Miami -- The Trans-Am Series and the Panoz/Sanchez Group (PSG) today announced that it had signed a $220,000 contingency sponsorship agreement with Chevrolet for the 2001 season and beyond. Chevrolet is the first manufacturer to sign on for a contingency awards program for next season. This represents the largest contingency posting in Trans-Am Series history. Chevrolet will post a $20,000 cash bonus in each race, a total of $220,000 for the year, for a new-style Corvette and $10,000 for an old-style Corvette or Camaro victory in any Trans-Am Series race contested during the 2001 season. The combination of the Chevrolet bonus and the new Trans-Am purse of $37,500 for qualifying on the pole and winning the race could provide the winner with the largest payday in Series history (a nearly $60,000 payout). This represents a nearly 300 percent increase over the winner's purse during the 2000 season. "We are delighted that Chevrolet, particularly given its illustrious history in the Trans-Am Series, is the first major manufacturer to show its support of the new direction that was announced this past summer at Road America," said Ralph Sanchez, president of the Panoz/Sanchez Group. Chevrolet was the first carmaker to support the new Trans-Am body styles and their posting of the largest contingency award in series' history is another indication of its committment." Chevrolet is also the first manufacturer to design and develop a new bodystyle. The new Trans-Am Corvette bodywork package that will be unveiled at the Superflo 12-Hours of Sebring on March 16, 2001. "We are very excited about the Trans-Am Series' new direction," said Gary Claudio, Group Marketing Manager, GM Racing. "Jim Derhaag and his staff at Derhaag Motorsports played a key role in the development of the new Corvette body. We believe the new Corvette body truly represents the production car. Corvette fans who attend a Trans-Am race in 2001 will certainly be able to relate to the cars." Chevrolet won its 16th Manufacturers' Championship during the 2000 season. Chevrolet holds an overwhelming lead in All-Time Series wins with 149 victories to Ford's 98 wins. This past season saw both a Camaro (Kenny Wilden's #40 YO Ranch Chevrolet Camaro at Laguna Seca) and a Corvette (Johnny Miller's #64 UPS Hitachi Chevrolet Corvette at San Diego) visit the winner's circle. In addition, Willy T. Ribbs won the Johnson Controls Triple Challenge in the #16 Simple Green Chevrolet Camaro with outstanding finishes at Long Beach, Detroit and Las Vegas. PSG is committed to maintaining independent teams as the basis of Trans-Am Series competition. The series has encouraged manufacturers to make their support available to all teams in the form of engine development, parts development and bodywork (design, supply and wind tunnel testing). Chevrolet has taken the lead in utilizing this unique approach. "We believe that the foundation and strength of the Trans-Am Series is its independent teams," said John Clagett, executive director of the series. "I applaud Chevrolet and their willingness to support the Series in this manner."