TA2 Racing Australia Champ Russell Wright set for US Debut
November 2, 2018
Wright joins Stevens-Miller as part of International Driver Exchange Program
AUSTIN, Texas. [November 2, 2018] - For the past two years Russell “Rusty” Wright has piloted TA2 cars throughout Australia in the TA2 Racing Muscle Car Series, securing the series title in 2017. Now Wright has made his way to Circuit of The Americas, deep in the heartland of Texas, to test his mettle in the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli’s TA2 class.
The year-end trip came in the wake of a trip by TA2 2017 champion Gar Robinson to Australia where he featured in support races at the Mount Panorama circuit in Bathurst, a journey Wright was keen to reciprocate and plans to continue into the future.
“I had been racing different series back up in Australia,” said Wright. “Mostly historic racing and was a little bit fed up with them breaking all the time; I was pushing them to the limits too much. I saw TA2 being introduced in Australia, and I was lucky enough to be one of the earlier owners and sort of got in on the ground floor. I’ve been racing TA2 Australia for just over two years. I won the 2017 season; and each year TA2 Racing Australia wants to sponsor their championship-winning driver to come out here and run in the American series. Trans Am has opened their arms to bring us over here; it’s nice to have the driver exchange program going.”
Wright becomes the first driver to feature in the joint Howe Racing Enterprises and Stevens-Miller Racing International Driver Exchange Program and pilot the No. 5 Howe/ SMR International Driver Exchange Ford Mustang; also making its TA2 debut this weekend.
“To make everything easier, Chas Howe with Howe Racing Enterprises was kind enough to build an exchange car for us to use,” said Wright. “We initially planed to run one of our cars, but the specs are slightly different. Chas was kind enough to put this car together: it’s brand new, first time out on track a few hours ago just like it was my first time out racing in America. It’s a tricky track being that it’s so fast, with 20 turns and tight hairpins; I’ve got a lot to take in in a short period of time. I don’t expect to be anywhere near the front of the field; I’m not a spring chicken anymore. I was fortunate to win the 2017 championship back home, but a lot of that was because we had a limited field and not too many young, talented drivers. Our fields have expanded since then—we’re looking at 30 cars or so next year.”
While Wright’s goals for the weekend are modest, he hopes to see more competitors make the pilgrimage across the Pacific to race in American Trans Am in the future, with an eye on competing at the very front.
“I just want to get out there, have a bit of fun, stay out of trouble and get as close to the podium as I can, said Wright “Next year we’ll probably have a younger driver from Australia coming over to challenge. As the years go on we’ll continue to develop our series in Australia and get more professional; this series is a lot more professional than where we are back home, but we hope to catch up over the next year or so.”
“I’ve got to thank our sponsors: 3-Dimensional Services Group, Prefix who’ve built a brand new Ford engine for us and Chase Howe from Howe Enterprises. Thanks to those guys for making it possible. We’ve only just arrived, but Joe Stevens has been fantastic,” said Wright. “Stevens-Miller has been great in providing hospitality and preparing the car, all I have to do is jump in the car and drive it.”
Wright and the rest of the 28-car TA2 field will commence official sessions on the 20 -urn, 3.427-mile circuit at COTA with a Saturday practice session at 12:05 PM CT with qualifying to follow at 5:35 PM. The COTA Muscle Car Challenge, featuring TA2 will be held at 10:55 AM CT on Saturday, November 3, and run for a total of 30 laps, 102.81 miles.
Fans can keep up with Wright and all of the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli this weekend at www.gotransam.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/gotransam or on Twitter at @gotransam.
About The Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli:
The Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli began igniting the passion of motorsports fans across the world in 1966 and has been home to some of the greatest names in road racing. Today, Trans Am continues to honor its legacy, while challenging the status quo in racing, through meaningful racing platforms and a driver-oriented focus. The Trans Am Series is operated by The Trans Am Race Company, LLC (TARC), and oversees the management and marketing of the Trans Am Series, presented by Pirelli. SCCA Pro Racing sanctions Trans Am events and provides operations services to the Series.
2017 Champions include: Ernie Francis, Jr. (TA), Gar Robinson (TA2), Mark Boden (TA3) and Brian Kleeman (TA4).
For more on the Series visit www.gotransam.com, “like” Trans Am on Facebook at www.facebook.com/gotransam, or follow Trans Am on Twitter @gotransam