Now that the Rolex 24 is behind us, the road-racing season starts in earnest. Trans Am, America's oldest continuos road-racing series, begins this year with new management and new rules. With regard to management Paul Gentilozzi has acquired the marketing and promotional rights to the Trans- Am Series. Possessing a natural gift for promotion and a strong business background, Gentilozzi is posed to take the series to the next level. Under his stewardship the series should prosper and be stronger than ever. There will be good television coverage of the events this year and expanded exposure to due the combination with other strong series' such as CART, NASCAR and American Le Mans.
Gone are the rules restricting fuel tank size that essentially forced a fuel stop. Set to return the original, and most would say, best format, the series returns to a 100-mile dash requiring no calculators to understand who is winning. When reading this year's rulebook it appears that the major aim is to promote close racing while limiting costs and providing a stable environment during these fragile economic times. Currently Most teams will continue to use the overhead valve Carbureted v-8 engines at overall weight of 2650 lbs. with a maximum compression ratio of 13:1. The rules however make allowance for a 4-valve 275 cubic inch fuel injected engine at a weight of 2550 and a maximum compression ratio of 13:1. This category is where a production based jaguar Aj -v8 would be found. The introduction of this type powerplant should generate additional interest in the series as well. They could show up as soon as mid summer.
One area that was a cloud over last year's series was the allegations of rev limiting, speed and traction control being used by some participants. The original intent of revolution limiting was to control maximum engine speed only. This year's rules will make it very difficult for any one to enable such a system.
In Conclusion the upcoming season in Trans Am should provide a great combination of speed and action from some of the best racing venues in North America.
Trans Am 2003 rules Highlights (with Rule numbers)
Regarding the ignition System
"15. The series will be providing a spec MSD ignition system for use by all competitors. A standard mounting plate is available from the series for attachment to each teams chassis. Ignition harnesses will also be required and available from the series. These spec parts will be required at all times. Systems will be distributed at pre-race tech from a blind draw. These systems are inclusive of all necessary ignition components including coils and rev limiters. These systems are sealed and any modifications by any competitor will result in disqualification. Each system has dual and separate control devices."
22. The series will stress proper seat belt and seat mounting. The 2003 Simpson seat belt Company's illustrations are consistent with our requirements.
Head and Neck restraint Systems
23. By mid-season an approved head and neck restraint device will be required. (Hans or Hutchins)
25. Fuel cells are limited to 33 gallons. Fuel for 2003 will be Sunoco as specified in 2002.
Points system Revision
27. A new Fast Five points system will be enacted at a mid race point giving a bonus point to all cars within five seconds of the leader. Cars who lead a lap will get two points.
From the Technical Regulations
2.1.2: Eligible Models:
BMW M3, M5
Chevrolet Camaro, Corvette, Monte Carlo
Dodge Stratus, Viper
Jaguar XK-8, XKR
Mercedes Benz CLK 430
Oldsmobile Aurora, Intrigue
Pontiac Firebird, Grand Prix
For more information on the series and upcoming events: www.trans-amseries.com