Set to add a 49th chapter in the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli history at Road America, the thundering machines will take to the icon 4.04-mile, 14-turn circuit in Wisconsin this Saturday with a doubleheader event that features several storylines to follow.
The fourth round of the 2020 Trans Am championship will be staged as part of the NASCAR Xfinity Series weekend and will see the action open with the Trans Am, Xtreme GT, SuperGT and GT class race on Saturday, with the 25-lap (100-mile) Muscle Car Challenge featuring the TA2 powered by AEM class following later in the afternoon.
While the full live streaming experience won’t be available at Road America, users of the Trans Am by Pirelli Racing App (click here to download) will have exclusive access to a new beta test feature. By logging onto the app, fans can access five onboards to live stream from the driver’s point of view. Chris Dyson, Ken Thwaits and Tomy Drissi will be live in the TA/XGT/SGT/GT feature while Cameron Lawrence and Doug Peterson will be streaming in the TA2 race.
Two Wisconsin natives, Cliff Ebben and Denny Lamers will compete on Saturday in the TA/XGT/SGT/GT feature. Ebben’s No. 36 StumpfFord/McMahonGrp/LamersRcng Ford Mustang is a staple on the legendary Wisconsin road course. Competing with Trans am since 2001, Ebben always has a strong showing on his home track. The Appleton local got his maiden Trans Am victory in 2009 at Road America and his first career pole in 2015 on the same circuit.
Hailing from Fremont, Lamers will once again be wheeling the No. 66 StumpfFord/McMahonGrp/LamersRcng Ford Mustang. Over the last few years, Lamers has made his home track of Road America an annual return to Trans Am.
Ernie Francis Jr. opened the 2020 season with a pair of victories at Sebring and Mid-Ohio, but the Brainerd round saw his lead trimmed considerably after a sixth-place finish. Brainerd winner Tomy Drissi is now just four points back, with two-time series champion Amy Ruman just 12 markers adrift of Drissi ahead of the Road America event weekend.
“We always have a strong performance at Road America,” said Francis Jr. “We were here two weeks ago for a tire test and got the car pretty dialed in. Our goal is to be fast right off the trailer. Road America is the only place on the Trans Am schedule where we can carry speed all away around the track. This place is wide open and you can really feel your speed here.”
Ken Thwaits (No. 5 Franklin Road Apparel Audi R8 GT3 Ultra) will once again go to battle with XGT Championship rival Erich Joiner (No. 10 Championship Coffees and Tool Porsche 911 GT3 R). Having gained valuable points and experience over his main adversary at Brainerd, Thwaits is looking to claim the win at Road America he missed out on in 2019.
“Brainerd was probably the best weekend we’ve had with the Audis since the start of the year, not just because we won, but because we’ve begun to see just how fast we can be. It was great to be as quick as some of the TA cars, and hopefully there’s more to come.”
Thwaits’ team Showtime Motorsports, will bring another Audi R8 LMS Ultra to compete at Road America with Josh Hill behind the wheel.
“I’m thrilled to have Josh joining me on the grid, not least because there’s the possibility of a Showtime 1-2, Josh is quick and we’ve got our work cut out,” said Showtime Motorsports team principal Thwaits. “Last week we took both cars down to test at Road Atlanta — he progressed the lap times every session. We are excited to have him onboard at Road America.”
Last year at Road America in the SGT class, Lee Saunders (No. 84 Landsearch LLC Dodge Viper) took the win. Coming off a huge victory at Brainerd, Saunders looks to continue his winning streak at a track that’s given him so much success in the past.
Adrian Wlostowsk will return to his No. 96 F.A.S.T. Auto Ford Mustang at Road America in the SGT class after switching to his GT-1 Corvette at Brainerd following mechanical issues at Brainerd. Aaron Pierce will play Ironman this weekend, pulling double-duty racing in both the SGT race (No. 26 LogicalSystems/SamPierceChevy Chevrolet Corvette) and the TA2 100-mile feature (No. 2 Sam Pierce Chevrolet Chevrolet Camaro).
In the GT class, Tim Horrell (No. 45 Breathless Racing Porsche GT4 Clubsport) will round out the 22-car filed for the TA/XGT/SGT/GT race.
While a relative newcomer to Trans Am, the restrictions forced upon the world during the pandemic provided Tyler Kicera an opportunity to make a name for himself in the Trans Am by Pirelli Esports Championship. Earning five wins and a runner-up finish in the championship, Kicera was in the conversation every week, taking part in a number of dramatic finishes all the way to the final event.
Kicera’s Esports success caught the eye of sponsors, now the Esports standout is eyeing a real-world return to the series behind the wheel of the No. 4 Carbotech Brakes Ford Mustang at Road America.
“To say I’m excited to get behind the wheel again is a huge understatement,” Kicera said. “All of my earlier 2020 racing plans have been postponed or canceled. I suffered a pretty bad right ankle fracture about 10 months ago and haven’t been in a race car since, so I’ve had to wait a long time. I need to be realistic about what to expect, but I’m optimistic that if I can keep my nose clean and survive to the end, we can earn a solid finish.”
Kicera’s small family team, consisting of his father (Vic Kicera), grandfather (Bob Filmore) and best friend (Dan Spangler) have some testing planned in the interim and are eager to make the trip from their home base in eastern Pennsylvania to legendary track in Elkhart Lake.
The weekend ends with the TA/XGT/SGT/GT 100-mile feature starting at 8:00 a.m. Central, followed by TA2 powered by AEM Muscle Car Challenge starting at 2:15 p.m. Central.
For live timing and scoring, event photos and post-race recap videos visit GoTransAm.com. For live race updates follow @GoTransAm on Twitter.