ENGLEWOOD, Colo.-In a move that will assure the future success of the BFGoodrich Tires Trans-Am Series, SCCA Pro Racing, Ltd. has completed an agreement to assign the rights for the series and the Trans-Am trademark to the newly-formed Panoz/Sanchez Group (PSG).

PSG principals Dr. Donald Panoz and Ralph Sanchez have additionally been named to SCCA Pro Racing's Board of Directors, and will become integral components in the strategic direction and planning of SCCA Pro Racing.

Panoz, who serves as Panoz/Sanchez Group Chairman, founded the Elan Corporation in 1969. He also owns and operates the American Le Mans Series, Panoz Automotive, Panoz Motor Sports, Road Atlanta, Sebring International Raceway, Mosport International Raceway and several resorts.

Ralph Sanchez, Panoz/Sanchez Group President, founded the successful Miami Grand Prix, and was the driving force behind the creation of the Homestead-Miami Speedway. Sanchez is also President of Motorsports Americas, Inc., and holds all Latin American rights to various United States racing series, including the BFGoodrich Tires Trans-Am Series.

"The BFGoodrich Tires Trans-Am Series enters its 35th season in 2000 with tremendous potential," said K.C. Van Niman, SCCA Pro Racing President and CEO.

"We have a solid, well-balanced schedule, a substantial base of returning entrants with a host of new drivers, exciting technical changes and a wider variety of cars, including all-new Jaguar, DeTomaso and Oldsmobile Aurora entries. Our goal has been to see the BFGoodrich Tires Series become a major force in motorsports. We recognize that this is a goal beyond the resources of SCCA Pro Racing and the Sports Car Club of America, but one now achievable with this association."

Under the 10-year renewable contract, the Panoz/Sanchez Group will take over management of the BFGoodrich Tires Trans-Am Series, including marketing, public relations and television packaging responsibilities as well as future venue negotiations, acquisition of additional series sponsorship and servicing current sponsors. SCCA Pro Racing will remain the sanctioning body for the BFGoodrich Tires Trans-Am Series, providing administrative, operations and technical functions.

"This agreement between SCCA Pro Racing and PSG is definitely a win-win situation for all involved," said Nicholas W. Craw, SCCA, Inc., President and CEO. "The Trans-Am Series represents a great deal of heritage for the Sports Car Club of America, and everyone involved is committed to the long-term growth and continued success of the series. The professional motorsports environment today is very different than it was just five years ago, and it will continue to change at a very rapid pace. There are intense competitive pressures across the motorsports spectrum, and in order to keep the Trans-Am Series viable, we sought a partner with the resources and vision to carry on the awesome Trans-Am Series tradition. In the Panoz/Sanchez Group, we've found our ideal partner." With exclusive worldwide marketing rights to the Trans-Am Series and trademark,

PSG will focus its attention on building manufacturer interest, attracting additional star drivers, enhancing the television package, securing additional sponsorship as well as increasing prize money and the points fund.

"The Panoz/Sanchez Group is committed to making the Trans-Am Series viable for all of the series' constituents-entrants and drivers, sponsors, manufacturers, promoters, television partners and SCCA Pro Racing," said Sanchez. "Above all else, we want to continue to elevate the Trans-Am Series to provide racing fans the best show possible. The Trans-Am brand has built a significant presence since the Trans-Am Series' inception in 1966, and we will aggressively pursue increasing the Trans-Am identity through licensing agreements."

In 2000, the BFGoodrich Tires Trans-Am Series and Speedvision World Challenge Championships will run on five and six ALMS weekends respectively, offering motorsports fans weekend packages of the best road racing in North America. The BFGoodrich Tires Trans-Am Series kicks off its 35th season as part of the 48th Annual Superflo 12 Hours of Sebring weekend, March 17.

"The agreement between SCCA Pro Racing and the PSG is a natural progression from the foundation built by our combined weekends, and represents a major step in unifying road racing," said Panoz. "We want to bring motorsports fans and our race promoters an outstanding weekend of racing that offers the best racing show combined with uncompromised value."

"As sponsor of the BFGoodrich Tires Trans-Am Series, we're extremely pleased about the agreement between SCCA Pro Racing and the Panoz/Sanchez Group," said Herb Johnson, BFGoodrich Tires Director of Motorsports. "We have long believed in the present and future success of the Trans-Am Series, and will continue to use the series as a showcase for our g-Force T/A radial. The new opportunities that will become available to the BFGoodrich Tires Trans-Am Series as a result of this agreement will usher in an era of resurgence for America's longest-running road racing series."