Trans Am Kicks Off 2012 At Canadian Tire Motorsport Park
May 14, 2012
When Trans Am kicks of its 2012 season at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (formerly Mosport International Raceway, a new era begins for the legendary series… America's Road Racing Series and the historic Canadian race track. This will mark the first event managed by The Trans Am Race Company, LLC. and the first major event for the new ownership group operating the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. The action gets underway for the annual Victoria Day Speedfest Weekend May 18 - May 20.
The Canadian Tire Motorsport Park has been the scene of many great Trans Am battles over the years. And while it may have been a Porsche Carrera RSR driven by Ludwig Heimrath that won the inaugural Trans Am event in 1976, the results sheets over the years lean favorably toward the bow tie boys in Chevrolet Camaros and Corvettes. New era or not, on-track rivals don't go away. Last year's Trans Am and Trans Am 2 winners, Tony Ave and Bob Stretch, will return to defend their titles… Ave in a Corvette and Stretch in a Camaro. Not only did these two warriors win at Mosport, both went on to win their respective 2011 Championships.
Ave, will seek his third consecutive title in 2012. Driving the Lamers Racing/Beebe Racing/Optech/PME Chevrolet Corvette, Ave enjoyed a dominating season in which he grabbed six wins and two runner-up finishes en route to his second consecutive Trans Am Series Driver’s championship. He earned five Clean Sweeps (winning the pole and race, earning the fast lap and leading the most laps) in what was a truly spectacular season.
Tony now ranks 14th in Trans Am history in all-time wins, with 12, and is in easy reach of the top-10 in 2012. He is just the 11th driver in Trans Am history to earn multiple drivers’ titles, and just the seventh to do the feat back to back. He joins a very select group -- Tommy Kendall, Mark Donohue, Wally Dallenbach, Jr., Paul Gentilozzi, Peter Gregg and Bob Tullius -- as the only drivers to have ever earned back to back titles.
"We are expanding to a four-car team for 2012," noted Ave. "That includes adding one TA2 car. We have spent a long off season at the shop I'm definitely ready to get started in our attempt to win a third consecutive title. I'm especially excited to have the first two rounds of the season take place at a couple of my favorite tracks, both of which I won at during the series' most recent visits there."
There is also great anticipation surrounding the arrival of Trans Am's first winning female driver, Amy Ruman. Amy returns for her sixth season of Trans Am Championship racing in 2012, and she’ll be doing it in style – in a much newer Chevrolet C6 Corvette bought at the conclusion of last season.
Ruman closed the deal on the new car just hours before winning her first ever Trans Am race – in last year’s season finale at Road Atlanta. Ruman’s new mount was built by Rocketsports in 2006, and was purchased by Ruman Racing from fellow Trans Am competitor Doug Harrington.
“I have absolutely been counting down the days for the Trans-Am season to get started,” said Ruman, who picked up the American Auto Racing Writers & Broadcasters Association “Rising Star” Award in the off-season. “Winning my first Trans Am race at Road Atlanta to finish the year last season was a thrill, and now we’ve got a new car for the 2012 season. I am very happy that McNichols Company has returned as our primary sponsor. I know there will be a bit of a learning curve with this new car, but the potential with our new Corvette is just outstanding. Trans-Am will be even more competitive this year and I’m very excited to get the season started at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Of course, we are all going to have to get used to the new name, but it is very exciting what is going on at such a legendary track and it is great to see it in good hands with a bright future.”
Amy has enjoyed success – 19 top 10 finishes, 14 top five finishes, seven podium finishes, and one victory – but she’s more than looking forward to contesting the 2012 Trans Am Series in her new Corvette.
Bob Stretch will return with his Wheels America Racing program and with a formidable presence in the Trans Am TA2 paddock. The team has built two additional 2012 TA-2 Camaros. The two brand new cars will allow WAR to field a four car effort.
Stretch had this to say about the Trans Am TA2 class:
“We tested earlier this spring to put into play some of the rule changes that will effect the 2012 season. This class is dedicated to high performance with low equipment cost relative to other forms of professional racing. The rule changes for 2012 have been well thought out by the series directors. We are looking forward to another great year for Wheels America Racing.”
The event will also mark the return of former Roush drivers, Pete Halsmer and Mike Miller. In hopes of harnessing that same winning spirit, the two enjoyed in Trans Am in the late 1980’s driving for legendary owner Jack Roush, Miller and Halsmer will drive in the new Trans Am TA2 category backed by a list of impressive corporate partners. In one season, Halsmer finished second in the drivers’ championship while Miller was driving to rookie-of-the-year honors. The pair gave Roush another manufacturer’s championship. The duo hopes to bring their years of experience and Miller Racing’s professional equipment to another championship season.
In addition, both drivers come with stellar credentials.
Mike Miller is no stranger to the racing world or the SCCA. He has raced various cars over the past 35 years. In 1982, after making his way through several different racing categories, he debuted in SCCA Super-Vee open-wheel racing with the guidance of legendary racer, Dan Gurney. Miller’s resume includes driving in Formula Atlantic, Cam Am, Trans Am, and even NASCAR Winston Cup.
Pete Halsmer has raced in every major road race series in the U.S. Pete has competed and won Super Vee, Trans-Am, Indy Cars, IMSA GTP cars and Grand Am. Recently, Pete was with HART (Honda of America’s in-house engineering road racing team based in Ohio) and drove Hart’s World Challenge NSX with 4 top 5 finishes, from ’99 – ’04. He became a driver/advisor for the Motorola Cup Compact Class Team (CAK), achieving four wins, Team and Manufacturer’s titles, 2nd in Driver’s title. He won year-end awards for the most laps led and fastest race laps. In 2001, he finishes 2nd overall Driver’s title in Grand Am CAK class, with 4 wins. He then had a development year (2002) for Acura RSX in ST-1 class, finished 15th overall, 2 wins; then in 2003 won 2nd overall with 2 wins.
How to watch:
GoRacingTV.com will provide a multi-Emmy Award winning production team to produce Trans Am coverage. The coverage will be twofold:
• During each race weekend GoRacingTV.com will deliver “ENG” or electronic news-gathering style video vignettes to fans via the Internet and through the new GoRacingTV.com mobile App. Fans will be able to keep up with their favorite series and drivers throughout the weekend with quick 2 to 3 minute video updates.
• At the end of each weekend there will be a “Trans Am this week” Video show summarizing the weekend’s full events. Each summary show will be complete with highlights of the weekend racing action and interviews with the drivers and Trans Am officials to give a true behind the scenes access and total access coverage approach. There will also be video racing action through trackside and on-board video cameras mounted on the front and back of 90% of the racing field.
Race weekend video vignettes and summary shows can be seen on www.GoRacingTV.com, www.GoTransAm.com’s Vimeo channel, www.vimeo.com/gotransam, www.YouTube.com and through GoRacingTV.com’s mobile App (available mid April).
MAVTV will air the half-hour Trans Am Series weekend recap shows produced and directed by GoRacingTV.com the week following each Trans Am event. The first of three airings will be Sundays at 5:00 pm EDT (2:00 pm PDT). The first encore airing follows on Thursdays at 9:00 pm EDT (6:00 pm PDT), followed by a second encore airing on Fridays at 12:00 am EDT (Thursday, 9:00 pm PDT).? ?All shows will be hosted by veteran Trans Am announcer Alfredo Nin and will be produced in English and Spanish. Spanish speaking shows will have TV distribution in the Spanish speaking Caribbean and Latin America. TV distribution for the US is still in negotiations.?
About Trans Am:
The SCCA Trans Am Series dates back to its first season in 1966. Throughout the years, some of the greatest names in motorsports have participated in the Trans Am Series. Backdating the Drivers' Championship to the inaugural season, 30 different drivers took titles, with multiple Championships being won by Paul Gentilozzi, Tommy Kendall, Mark Donohue, Scott Pruett, Wally Dallenbach Jr., George Follmer, Peter Gregg, Horst Kwech, Scott Sharp and Bob Tullius.
The iconic Trans Am Series - America's Road Racing Series - is operated by the Trans Am Race Company, LLC. Through a five-year agreement, the Trans Am Race Company manages the marketing rights to the series and is responsible for Trans Am Series public relations and promotions. SCCA Pro Racing sanctions Trans Am events and provides event operations services to the series.
2012 Trans Am Series Schedule
May 20, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada?
May 26 Lime Rock Park, Lakeville, Conn.
June 10 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Lexington, Ohio
July 1, New Jersey Motorsports Park, Millville, N.J.
July 8, Watkins Glen International, Watkins Glen, N.Y.
August 19, Road America, Elkhart Lake, Wis.
Sept. 2, Brainerd International Raceway, Brainerd, Minn.
Nov. 4, Road Atlanta, Braselton, Ga.