Ponte Vedra, FL - June 30, 2020 - Twice a winner at the Mid Ohio Sportscar Course previously, Simon Gregg restarted the 2020 Trans Am presented by Pirelli Championship season in pleasing fashion by qualifying P3 and finishing P6 in a race that was shaped by the wet conditions on the track. The weekend also marked the debut of the new bodystyle on the No. 59 Derhaag Motorsports Chevrolet. The Camaro and graphics package on the car looked primed for competitive action in its blue and red wrap, redolent of the colors of his late father's racecars.
As the Trans Am community gathered in Ohio for the first time since Sebring at the end of February for Round 2 of the schedule, it was clear that everyone was delighted to be racing again after what has been such a difficult time all round during lockdown.
"I've been running the C7 Corvette body since 2014, six years, so it was long overdue to change body styles," stated Simon Gregg. "With the old [C7] Corvette being out of production now, there was no reason to continue with that one."
Trans Am rules do not permit mid-engined configurations in the TA class, something that precludes the option of upgrading to the latest Chevrolet Corvette, the highly acclaimed C8, thus the Camaro - always so competitive in Trans Am since its inception - was the logical choice. With the body change from Corvette to Camaro and a new engine, Simon is effectively focused on his bid for the championship.
"The motor is up by about 15BHP bringing the power up to just under 850, and I'm happy with that. The new car looks and sounds great and promises to be highly competitive,” said Simon Gregg.
A truncated schedule meant there was little time for testing, so it was particularly impressive that the Florida based wheelman was able to guide the new Camaro to P3 on the grid in a time of 2:03:078 on lap 3 of the qualifying session on a wet track.
"We had to change tires immediately before qualifying, which meant we went out after Tomy Drissi and Tony Ave, but that worked out well in the end," he added.
On race day, a downpour before the race meant treacherous conditions out on the track, with the famous old venue providing a complicated surface. Starting on the second row of the grid, Simon immediately slipped past the slow starting Tomy Drissi into P2. While pole sitter Tony Ave was away and gone, Simon had Chris Dyson and Ernie Francis jr. tailgating him as he picked his way carefully around the wet surface.
In the almost impossible conditions, Simon did well to maintain his challenge, bringing the Camaro home in P6. Up front, there seemed an inevitability that the fastest man on the track, Ernie Francis, would reel in the long time leader, veteran Tony Ave.
Simon's fastest lap in the race, 1:32:522, was only a shade slower than eventual winner Ernie Francis. Together with a fine qualifying time, the weekend showed that the new Camaro is a very competitive car.
Next up for Simon and the Trans Am series is a trip to Brainerd July 10 to 12. It is to be hoped that the great State of Minnesota does as well as Ohio in permitting the sport to go ahead!
Trans Am Series and team news about Simon Gregg can be found at gotransam.com. Keep up with Simon personally on the Simon Gregg Facebook page.