Trans-Am series to incorporate pit stops during 2002 racing season CLEARWATER, Fla. (March 27, 2002) -- The Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup, North America's longest-running road racing series, has announced several...
Trans-Am series to incorporate pit stops during 2002 racing season
CLEARWATER, Fla. (March 27, 2002) -- The Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup, North America's longest-running road racing series, has announced several competition-related rules changes for its 2002 season, the most significant of which will likely make pit stops an essential part of the competition.
The series has mandated a reduction in the size of fuel cells for all Trans-Am entries, from 32 to 24 gallons. The new rule is expected to promote more pit stops for fuel, even as most Trans-Am events are expected to follow the customary 100-mile race format.
"We feel that the addition of pit stops to our events will bring another exciting dimension to Trans-Am competition," says Trans-Am Series president Dennis Huth. "Pit crews play an integral role in the successes of their teams at all levels of motorsport, and given the Trans-Am Series' 100-mile, sprint-race format, the precious fractions of a second a team can save with an efficient pit performance can literally mean the difference between victory and second place."
The series has also simplified its pit stop rules, so that fuel stops will now be permitted anytime, including during caution periods. A maximum of two tires will be allowed to be changed during any pit stop, including those for fuel, and in the interest of promoting pit lane safety, air jacks will be permissible on all 2002 Trans-Am entries.
Sunoco Race Fuels have been adopted as the Official Fuel of the Trans-Am Series. Sunoco's partnership with the series will help to ensure a level playing field for all Trans-Am competitors from a fuel standpoint.
"It's hard to say what to expect until after the first couple races," said Michael Lewis, driver of the AmeriSuites Jaguar for American Spirit Racing, in assessing the rule change, "but it will certainly stir the pot, and add one more variable to the mix at each race. The fact that the stops can be made at any time and that all work can be done simultaneously instead of having to wait for the fueling to be done, will definitely inject some strategy. I'm sure everyone will be doing some hard thinking before the Long Beach opener.
"I know the AmeriSuites crew is excited about the opportunity to show its stuff," added Lewis, who was voted by his fellow drivers as the winner of the BBS Most Improved Driver Award in the 2001 Trans-Am Series. "It definitely will add some excitement to their day and the races in general."
"During a yellow-flag situation, we drivers are definitely going to have to take care not to make a mistake and possibly hurt someone. It still happens in NASCAR, and those guys have pit stops down to an art, so we really need to be alert, particularly in the first few races."
The Trans-Am Series, sanctioned by Englewood, Colorado-based Sports Car Club of America Pro Racing, is the longest-running road racing series in North America, entering its 37th year of competition in 2002. Gentilozzi will be looking to claim his fourth title against a strong field of rivals, including Brian Simo, Johnny Miller, Tommy Archer, Michael Lewis and Rookie of the Year Justin Bell. The 12-race Trans-Am Series season begins on Sunday, April 14, at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Calif.). Three of the Trans-Am's mid-season events will be televised nationally by CBS Sports, while the others will air on SPEED Channel. All Trans-Am drivers compete for the prestigious BFGoodrich Tires Cup, emblematic of the series title.
-scca pro racing-