TRANS-AM TIDBITS Notes of Interest from the Trans-Am Series for the BF Goodrich Tires Cup, March 8, 2002 The Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup recently became part of one of the foremost weekends on the entire 2002 motorsports ...
Notes of Interest from the Trans-Am Series for the BF Goodrich Tires Cup, March 8, 2002
The Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup recently became part of one of the foremost weekends on the entire 2002 motorsports calendar when Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) announced its agreement to become part of the program for the Grand Prix of the Americas on the streets of downtown Miami.
With CART joining the Trans-Am and the added presence of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS), the Grand Prix of the Americas promises to be an historic weekend of road racing in one of North America's premier international cities. In order to accommodate the CART FedEx Championship Series schedule, the Grand Prix has been moved from its originally scheduled dates of April 5-7 to October 4-6, 2002.
"This is a historic day for both the motorsports industry and the City of Miami," said Peter Yanowitch, president of Raceworks, co-promoter of the Grand Prix of the Americas, following the CART announcement. "The fans of South Florida will be in for a unique weekend featuring tremendous motorsports competition on the track, as well as some exciting entertainment elements as well."
Three-time and defending Trans-Am champion Paul Gentilozzi and 2000 series champion Brian Simo are both looking forward to CART's addition to the Grand Prix package.
"Whenever we have the chance to race with CART, it's great because it elevates the stature of the Trans-Am Series," Gentilozzi said. "It's just such a natural mix; CART with the exotic open-wheel, open-cockpit cars and Trans-Am with the factory hot rods. The fans love it, and they love it when we race together."
"I think it's good that we're racing with CART," Simo echoed. "It offers a great mix of open-wheel and sedan-based racing, and combining efforts is a positive step to ensuring growth in road racing. Miami is a great market and an important market. The schedule change actually gives everybody more time to prepare for a better season. It will give the promoters a better chance to put things together, as well, to put together a more compelling, exciting event for the fans."
While the weekend will mark the first time that CART and the ALMS have raced together, the Trans-Am Series has been a regular part of many successful CART FedEx Championship Series race weekends over the past several years. The Grand Prix of the Americas will mark the fifth time this season that the Trans-Am will share the stage with CART's FedEx Championship Series, including the season-opening Grand Prix of Long Beach, April 12-14. Other CART/Trans-Am weekends are scheduled at Cleveland (July 12-14), Road America (Aug. 16-18) and Denver (Aug. 30-Sept. 1).
The Trans-Am event in Miami will be slotted prior to finalization of the revised Grand Prix of the Americas schedule.
SIMO BEGINS TESTING PROGRAM
Brian Simo, the 2000 Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup champion, completed his first day of testing in preparation for the 2002 season on Tuesday, Feb. 26, at Buttonwillow (Calif.) Raceway. Simo and the new Huffaker RaceWerX team tested a Jaguar XKR on the Buttonwillow Road Course, and afterward, Simo pronounced the test "exceptional."
"Everything was flawless and the car is really promising," Simo said. "It's phenomenal to be back with Huffaker horsepower and engineering, and I'm really excited to be working with everyone again."
Huffaker RaceWerX is an alliance between Huffaker Engineering and RaceWerX MotorSports, two teams that have campaigned Simo successfully in the past. Joe Huffaker and Bruce Barkelew are co-owners of the new team, with Lynn Bishop serving as race engineer and George Main as data specialist. The team's chassis and engines are built by Huffaker Engineering in Sonoma, Calif.
While, the Huffaker RaceWerX team is still in the process of securing sponsorship, team co-owner Huffaker is looking forward to a successful Trans-Am campaign.
"We have a lot to offer, combining the strength and marketability of these powerful and proven entities," Huffaker said. "We have all the ingredients to win the Trans-Am title, but sponsorship is eluding us at this time. This is a fantastic and natural combination, with Bruce Barkelew as a partner."
In preparation for the 2002 season, Huffaker RaceWerX launched a new website last week, at www.racewerx.com.
SAKS TO SHARE SECOND CORVETTE AT REVOLUTION MOTORSPORTS
Revolution Motorsports announced last week that the father/son duo of Don and Bobby Sak will share driving duties in the team's second Chevrolet Corvette during the 2002 Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup season. The announcement followed the team's previous announcement that veteran Stu Hayner will drive the team's primary Corvette.
Revolution Motorsports is a first-year Trans-Am team formed by Don Sak, a 17-year veteran of Trans-Am competition. Don Sak is scheduled to take the wheel for nine of 12 Trans-Am events in 2002, while son Bobby will handle driving duties in the other three.
Bobby Sak will also serve as Revolution Motorsports' operations manager, and will be a regular competitor in the SPEED Channel World Challenge. He was the 1998 winner of the Sports Car Club of America's Jim Fitzgerald Rookie of the Year Award.
"I really look forward to this season," Bobby Sak said. "Having been involved in every aspect of this new racing team makes me appreciate the hard work it takes to make it to the Winner's Circle. The experience will surely enhance my racing career."
Don Sak announced that Revolution Motorsports will continue a partnership he instituted with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). At each Trans-Am event, the Saks' car will feature a photo of a missing child specific to that venue's area. The partnership generated national attention last year when seven-year-old Tori Wollangur of Michigan was returned home safely after being featured on Don Sak's car during the Detroit Grand Prix.