After a 15-year hiatus, the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli returns to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca for the Trans Am SpeedFest this weekend. The series is back in a big way with nearly 50 cars entered for the visit to the Monterey Peninsula event. A large mix of TA, TA2 powered by AEM, SuperGT and GT classes from both the Trans Am National and West Coast championships will thunder through the Corkscrew this weekend.
The series initiated a growth strategy on the West Coast three years ago with the launch of the West Coast Championship, and has grown the 2019 National Championship schedule to include the visit to the iconic track this weekend. With 2.238 miles that rockets through 180 feet of elevation changes, WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca is one that is high on the list of every driver in the field as a both a bucket list track as well as a must win race.
“I think I speak for everyone in this paddock when I say that Trans Am is thrilled to be making our return to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca,” said Trans Am Company president John Clagett. “We’ve had continued growth for the West Coast Championship, and expanding our National Championship to include a venue like this where Trans Am has so much history is something that we are very excited about. We’ve got a great weekend in store and are eager to get back on track here!”
Leading that list in TA competition is championship leader Lawrence Loshak. Driving the gold Burton Racing No. 3 Elavon / Pennzoil Chevrolet Camaro, Loshak aims to defend his undefeated season, and claim the first hat trick string of victories in TA since Ernie Francis Jr accomplished the feat in 2017 two separate times.
“Every time I think about hustling one of these TA cars up the hill and down the corkscrew I get goosebumps,” said Loshak. “With the challenging layout and the huge field expected, it’s going to be absolutely insane. We’re still working hard, maybe harder than ever. Back-to-back poles and wins are a huge achievement, but it now puts a target on our backs. But this Burtin Racing team is unbelievable, and maybe, just maybe we’ll make it a hat trick!”
Fresh off a win last weekend in the Trans Am West Coast Championship, Simon Gregg enters Round 3 fighting for dual championship points in both the National and West Coast series. Gregg has a commanding lead in the TA West Coast Championship, topping the season-long points race by 32 points over veteran driver Greg Pickett. With Pickett suffering a mechanical setback at Auto Club Speedway that will keep his team from competing this weekend, Gregg can anticipate that the points gap to be even larger by the end of the weekend.
Building on his podium start to the 2019 season, CD Racing driver Chris Dyson is relishing his return to Laguna Seca this weekend as he’s got pole and race-winning experience on the California circuit that he will look to convert into new hardware on board his Plaid-sponsored Ford Mustang.
“I have a lot of experience at Laguna Seca,” said Dyson. “The Trans Am cars have 850 horsepower, they are very fast, they’re a lot to control, and Laguna Seca tends to be fairly low grip, so I think it will be a good challenge for all of us. I’ve always enjoyed racing there and our team has done well. We’ve learned a lot from the first two races so I’m optimistic about this weekend. Burtin Racing has won the first two races, but I think we have an excellent shot to win this one.”
With TA2 reigning champion Rafa Matos not attending the Trans Am Speedfest, the top step in the TA2 class is wide open for any of the 26 TA2 drivers to claim the California gold. Leading the list of those looking to make the most of the weekend is Marc Miller, who sits second in the TA2 points. The driver of the No. 40 SMR Prefix Dodge Challenger is eager to return to where he made his GT car debut.
“I am really looking forward to Laguna Seca,” said the Michigan native Miller. “Sitting second in the championship, I’m hungry to leave Laguna with maximum points, but I can’t take too many chances as the track isn’t very forgiving. I ran my first-ever GT race here in 2015 in a Dodge Viper and have raced here many times over the past 10 years, but the TA2 is a different animal and it will be a real challenge to get the win this weekend.”
Miller isn’t the only TA2 racer looking to make the most of the visit to the track long known as Laguna Seca as the track also offers the opportunity for West Coast drivers like TA2 rookie Michele Abate to see how she measures up to the robust field of National Championship competitors making the haul out to the sunshine state.
Fans are also invited on Saturday for a Fan Walk before the feature race from 12:10-12:45 p.m. where drivers will be available for autographs and cars will be on display for photos.
The Trans Am SpeedFest will commence Sunday with a massive dose of roaring American muscle cars, featuring an early morning qualifying and a 70-minute race from the stout 43-car TA2 powered by AEM field starting at 1:10 p.m. PT. Before the race from 12:05-12:45 p.m. ET, fans can get an up-close look at the cars and meet drivers during the Fan Walk.