreggDerhaag Motorsports / Chevrolet Corvette42
78TAKerry HittAdvanced Composite Products Inc / Cadillac CTS42
810SGTMark BodenBeverage Flavors / Porsche 991 GT3 Cup41
911SGTKen ThwaitsWilwood Brakes / Audi R8 LMS41
1012SGTTim KezmanLemons of Love / Porsche 991 GT3 Cup41
1113SGTTom HerbFall-Line Motorsports / Porsche 991 GT3 Cup41
1215SGTMilton GrantSentry Self Storage/Fairfield Inn Porsche / 991.3 GT3 Cup40
1319TABoris SaidSRI Performance / Dodge Challenger31
1417GTLarry FunkBusiness Advisory Services / Ford Mustang31
1514SGTBrian KleemanForgeline / Ford Mustang25
167TAJohn BaucomBaucom Motorspots / Ford Mustang22
173TADoug Peterson3Dimensional Services Group / Chevrolet Camaro9
DNS18TAJeff HinkleTechnical Realty Grp / Dodge Challenger-
DNS20SGTChris OutzenForgeline / Ford Mustang-

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