(BLOG) A Conversation with U.S. Racing Hopeful Sam Mayer
March 30, 2019
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On a sunny day, at the famous US road racing track in Georgia, during the Trans-Am race weekend, a nice lady at the Sunday Management Group introduced me to a young driver named Sam Mayer. I had a small talk with him and asked how he became interested in motorsports. At the age of 4, he started karting due to his father’s involvement at IMSA. Sam always knew that he could be a race car driver. With the help of dad, General Motors and other sponsors he quickly climbed the different racing ladders to become a Trans-Am driver at the very young age of 15!
He keeps fit by playing basketball and his goal is NASCAR. Not F1 I asked? (Since the US so dearly is looking for an American F1 hopeful now that an American corporation is owning and running Formula One.) Not really, he said, as it would take too much funding to go that route. I do agree: NASCAR for a US boy is much easier to achieve than F1. You need millions of dollars to do F4, F3, F2 and be among the top 5 all the time to have a slight chance to make it to F1. Whereas being a very good Trans-Am driver and great at oval racing (which he is), he is almost guaranteed a seat in the many NASCAR series where good money can be made relatively easily.
When I asked him which kind of racing he preferred - road or oval racing - he hesitated a bit saying that road vs. oval racing required different talents from the driver’s standpoint. But in his eyes, it looked like road racing was his preference. He likes Road Atlanta a lot, very demanding, lots of elevation changes, fast corners, challenging chicane, blind curves, etc. However his favorite road track is Watkins Glen.
Sam seems to be a very nice polite kid with the right talent. I observed him in the challenging turn 10a and 10b chicane and he was spot-on being his very first time at that track!
He participates in the very popular and competitive TA2 Trans-Am class: Mustangs and Camaros (Sam drives white Camaro # 96 entered by team SLR/Fields Racing/M1Racecars).
These cars have 6.0 V8 EFI engines restricted to ca. 420hp at 6500 max. rpm weighing at 2850lbs (1295kg) including driver with 4 speed manual and steel brakes and wheels. Very loud! I just love that V8 sound! The body is made of fiberglass. The real shocker is that these tube frame chassis cars go for only $ 85,000 brand-new! Everything is spec-ed and can be purchased easily. This is great racing at a very affordable price! No wonder that the TA2 class is also very popular overseas (Sweden, Holland, Australia to name a few). BTW 27 cars are participating this weekend and the SCCA Pro Racing TA2 race is Sunday 31/03 at 2:00pm local as the main event.
Another top event race this weekend at Road Atlanta is the SVRA sanctioned VROC Charity Pro-Am race on Saturday 30/03 at 12:30pm featuring historic Trans-Am cars from 64 to70 (Mustangs, Camaros, Corvettes, Cobra) driven by All-Time-Greats like Ron Fellows, Davy Jones, Max Papis, Geoff Brabham, Dorsey Schroeder, Lyn St. James, Davey Hamilton, Willy T. Ribbs, Al Unser, Jr., Johnny Parsons, Jr., Mike Skinner, Greg Biffle, Walley Dallenbach, Jr., and Mark Dismore. That will be a race to watch too!
From observation during the practice session today, it seems that none of them has lost any speed and determination! These guys are (still) good!