This Sunday, 34 Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli drivers representing all five classes (click here for entry list) are set to take the green flag at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca from the comfort of their own homes.
Sunday’s race (download app to watch) marks the opening round of the Trans Am by Pirelli Esports Championship, where significant real-world prizes are up for grabs. The top finishers over the course of the eight-week Trans Am by Pirelli Esports Championship are set to fight for a purse and prize package that is valued at more than $20,000. The Esports championship will be scored identically to the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli.
While his real-world racing record includes decades of success at tracks around the globe, Trans Am legend Boris Said (pictured at left) will be making his e-racing debut in Sunday’s doubleheader. To be prepared, the 16-time Trans Am winner got started last week with some practice behind the wheel at home.
“Last week was the first time I ever really did a simulator,” explained Said. “I have a $250 wheel and pedal setup with a monitor – nothing fancy. It should be fun. I don’t think I can win in the race, because I’m more ‘old school.’ I’ll have fun and give it my best. I’m getting a little better at it every day, but these kids that grew up doing this are good at it.”
Said raced four times in 2019 Trans Am competition, winning at VIR and finishing second at Road America.
“Trans Am is great to race in,” commented Said, who made his series debut in 1994. “The best cars in the world to race, and the most fun. I think I will be returning to Trans Am once we get back up and running. Pancho [Weaver] is building a new car, he’s talking about it, so I’ll wait and see but I hope so.”
Returning to the Trans Am by Pirelli Esports Championship roster is two-time Trans Am champion Cameron Lawrence. Lawrence swept the Trans Am Esports pilot doubleheader in March and is ready to defend his victories in the first of eight rounds of the Trans Am by Pirelli Esports Championship.
“I feel pretty good, but there’s going to be a lot of competition and more drivers in the upcoming events,” said Lawrence. “I ran some of the practice and test sessions. There have been a few more guys who have shown more speed, so I think it’s going to be a lot tougher than Lime Rock. Thomas Merrill, Tyler Kicera and Cameron Parsons are a few of the guys who’ve been pretty fast.
“Laguna is good, and the new platform is a big improvement, so the racing will be a lot better – and more fun. That will also level out the playing field a little bit.
“Sim racing will help us out when we get back to racing,” Lawrence continued. “It will keep us driving and keep us fresh when we don’t have access to the race tracks, versus staying at home and trying to do workouts.”
Not only does the line-up feature Trans Am legends and current stars, two Trans Am lineage drivers will continue the family tradition of Trans Am racing on Sunday.
Dylan Archer, son of Bobby Archer and nephew of Tommy Archer, added a new and virtual podium-earning chapter to the family history in his first Trans Am racing appearance during the Lime Rock Showdown e-race last month. Laying down the second-fastest lap in qualifying, Dylan placed on the podium in the opening race with a second-place finish, and placed in the top-five after starting from the back of the field in the inverted second-round grid.
The Archer brothers reigned over Trans Am for more than two decades, with a combined 99 starts, 63 top-five finishes and three wins.
Now the brothers have taken their motorsport experience to sim racing, coaching an iRacing team of 12 drivers led by 20-year-old Dylan Archer.
Carrying on the family name into virtual racing, Dylan has his eyes on the win he missed out on in March.
“After the test race we did at Lime Rock, running top-five and in top-10, I had strong expectations for this weekend,” said Dylan. “Then we did those test races the other day at WeatherTech Raceway, and it seemed a lot of other people picked up their pace quite a bit. I would be happy to be anywhere in the top five, but it can play out any way possible based on the test races. In racing, I can have a plan and it can be ruined within 15 seconds. This will be my first time racing at Laguna Seca. It’s kind of a learning game for me, but I’m sure it’s the same for everybody else.
“My goal is to work my way into a Trans Am car,” Dylan continued. “We’ve been going to the SVRA races for three years now, with my dad racing in the SVRA with the Viper. It’s a good group of guys, and it would be a dream come true to get into a Trans Am car.”
Another generational driver that will compete this Sunday is Hunter Pickett, grandson of longtime Trans Am driver Greg Pickett. The 25 year old has found great success in karting, most recently sweeping the Challenge of Americas opening event in January.
Hunter has a lot to live up to under the Trans Am banner. His grandfather is a legend in Trans Am, launching his Trans Am career back in 1975. Since then, Pickett has won 17 races in five different decades (70s, 80s, 90s, 00s, 10s). With a total 181 starts, Pickett plans to compete in his sixth decade of racing this season, but until then, his grandson will have to continue the family institution of winning online.
The field of current Trans Am stars, legends and series newcomers will race identically prepared Corvette C7.r GTLM machines on the Gear.Club SIM edition, a joint venture between Torque/UMG and Assetto Corsa.
Live coverage begins Sunday at 3:00 p.m. ET with live commentary from Jonathan Green and Ben Cissell, starting with a swift 10-minute qualifying session followed by two 20-minute main events. For added excitement, the second round will feature an inverted field.
Fans can stream the action by downloading the free Trans Am by Pirelli Racing app and via UMGGaming on Twitch https://www.twitch.tv/umggaming. The live stream will also be available on the series Facebook (www.facebook.com/gotransam) and YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/TheTransAmSeries).
Trans Am by Pirelli Esports Championship Schedule
April 19, 3 PM Eastern at WeatherTech Laguna Seca
April 26, 3 PM Eastern at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta
May 3, 3 PM Eastern at Lime Rock Park
May 10, 3 PM Eastern Track TBA
May 17, 3 PM Eastern Track TBA
May 24. 3 PM Eastern Track TBA
May 31, 3 PM Eastern Track TBA
June 7, 3 PM Eastern Track TBA