Alton, VIRGINIA - September 28, 2020 - Virginia International Raceway staged not one but two races September 26 and 27 in what was surely one of the best weekends of professional motorsport action in North America. Leading the charge in the Xtreme GT Class was Tennessee's own Ken Thwaits, who survived a number of circumstances to win Saturday's race and then finish runner up in class in Sunday’s event. In all it was a hugely successful weekend for Ken, Showtime and for Trans Am and the results keep Ken in pole position to become the inaugural XGT Drivers Champion.
The No. 5 Franklin Road Apparel Audi R8 LMS Ultra piloted by Ken set a new track record in class of 1:52:858 in Saturday's race, but that only tells half the story of a very eventful race as Ken explained to our reporter in the paddock afterward, "It was a wild race! I got a great start and that was the goal. Get in front of the guys that were in front of me on the front row and take off and build as big a lead as possible but unfortunately we got a full course caution. A Trans Am car went off at the same place I crashed yesterday. That place has claimed a lot of cars this weekend. We'll call that millionaires corner! All that advantage just evaporated so you just have to keep racing and I did just that."
There followed a controversial incident where rival Erich Joiner passed Ken while a Trans Am car was stationary in the middle of the track and that section was under yellow. There was also contact between the two GT3 machines as Ken explained, "Erich caught up and passed me under a waving yellow, which is a no-no of course and we hit each other in the process. He tried to give the spot back apparently but I thought he was having car trouble! Then he was chasing me again but spun in the esses and gave the race away. You have to be patient in racing and you have to be smart." Ken went on to praise the Audi, which is famed for its tremendous durability and reliability, "This car doesn't break. Unless you do something to it, it will finish every session and that's a strong point. It's the most reliable car and so far that's paying dividends for us."
Referring to Sunday’s all class race Ken added, "It's going to be insane. I hope we survive it!" And so it proved, with 42 cars contesting the Heacock Classic Gold Cup over 31 laps of the famous southern Virginia circuit. On that occasion, Ken had to give best to rival Erich Joiner and settle for the runners up spot, but overall the win and the P2 mean he remains on course for the Championship.
"It was like a State Farm commercial, it was nothing but mayhem out there," He told us in the paddock after Sunday morning's all class extravaganza. "We got into the TA2 cars and we're slicing and dicing those guys, going inside and outside. It was just so much fun. I have never seen that many cars out of control and off track in my life! They just don't care but I can't do that with my car." About the unique all class format, Ken reflected the upbeat mood on the grid, "I was a little hesitant about the format but it was pretty fun. The whole idea was to come out here and get maximum points. We didn't achieve that but we got a whole ton of them, so the mission was accomplished."
It was a mission accomplished for Trans Am too, who staged a terrific weekend's action in very difficult circumstances. All the teams contributed to a fantastic atmosphere in the paddock, which will no doubt be carried over when the Trans Am presented by Pirelli 2020 Championship roadshow reassembles at Circuit of The Americas November 6 to 8.
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Visit the team’s website for Showtime Motorsports, showtimemotorsports.net.
Learn more about the Showtime Motorsports team partner, Franklin Road Apparel, at franklinroad.com and keep up to date with the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli at gotransam.com. #GoTransAm