Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The 1966-1972 Trans-Am Series

My personal memories of the Sports Car Car Club of America's Trans-Am Series was from 1968-1972 and again in the 1980s.  I spectated a Trans-Am race at Elkart Lake Wisconsin, at Road America in 1969 and photographed one in the mid 80s at the same track. The info below is from Wikipedia.  Please forgive the odd paragraph breaks and spacing but doing a copy and paste from Wiki does not work very well.

The Trans-Am was essentially a stock car series on road courses.

The Trans-Am Series is an automobile racing series which was created in 1966 by
Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) President John Bishop. Originally known as the Trans-American Sedan Championship it has evolved over time from its original format as a manufacturers championship for modified racing sedans to its current form as a drivers championship open to GT style cars.
The series was formed at the dawn of the pony car era and was derived from the SCCA's A & B Sedan amateur Club Racing classes,[1] based upon commercially produced cars which had been modified for racing competition. Originally the series was open to FIA Group 2 Touring Cars[2] and it featured two classes, Over 2.0 Liter and Under 2.0 Liter, with both classes running together. The series was best known for competition among American V8 sedans such as the Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro, Plymouth Barracuda, Mercury Cougar, AMC Javelin, Pontiac Firebird, and Dodge Challenger in the 1960s and early 1970s. Marques such as Porsche, Alfa Romeo, Datsun, Mini Cooper, Saab, and Volkswagen competed in the series' Under 2.0 Liter category.

Beginnings (1966–1967)
Kwech/Andrey 1966 Trans-Am Championship Alfa Romeo GTA
At first, the Trans-Am cars were modified versions of their road version. The competition was divided into two classes- an "Under 2-Liter" class (predominantly European sedans) and the "Over 2 Liter" class, 111 inch wheel base or less and displacement limited to 5.0 liters (primarily American pony cars).
The first race was in 1966 at
Sebring International Raceway. The overall win went to Jochen Rindt driving an Alfa Romeo GTA (an Under 2-Liter entry), with Bob Tullius (driving a Dodge Dart) taking second overall and first in the Over 2-Liter class.
Allan Moffat in a 1600 cc Lotus Cortina won the third race at Bryar. Ford of Britain had full factory effort with the Alan Mann Lotus Cortinas. In 1966 the Over 2-Liter manufacturers' champion was Ford and the Under 2 Liter manufacturers' champion was Alfa Romeo, with Horst Kwech and Gaston Andrey's GTA scoring 39 of the 57 manufacturers' points for Alfa.
In 1967 Porsche lobbied the SCCA to reclassify the 911 as a sedan. Then dominated the Under 2-Liter field winning the manufacturers' championship over Alfa Romeo. In Over 2-Liter, Ford edged out Mercury to win the manufacturers' championship.

Golden era (1968–1972)

The Ford Mustang driven by George Follmer in the 1970 Trans-Am series.
Penske Racing campaigned Chevrolet Camaro Z28s through 1969, when he signed with American Motors to race the Javelin in 1970 and 1971. Mark Donohue would chalk up 20 race victories between 1967 and 1970.
In 1970, all of the American pony car manufacturers were represented with a factory team and top driving talent: Chevrolet had the Chaparral Team Camaro Z28 driven by Jim Hall, Ed Leslie, and Vic Elford. Ford's factory team was run by Bud Moore Engineering with Parnelli Jones and George Follmer the drivers. Plymouth hired All American Racers for their team, driven by Dan Gurney and Swede Savage. Dodge used Ray Caldwell's Autodynamics team; Sam Posey and occasionally Tony Adamowicz drove. Jerry Titus ran the Pontiac Team Firebird Trans Am. Penske Racing ran the effort for AMC Javelin, driven by Mark Donohue and Peter Revson. In 1971 all the American manufactures pulled out of the series except for AMC.

Below you see the Bud Moore owned,Parnelli Jones driven,Boss 302 1970 Ford Mustang. The image came from Hot Rod Magazine.

What do the three pictures below have to do with this? Absolutely nothing. I just decided to share some images from the now gone Lake Geneva, Wisconsin Raceway. 2007 I believe. Tim Sauter of the famous Wisconsin racing family drives the #52, and I have lost track of the other two chauffeurs.

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