The Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli roars into Sebring International Raceway this weekend with a huge entry list of 68 cars to open the 2022 racing season. For Saturday’s feature, there are 13 entries in TA, four in SGT and three in GT, for a total of 20.
TA2 has 48 competitors entered, which composes the largest TA2 field to ever take the green flag at Sebring, and the second biggest TA2 field of all time. The current top-five largest TA2 fields are:
1. Circuit of The Americas (2021): 51
2. Road Atlanta (2015): 38
3. Road America (2021): 38
4. Music City Grand Prix (2021): 38
5. Sebring International Raceway (2016): 35
Tradition continues at Sebring International Raceway
The Trans Am Series continues its tradition of commencing the season at the place that started it all, Sebring International Raceway. In 1966, Sebring was the home to the first ever Trans Am event, launching what has become the longest-running professional road racing series in North America. Opening the season at Sebring has become a modern-era tradition, as it has served as the first event of the year for the series since 2013.
18-inch Pirelli P Zero tires to hit the track this weekend
In November, Pirelli Tire North America announced the introduction of 18-inch tires for the Trans Am Series. The tires, which more closely align with the road tire production process, will have a reduced sidewall, creating a low-profile look popular on performance vehicles. The new tire will improve driveability and allow for bigger brakes on the race cars. Pirelli’s P Zero tire made its debut at Sebring in 2017 when it began its role as the Official Tire of Trans Am.
The tires will be mounted to the brand-new Forgeline TA3R wheel, as Forgeline begins its multi-year deal as an Authorized Wheel Supplier of Trans Am.
Trans Am Series eaces to air on CBS Sports Network in 2022
The Trans Am Series recently announced a new television package to air this year’s races in prime time on CBS Sports Network.
The network will air all 12 TA2 races in a 90-minute format, as well as 11 TA/XGT/SGT/GT events as 60-minute episodes. For this weekend’s events, TA2 will air on Thursday, March 3 at 7:30 p.m. ET, followed by the TA, XGT, SGT and GT event on Sunday, March 6 at 10:30 a.m. ET.
Trans Am races to stream live for free, no app required
For those wishing to tune in live, the entire line-up of SpeedTour events will stream for free on the SpeedTour TV YouTube page. You can also watch all Trans Am event activity on the Trans Am YouTube page and Facebook page.
Previous Sebring victors return for another trophy
There are a number of past Sebring winners who will take the green flag in Saturday’s season opener with the hopes of bringing home another victory.
• 2021 TA class champion Chris Dyson, who kicked off his dominant season with a Sebring victory, returns to defend his win and his title in the No. 20 ALTWELL Ford Mustang.
• Lee Saunders (2015 TA3I, 2016 TA3, 2019 SGT and 2020 SGT winner) has four trophies to defend in his No. 84 Landsearch LLC Dodge Viper in the SGT class.
• 2015 TA class winner Amy Ruman returns in her family team’s No. 23 McNichols Co. Chevrolet Corvette to recapture a win in the class.
• 2015 TA3A victor Todd Napieralski is entered in the SGT class in his No. 39 Total Performance Racing Camaro.
Trans Am Test Day draws several competitors
A number of drivers in the TA class took advantage of the open test at Sebring at the beginning of February. Champion Chris Dyson of CD Racing, Amy Ruman of Ruman Racing, Showtime Motorsports’ Ken Thwaits and Paul Menard, and Kryderacing’s David Pintaric all hit the track in preparation for the 2022 season.
“It was crucial that we got some laps in on the new tires before the season gets underway, and Sebring was the ideal place to get it done,” said Ruman. “We have a ton of data and miles there, so it’s very useful for comparisons and setup factors.
“There seem to be significant improvements in the new 18-inch 2022 Pirelli tires over the 16-inch tires that we have been running on. The smaller sidewall has better ride control. The new compound has increased the overall grip, which has made the steering and input more responsive, in addition to making us faster through the corners while enhancing the overall comfort. I’m looking forward to seeing increased performance throughout the race. It should be an interesting season.”
Trans Am history: 50 years ago
In Trans Am in 1972, there were only two 1972 model year cars utilized, as most competitors ran vehicles from previous seasons. Those cars were Herb Adams’ Pontiac Firebird and John Buffum’s English Ford Escort.
Adams’ ’72 Firebird was painted black with a chrome No. 0 on the doors, making him the first in his lineage to race that striking scheme.
Buffum’s Escort came from Ford of England and had a length of 156 inches with a 94.5-inch wheelbase. At 1775 pounds, the tiny vehicle was about the same size and weight as an Alfa GTV. The stock engine was only rated at 120 hp, but Denis Turpin, the team’s engine builder trained by Brian Hart, easily extracted 200 hp.
Returning Sebring race winners seeking another victory
Several drivers in Sunday’s feature return to Sebring with the goal of tallying another victory at the track.
• 2021 TA2 event winner Thomas Merrill returns to defend his victory in his No. 26 Mike Cope Racing Ford Mustang.
• Two-time TA2 class champion (2018, 2021) and 2019 TA2 race victor Rafa Matos will take the green flag in his No. 88 3Dimensional Services Group Ford Mustang.
• 2017 TA2 race winner Dillon Machavern is entered in the No. 17 SLR/M1 Racecars Chevrolet Camaro.
• 2015 TA2 winner Cameron Lawrence returns in his No. 6 Franklin Road Apparel Camaro.
Eight former TA2 drivers in 2022 Daytona 500
In addition to being one of the most competitive and exciting road racing series in North America, TA2 has proven to be an effective training platform for drivers who ultimately race at the most elite levels of motorsports in the world. This past weekend, eight former TA2 drivers competed in the 2022 Daytona 500 in the NASCAR Cup Series. Harrison Burton, Tyler Reddick, Christopher Bell, Austin Dillon, Justin Haley, Daniel Suarez, Ty Dillon and Chase Briscoe all took the green flag in the “Great American Race” on Sunday. Chase Briscoe was the highest finisher of the group, taking the checkered flag in third.
11 young guns to compete for $20,000 in 2022
The Trans Am Series announced in December that the TA2 class will award a $20,000 cash prize to the top points-earning National TA2 driver who is under 25 years old in 2022. To qualify for the Peter Gregg Foundation Young Gun Award, drivers can be as young as 14 and as old as 24 by the end of the 2022 season. There are 11 drivers currently eligible who are licensed to compete this season, and nine are racing this weekend:
• Darin Mock
• Dylan Archer
• Robert Noaker
• Connor Zilisch
• William Sawalich
• Jack Wood
• Connor Mosack
• Evan Slater
• Rhett Barkau
Lawless Alan, and Jack Rinke are eligible, but not currently entered in this weekend’s event.
Open Sebring test brings TA2 competitors from far and wide
This month’s test at Sebring gave several drivers and teams the opportunity to shake things down before the start of the 2022 season. Peterson Racing brought champion Rafa Matos, as well as Doug Peterson, Adam Andretti and development driver Laurent Graziana. Stevens-Miller Racing brought Tyler Kicera and Young Gun Evan Slater. Showtime’s Cameron Lawrence and Carl Rydquist also hit the track. Other drivers testing included Scott Borchetta (Scott Borchetta Racing), Tom Sheehan (Damon Racing), Marc Austin (MAD Sim Lab Racing), John Cloud (Ultimate Headers Racing), Curt Vogt (Cobra Automotive) and BC Race Cars’ Misha Goikhberg.
BC Race Cars faced challenging conditions, loading the car in negative 4-degree Fahrenheit temperatures in Ontario, Canada and making the nearly 3,000-mile trip through snow and poor road conditions to arrive in sunny Sebring. The team’s other driver, Michele Abbate, prepped in Nevada.
“I’m really looking forward to Sebring,” said Abbate. “Although I haven’t been on the full track, I have been prepping for it. I recently bought a new realistic sim system and computer, so I will be as prepared as I can be.”
Length: 3.74 Miles
Layout: 17-Turn Road Course
Race Direction: Clockwise
Pole Position: Driver’s Left
Podium: Victory Circle (Near Turn 17/Pit In Bridge)
Qualifying: Friday, February 25
TA: 3:50 p.m. – 4:05 p.m. ET
XGT/SGT/GT: 4:10 p.m. – 4:25 p.m. ET
Race: Saturday, February 26
1:00 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. ET
Race Length: 27 laps or 75 minutes
Qualifying: Saturday, February 26
5:45 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. ET
Race: Sunday, February 27
1:00 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. ET
Race Length: 27 laps or 75 minutes