Thwaits Collects TA Masters Award at Rain Affected Road Atlanta
March 31, 2021
rans Am XtremeGT Class Champion Ken Thwaits collected the TA Class Masters Award at a sodden Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, March 28, as the Tennessee pilot continued his integration into the prestigious top level of Trans Am presented by Pirelli racing.
The No. 5 Franklin Road Apparel Chevrolet Camaro was making its National Championship debut in Round 2 of the 2021 TA class season, and it was a baptism of water rather than fire for the Camaro as the torrential rain lashing down at the start of the race in Georgia meant a very wet track throughout. After the early departure of SGT driver Steven Davison brought out a red flag, guiding the car home safely in the atrocious conditions for Championship points was understandably the priority for Ken, who finished in P11.
Driving the 850+ bhp muscle cars that populate the TA field is still a learning curve for Ken, as he explained to us on Saturday, "We came into Road Atlanta knowing the track because we ran here in November but that was in a GT3 car with lots of downforce and Trans Am is a totally different animal."
Explaining his strategy for the weekend he added, "My approach was to be methodical about it and take small bites. That's advice from Chris Dyson and it's what the guys at the front of the field do."
"I was a bit disappointed with the times early on but then we started looking at data and the results started coming. Every session we improved three seconds, two seconds over the previous one." Ken was quick to praise his team for helping him get competitive when he added, "The guys are fired up. This is the best race crew I have ever had in my career and I need to deliver for them. I like that pressure. It forces me to concentrate and get it done."
"For qualifying I knew it was going to be short and sweet. Just get a bit of heat into the tires and go for it. My engineer Owen Hayes said, “Ken, I know there's a 1:24 lap in you and I said I'd do a 1:23 and we laughed. Then in qualifying, second lap, bang! There it was 1:23:8."
Talking about the race itself Ken added, "The race started in conditions that were horrendous. There were rivers running across the track and it was amazing how everyone was creeping round really slowly. I was able to get past a car at the start but you couldn’t see anything. Then the red flag came out and after the restart I was just running my race, working with the car, keeping it going straight. It was very much a mission accomplished. We finished another race."
Ken's enthusiasm for Trans Am only grows and this first Masters Award will only add to that, "The paddock is wonderful. The management is wonderful. This is where you want to be! I want to be a part of it and I want to help it in any way I can."
There is an exciting year ahead when the action resumes at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca at the end of April. Learn more about the Showtime Motorsports team partner, Franklin Road Apparel, at franklinroad.com and showtimemotorsports.net. Keep up to date with the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli at gotransam.com.
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The Showtime Motorsports brand includes Ken Thwait's racing team and racecars, and an outstanding classic Camaro collection. Showtime Motorsports brings together a dynamic staff who employ diverse talents and share a passion for cars, racing and caring for clients like they are our own family members.