Massive area anticipated for Heacock Traditional Gold Cup at VIR
After a mid-season break, the Trans Am Sequence introduced by Pirelli returns to motion at Virginia Worldwide Raceway September 25-27 for the Heacock Traditional Gold Cup with a singular doubleheader.
Watch a preview video of the occasion under:
Not like any weekend earlier than in Trans Am historical past, Trans Am will maintain separate races for the TA/XGT/SGT/GT and TA2 powered by AEM lessons on Saturday, September 26, after which a mixed occasion on Sunday, September 27 for all 5 lessons.
Sunday’s 100-mile race will characteristic a three-way cut up begin with TA taking the inexperienced first, adopted by TA2, then the XGT/SGT/GT lessons. The grid for the 51-car area will likely be primarily based on quickest lap time by class set in Saturday’s races.
The 2-day race occasion will likely be stay streamed on the Trans Am by Pirelli Racing App.
Tight Trans Am factors battle
Six-time title winner Ernie Francis Jr. leads the Trans Am factors championship by simply 10 factors forward of Tomy Drissi (No. 8 Lucas Oil Chevrolet Camaro). Whereas Francis Jr. is the lone four-time winner at VIR (profitable in TA3 American Muscle in 2014-15; TA4 in 2016; and Trans Am in 2017), the Florida native has struggled in his previous two visits to place the No. 98 One South Florida Wealth Advisors Ford Mustang on the purpose, ending 14th in 2018 and second final yr behind legendary TA driver Boris Mentioned.
Drissi can also be in search of redemption of kinds after a devastating last-lap spin at Street America took him out of first-place competition. Trying to make use of the double-points weekend as a chance to shut the hole on Francis Jr., Drissi and his Burton Racing crew are targeted on taking the checkered at VIR.
“Going into the weekend with two races to run is an exhilarating problem,” Drissi mentioned. “I do know all of us had some further time between races since Watkins Glen was canceled however everybody on the Burtin Racing crew has been placing the trouble into getting ready for this chance.”
Whereas Ernie Francis Jr. and Drissi have padded a small hole in factors forward of the weekend, they’ve heavy hitters sitting in third, fourth and fifth able to pounce on the chance to take both of their locations on prime.
Lengthy-time Trans Am driver Simon Gregg (No. 59 Derhaag Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro) will likely be aiming for a repeat of his 2013 VIR victory, driving from a pole-position begin to a dominant first-place end. Gregg is third within the championship with 90 factors earned up to now.
Chris Dyson has struggled with inconsistent outcomes this season stemmed largely from mechanical points. However the 2019 Trans Am runner-up’s luck rotated at Street America as he shook Drissi on the ultimate lap to run away along with his first win of the season. Driving that wave of success, Dyson might very properly flip the tables on the championship at VIR with two possibilities at a victory.
Amy Ruman is fifth within the TA championship, solely two factors behind Dyson, even after struggling a big blow to her championship marketing campaign at Street America the place she didn’t begin as a consequence of a mechanical situation that flared up on the gird.
Throughout her lengthy multi-championship historical past with Trans Am, the highest step at VIR has eluded Ruman, however that is the primary time in her Trans Am profession that she is going to get two possibilities in the identical weekend to place the No. 23 McNichols Co Chevrolet Corvette within the winners circle.
“We’ve actually taken benefit of the break within the schedule, the crew has gone by the automotive, made some adjustments, and we had been capable of get some testing in,” mentioned Ruman. “The Street America race was an enormous disappointment for us, our followers, and our sponsors, it killed me to not race after a robust fourth place exhibiting in qualifying. This weekend goes to be busy and difficult, however we want to have two constant prime finishes and acquire some worthwhile factors.”
Returning VIR champion Boris Mentioned is the darkish horse as a late entry to the weekend. At all times a wild card, Mentioned, whose first win at VIR with Trans Am was in a Ford Mustang in 2002, is seeking to upset the championship, driving the No. 2 WeaverRcng/Strategies/SRIPerfor Dodge Challenger. (Video of Mentioned’s 2019 Win)
“VIR is a good monitor,” Mentioned commented. “My first win was additionally the a hundredth for the Ford Mustang that was cool. Final yr, we had an actual good time. We ran off and hid — there’s nothing incorrect with that. We examined there two weeks in the past, shook the brand new automotive down and every little thing ran good, so we’re going again for the race. It’s a brand new automotive. They offered the automotive that received final yr to Adam Andretti, so he simply completed a brand new one.”
With the winner receiving 30 factors, the quickest qualifier incomes three factors and a bonus level awarded for main a lap and one other extra level for main essentially the most laps, any of those 5 drivers might find yourself on prime after Sunday’s double-header.
The dynamic XGT/SGT/GT creates on Sunday
On a number of tracks this season, the brand new XtremeGT class has been sooner than some Trans Am and TA2 vehicles. It will create an attention-grabbing dynamic on Sunday because the XGT vehicles will take the inexperienced with the SuperGT and GT lessons within the third begin group.
Main the XGT championship is Ken Thwaits, who will likely be renewing his rivalry with Erich Joiner. It’s an all German duopoly with Thwaits piloting the No. 5 Franklin Street Attire Audi R8 LMS Extremely towards the No. 10 Championship Coffees and Software Porsche 911 GT3R of Joiner.
One other dozen vehicles make up the SGT and GT group. SGT frontrunner Lee Saunders returns to VIR within the No. 84 Landsearch LLC Dodge Viper to defend his lead towards second-place Adrian Wlostowski within the No. 96 F.A.S.T. Auto Ford Mustang. Wlostowski, who is among the latest full-time drivers within the SGT class in simply his second yr, is keen on the probability to attain a doable pair of victories at VIR.
“Naturally, I used to be upset to not be racing at Watkins Glen this season, however I used to be totally behind Trans Am’s determination to double up at Virginia,” mentioned Wlostowski. “It makes good sense with everybody there and setup. I’m significantly excited to get behind the wheel once more. VIR is a enjoyable and quick monitor to drive our Mustang. It’s going to be a improbable weekend.”
In GT, reigning champion and Virginia resident Steven Davison (No.22 Davinci Plastic Surgical procedure Aston Martin Vantage) will make his first Trans Am return at VIR since Sebring. Davison received within the GT class final season at VIR, however must get previous Billy Griffin (No. 14 GriffinAutoCare/ Sheehan’sTowing Ford Mustang) and sophistication chief Tim Horrell (No. 45 Breathless Racing Porsche GT4 Clubsport) to reclaim one other class victory.
The official Heacock Traditional Gold Cup weekend for Trans Am kicks off on Friday with back-to-back group practices beginning at 11:20 a.m. Japanese, adopted by 15-minutes qualifying periods within the afternoon beginning at 4:40 p.m. Japanese with the TA group, adopted by XGT/SGT/GT, then TA2. For stay timing and scoring, observe http://www.gotransam.com/livetiming.
Saturday opens with the TA/XGT/SGT/GT 100-mile characteristic (or 75 minutes) at 11:20 a.m. ET. The TA2 powered by AEM class will take the inexperienced at 1:15 p.m. ET for its 100-mile characteristic (or 75 minutes).
On Sunday, all 5 lessons will take the inexperienced in a three-way cut up at 11:05 a.m. ET. The 2-day race occasion will likely be stay streamed on the Trans Am by Pirelli Racing App.