Vinnie Allegretta and Dillon Machavern lead practice sessions as Trans Am commences 2017
Andrew Aquilante and Mike Geldart lead TA3 and TA4 at Sebring
SEBRING, Fla. [March 3, 2017] – Vinnie Allegretta and Dillon Machavern led their respective practice sessions as the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli officially began its 2017 season at Sebring International Raceway. Joining them atop their respective class charts were Andrew Aquilante in TA3 and Mike Geldart in TA4.
This session also signified the beginning of a partnership with Pirelli, the first official laps turned on the P ZERO™ tires across all Trans Am classes.
Allegretta, behind the wheel of the No. 41 TA Sights and Sounds Chevrolet Corvette, led the TA class with a time of 2:03.772 around the 3.74-mile, 17 turn, Sebring course, making the most of what was an abbreviated session after the No. 86 of John Baucom made contact with the tire barrier in turn 17 causing the course to go under red flag conditions.
The fast lap is a continuation of the good form that saw Allegretta earn 2016 TA class Rookie of the Year honors. Joining him in the TA class top three were RJ Lopez, in the No. 06 Optica Lopez/Republica Brewing Chevrolet Corvette, with a time of 2:04.028 and Ernie Francis, Jr., in the No. 98 Breathless Pro Racing/ Beta Tools Ford Mustang, with a time of 2:04.044. The event marks the first official TA class competition for Francis, the 2013, 2014 and 2015 TA4 class champion.
The TA class top five was completed by David Pintaric, in the No. 57 Kryderacing Cadillac CTS-V, and Cliff Ebben, in the No. 36 Stumpf Ford/ McMahon Group Ford Mustang, with times of 2:04.186 and 2:05.331.
The TA class top ten also featured Amy Ruman, Tomy Drissi, John Baucom, Blaise Csida and Simon Gregg.
Dillon Machavern, in the No. 24 Heritage Motorsports Ford Mustang, led the TA2 class’s separate practice session with a time of 2:08.111, a time that, if replicated in qualifying, will break the qualifying track record of 2:08.358 set by Gar Robinson last year. Robinson was once again showcased that speed on the Sebring track, second fast in the session with a time of 2:08.558. Last year, come the end of the race, Machavern’s and Robinson’s order was reversed atop the charts with Robinson emerging victorious and Machavern on the second step of the Sebring podium.
Cameron Lawrence, driver of the No. 19 Class Auto Centers Chevrolet Corvette, is another TA2 driver with a history of speed at Sebring and showed that speed in his official return to the TA2 class with a time of 2:09.239. To this dayte, Lawrence remains the winningest TA2 driver at Sebring with class victories in 2015, 2014 and 2013.
The TA2 class top five was completed by defending champion Tony Buffomante, in the No. 34 Best Line Superior Lubricants Ford Mustang, and Louis-Philippe Montour, in the No. 3 Montour Ltd. Chevrolet Camaro, with times of 2:09.312 and 2:09.424.
The TA2 class top ten also included Adam Andretti, Shane Lewis, Lawrence Loshak, Keith Prociuk and John Atwell.
The TA3 class was led by Andrew Aquilante, in the No. 32 Phoenix Performance/ Hawk/ Penske Chevrolet Corvette, with a time of 2:10.629 far and away faster than last year’s class qualifying record of 2:13.635. Aquilante was followed in the session by Mark Boden, in the No. 46 Fall-Line Motorsports/ Calypso Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, and Preston Calvert, in the No. 37 Calvert Dynamics/ Boys Republic Porsche 991 GT3 Cup, with times of 2:11.954 and 2:12.629, respectively.
Joining them in the TA3 class top five was Conor Flynn, in the No. 95 Irish Mike’s Automotive Porsche 997, and Jason Berkeley, in the No. 67 BMG Management Chevrolet Corvette, with times of 2:14.514 and 2:15.380, respectively. They were joined in the class top ten by Tom Herb, Randy Kinsland, Craig Conway, Milton Grant and Dave Ricci.
In TA4, Mike Geldart, in the No. 43 Racers Edge Motorsports/ Ford Performance Ford Mustang, led the way with a time of 2:22.490, beating out Todd Napieralski, in the No. 39 Chevrolet Performance/ Tremec Chevrolet Camaro, who logged a 2:23.049 lap of his own. The two were the only TA4 competitors who elected to compete in the session.
Trans Am will return to the track tomorrow morning for another practice session at 10:30 AM ET.
Fans of the Trans Am Series by Pirelli can follow along throughout the weekend at www.gotransam.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/gotransam and on Twitter at @gotransam.
Remaining Event Schedule
Saturday March 4, 2017
10:30 AM – 11:05 AM TA2 Practice 2
11:30 AM – 12:00 PM TA/TA3/TA4 Practice 2
1:30 PM – 2:30 PM Paddock Open House
5:05 PM – 5:25 PM TA2 Qualifying
5:25 PM – 5:45 PM TA Qualifying
5:45 PM – 6:05 PM TA3/TA4 Qualifying
Sunday March 5, 2017
11:05 AM – 12:30 PM TA2 Race – Powered by AEM Infinity
3:05 PM – 4:35 PM TA/TA3/TA4 Race
*all times eastern