In today’s motorsport business environment, a long-term deal often means three to five years. Most deals that we hear of now, such as the agreement between Mercedes F1 and Valterie Bottas, are limited to a singular season. This makes this announcement between the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli and SCCA Pro rather unprecedented.
Trans Am racing is celebrating its 50th Anniversary as part of the SCCA Pro Racing lineup. The series saw many of the legends of motorsport come to compete in the 60s and 70s including names such as Mark Donahue racing for Roger Penske, Sam Posey, Parnelli Jones, and Formula 1 legend Dan Gurney. Even everyone’s favourite Formula 1 commentator, David Hobbs, competed in Trans Am, winning the 1983 championship in a DeAtley Motorsports Camaro alongside teammate Willy T. Ribbs.
Sadly, the series saw a slow decline in participation through the 1990s and early 2000s until it was all but extinct in 2006 running two of what amounted to nothing more than exhibition races at Heartland Park Topeka in what looked to be it’s final year. After two years of being absent from the motorsport landscape, the series returned with SCCA Pro in 2009 and has been growing by leaps and bounds since then.
The current champion, Amy Ruman, grew up around SCCA Solo2 (autocross) and the Trans Am Series before competing in autocross events and Spec Racer Ford road racing herself with the SCCA. Since joining the Trans Am Series full-time in 2010, she has never failed to finish out of the top five in the championship and has won back-to-back championships in 2015 and 2016. It will be interesting to see if she can successfully defend her title this year when the season begins at Sebring International Raceway on the first weekend of March.
Official Release from Trans Am
TRANS AM SERIES AND SCCA PRO RACING: FIFTY YEARS AND STILL COUNTING
SCCA Pro Racing and the Trans Am Race Company extend contract to 2042
INDIANAPOLIS (Jan. 19, 2017) – After marking their 50th Anniversary in 2016, the Trans Am Series, presented by Pirelli Tire, and SCCA Pro Racing are set to celebrate their Diamond Anniversary after signing an unprecedented 25-year agreement with the Trans Am Race Company (TARC).
The landmark deal is the continuation of TARC’s licensing and services agreement with SCCA Pro, securing the management, marketing and operational platform that has seen Trans Am grow substantially since the creation of the original partnership in late 2011.
The partnership announcement was made today during a press conference held at the annual Sports Car Club of America National Convention in Las Vegas.
“This unprecedented agreement gives both TARC and SCCA Pro the opportunity to focus on the future of the Trans Am Series,” said John Clagett, President of The Trans Am Race Company. “While these past few years have been a tremendous success, we are still working towards our final vision. This agreement allows both partners to concentrate on building and constantly improving the Series. We appreciate the trust and confidence that SCCA Pro has shown in us, and with the operation rights to the Trans Am name secure, we will be shifting our efforts towards building a market platform that emphasizes longevity.”
While the renewed partnership between SCCA Pro and TARC will allow both entities to continue building a top professional series, it will also vertically align the Trans Am Series with SCCA Inc., creating an easy crossover from amateur racing to professional sports car racing to more than 65,000 SCCA club members.
“SCCA Pro Racing is dedicated to running, managing and supporting programs that align with SCCA Club Racing,” SCCA Pro Racing President and CEO Mike Collins said. “Trans Am just celebrated its 50th year of competition, crowning champions who all belonged to the SCCA. SCCA Pro is proud that we will continue our relationship with the Trans Am Race Company for the next 25 years. By committing to a long- term relationship with mutual goals, our organizations can focus on making the series great by leveraging both of our resources together to offer a clear path from amateur motorsport to professional racing.”
SCCA Pro will continue providing crucial services to Trans Am, including staffing, industry standard participant accident insurance and sanctioning. TARC will remain the marketing and management arm of the Series taking on promotion, the writing and interpretation of rules and staff selection in key roles.
SCCA Pro and the Trans Am Series partnership commenced on March 25, 1966, with a field of 44 cars at Sebring International Raceway in Florida. Future Formula One World Champion Jochen Rindt took the overall victory and Bob Tullius won the Over 2-Liter class. Other first-year notables included A.J. Foyt, Richard Petty, Jerry Titus and Belgium’s Jacky Ickx.
After five decades of racing, the series has grown, fielding nearly 80 cars during its 2016 debut race.
“We know there is plenty of work ahead of us,” said Clagett, “but with our ownership, competitor base, partners and this long-term agreement in place, I’m confident in TARC’s ability to continue, and complete, our work: the restoration of Trans Am to the forefront of North American road racing.”
Trans Am will kick-off its 51st season with the Trans Am Championship March 4-5 at Sebring International Raceway. With the addition of Trans Am West Coast Championship, the TARC will host 17 individual events across the continental United States.
For scheduling and more information on transitioning from club racing to professional racing through Trans Am, visit GoTransAm.com.
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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.
Defending Champions include: Amy Ruman (TA), Tony Buffomante (TA2), Randy Mueller (TA3) and Ernie Francis, Jr. (TA4).
About SCCA Pro Racing:
SCCA Pro Racing Ltd. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sports Car Club of America, Inc. — a 65,000-member organization dedicated to motorsports. SCCA Pro Racing provides full-service organization, operation and sanctioning for numerous professional racing series such as Trans Am® and the Formula 4 United States Championship Powered by Honda.