The Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli is set for its 33rd visit to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course during the June 26-28 Vintage Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio.
Trans Am made its Mid-Ohio debut as part of its second season, with Jerry Titus winning in a Ford Mustang fielded by the legendary Carroll Shelby. Roger Penske took back-to-back victories in 1968-69, with Mark Donohue and Ronnie Bucknum piloting his Chevrolet Camaros. Other winners during the “golden years” were George Follmer, who won for Bud Moore in a Mustang in both 1970 and 1971, and Milt Minter, who triumphed in a Herb Adams Pontiac Firebird in 1972.
After a nine-year hiatus, Trans Am returned in 1982, with Elliott Forbes-Robinson winning in a Joe Huffaker Pontiac Trans-Am. Willy T. Ribbs claimed victory in 1983, driving Neil DeAtley’s Camaro.
Trans Am ran 10 consecutive seasons beginning in 1985. Jack Roush won four of them, with Wally Dallenbach (1985 in a Mercury Capri), Scott Pruett (1987 in a Mercury Merkur XR4Ti), Dorsey Schroeder (1989 in a Ford Mustang), and Tommy Kendall (1994 in a Mustang). Greg Pickett (1986 and 1992 in a Camaro) and Darin Brassfield (1990-91 in a Rocketsports Oldmobile Cutlass) were two-time winners, while Jack Baldwin triumphed in 1993 in Buz McCall’s Camaro and Hans Stuck won in 1988 in a Group 44 Audi Quattro.
“I always enjoyed racing at Mid-Ohio, and I always felt I had a chance to win there,” Brassfield said. “We spent a lot of time there testing — it was one of Rocketsports’ test tracks. I also won a couple of times there in IMSA. The key was probably having a well-balanced car. It was also relatively hard on brakes, because the backstraight is downhill. Even though it seems you’re turning right all the time, there are also significant left-handers that mean a lot.”
The series raced six times over the next two decades. Paul Gentilozzi won three straight times with three different makes: 1998 (Corvette), 1999 (Mustang) and 2001 (Jaguar XKR). Butch Leitzinger triumphed in 2002 in a Tom Gloy Corvette, while Jorge Diaz Jr. won in 2009 in a Jaguar XKR.
Trans Am returned in 2012, and has competed at Mid-Ohio annually since. Ernie Francis is riding a six-year winning streak (coinciding with his championships), winning in TA3 in 2014-15; TA4 in 2016; and TA from 2017-19.
“Honestly, I just can’t wait to get back to real racing — I don’t care which track it is,” Francis said. “I’ve just been sitting here staring at my race car, getting ready to get back behind the wheel again. I have a lot of good memories of racing at Mid-Ohio, and it seems every time we go back there we get pretty good new ones. They’ve all been pretty good victories. Last year was nice. We had Boris Said out there and a bunch of other drivers who were fast. That made for a nice victory for us.”
Simon Gregg is a two-time Mid-Ohio winner, scoring in 2012 and 2016 in Jim Derhaag’s Corvette. Other TA winners include Cliff Ebben in 2013 (Mustang); Doug Peterson in 2014 (Corvette); and Paul Fix in 2015 (Corvette).
In TA2, races were won by Bob Stretch (2012), Cameron Lawrence (2013), Adam Andretti (2014), Gar Robinson (2015), Lawrence Loshak (2016), Tony Buffomante (2017), Rafa Matos (2018) and Marc Miller (2019). Miller won in a Dodge Challenger and Buffomante in a Ford Mustang; the other TA2® races were won by Chevrolet Camaros.
Mark Boden is also a three-time winner at the circuit, in TA3 in 2017 and 2018 in addition to SGT in 2019, driving a Porsche 991 GT3 Cup.
The weekend kicks off on Thursday for Trans Am with a mixed-class test. Friday opens with an official practice with split qualifying sessions in the afternoon for TA/XGT/SGT/GT, followed by a late practice session for the TA2 group.
Saturday TA/XGT/SGT/GT opens the day with a 100-mile (or 65 minutes) feature starting at 1:25 p.m. Eastern, followed by a 20-minute TA2 qualifying at 5:55 p.m. Eastern. The weekend concludes on Sunday with the TA2 100-mile race (or 65 minutes) at 1:45 p.m. Eastern.
Fans unable to attend the event won’t miss out on the Trans Am action which will be live streamed from the Trans Am by Pirelli Racing App (download HERE).
Streams will begin five minutes before the start of each race on Saturday and Sunday.