Seventy years of motorsports history will be represented during the Trans Am Memorial Day Classic as the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli returns to Lime Rock Park Lime Rock Park, May 24-27. Trans Am will be joined by the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA) on the weekend, making for a huge line-up of both modern and vintage race cars.
With a race on Saturday for the TA2 powered by AEM class, and then a Monday feature for the Trans Am and Super GT class machines, nearly 40 cars will be taking to the 1.53-mile track in the pair of 100-mile rounds.
Following a true Western showdown during Round 3 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca earlier this month, the TA2 powered by AEM drivers are on pace to deliver another action-packed race for fans on Saturday.
Returning to the roster after missing the last round is defending champion Rafa Matos, who will add another layer of drama to the TA2 race, as he looks to reclaim the top spot in the championship from Marc Miller. Matos swept the first part of the season, claiming back-to-back pole wins before sitting out the trip out west.
“I am really excited to be returning to Lime Rock,” said Matos. “I’ve been racing here since I moved to the United States. I have a lot of great memories here and really want to add another win to that list.
“Lime Rock is a technical track, so a good driver and a great set up make a huge difference,” Matos added. We are expecting a large field and it’s a short track, so that will be a huge factor in qualifying. It’s going to be interesting for sure.”
Miller, however, driving the No. 40 Prefix Stevens-Miller Racing Dodge Challenger, isn’t ready to surrender his newly earned position in the championship.
“The competition is very tough in TA2 and anything can happen,” Miller said. “My focus is to put maximum effort into working with Stevens-Miller Racing to continually improve our Prefix Dodge Challenger’s overall performance and to focus on maximizing points. We need to qualify better and lead laps this season to keep a firm grip on this championship lead.”
West Coast Trans Am Series driver Thomas Merrill will also make the coast-to-coast haul from California to Connecticut. In effort to capitalize on his success from the last round, Merrill poses a threat to the national drivers who need every point available to move up in the championship. In an outstanding display of patience and control, Merrill drove from last place to a podium finish in the TA2 race at WeatherTech Raceway. The California-native will wheel the No. 26 Mike Cope Race Cars Ford Mustang for Copeland Motorsports this weekend.
In TA, the Burtin Racing duo of Lawrence Loshak (No. 3 Elavon/Pennzoil Chevrolet Camaro) and Tomy Drissi (No. 8 Godzilla May 31/Lucas Oil Camaro) still reign over the class heading into Monday’s 100-mile or 65-minute feature, but Chris Dyson (photo above), Ernie Francis Jr. and Amy Ruman all have closed the gap on the season-long points leaders, with only four points separating second place from fifth.
“I just made a couple year deal with Burtin Racing and we’re shooting for the TA championship,” explained Drissi. “I call Lime Rock the bullring. It is the Bristol of road course racing – it is so tight and small. There are a lot of corners and you are always moving. This track was built back in the day for small American and import model cars like MGs and Datsuns…and some of the greatest racing has taken place at Lime Rock over the years.
“The track hasn’t got any bigger but the cars and power of the TA machines have!,” Drissi added. “And every time I come up to Lime Rock I can’t help but be reminded of Paul Newman; this was his track.”
Mechanical misfortunes plagued the first part of Francis’ season, but his luck turned around at Laguna Seca: The young Floridian dominated the weekend with a pole start and a first-place finish. Building off the momentum, the five-time Trans Am champion is focusing the rest of the season on consistent results to catapult him to the top of the standings.
“We have experience at Lime Rock so it should be a good weekend for the team,” said Francis, who pilots the TA No. 98 Frameless Shower Doors Ford Mustang. “The cars are extremely fast and it’ll be interesting to see how they handle on the uphill section of the track. We got the win at WeatherTech Raceway and we are looking to carry that momentum into Lime Rock.”
The weekend starts Friday with TA2 on-track testing alongside SVRA for 40 minutes starting 11:20 a.m. EDT. TA2 practice begins at 2:20 p.m. followed by a 20-minute qualifying at 5:00 p.m.
Saturday starts with a 40-minute TA/SGT test before the TA2 powered by AEM 100-mile (67 laps or 65 minutes, whichever comes first) feature race beginning at 12:55 p.m. EDT. The day finishes with TA/SGT official practice at 4:10 p.m.
TA/SGT wraps up the four-day race weekend on Monday with qualifying at 9:05 a.m. and the 100-mile (67 laps or 65 minutes, whichever comes first) feature starting at 12:50 p.m.
Fans are also invited on Saturday from 12:20-12:50 p.m. to the TA2 Fan Walk. Several other fan activities are also scheduled for Sunday. View full schedule and purchase tickets here.
Live timing and scoring is available at GoTransAm.com or on the Race Monitor app.