Tennessee-based Showtime Motorsports has added a pair of entries to the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli in the new production-based class to its line-up for the upcoming season.
The Xtreme GT (XGT) class is focused on 2016 and earlier FIA GT3 machines that are no longer eligible to race in other professional series and it slots in between the Trans Am and TA2 classes. The GT3 Audi R8s are particularly powerful performers in this category and Showtime Motorsports will be fielding two of these cars for the full season.
Team principal Ken Thwaits will be behind the wheel of the No. 5 Franklin Road Apparel Audi R8 GT3 Ultra. His teammate Kevin Long will drive the No. 15 Franklin Road Apparel Audi R8 LMS Ultra. Both cars will be powered by a 5.2-liter V10.
The new class adds a European dimension to the Trans Am scene, with the pair of Audis set to compete against marques like Aston Martin and Porsche. The new XGT class entries will further maximize performance by using advanced aerodynamic parts as homologated into the original FIA GT3 specification, thus boasting a higher level of downforce than is utilized in the SuperGT and GT class machines in Trans Am competition.
“We were new to Trans Am in 2019 and decided to run the race at Indianapoli,” explained team boss Thwaits. “We had so much fun running that race that we decided to run four more! For our 2020 season we are planning on running the full season in the new XGT class with our Audi R8 GT3 Ultra. We also purchased another Audi R8 in the off season so that we can run a second team car for customers wanting to compete in the top level sports car class.
At the end of the 2019 season, Trans Am Company President John Clagett explained the rationale behind the introduction of the XGT series:
“There are believed to be more than 100 GT3 race cars in North America that are no longer eligible to run in the professional series that they originally competed in,” he noted. “These cars have a lot of good life remaining in them, but there are not really any good places for those cars to race competitively. The Trans Am Series intends to deliver a professionally-run series for drivers to compete in these cars and fully exhibit their potential.”