Trans-Am Series announces new rules

LANSING, Mich. - The Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup has instituted several significant rule changes for the 2003 season. The 2003 rules give multi-valve engines a much-needed boost. Four-valve, 275-cubic-inch, fuel-injected engines...

LANSING, Mich. - The Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup has instituted several significant rule changes for the 2003 season. The 2003 rules give multi-valve engines a much-needed boost. Four-valve, 275-cubic-inch, fuel-injected engines will be allowed to run this year with no weight penalty.

"Multi-valve engines are the wave of the future," said Trans-Am Series Technical Director David King. "Most street cars are powered by multi-valve engines, as are many race cars. We believe that by being proactive this year, and encouraging multi-valve engines, the series will benefit greatly in the future."

Other engine rules remain essentially unchanged, and 358- and 366-c.i. V-8 engines will be allowed for cars which meet special GT-1 class eligibility requirements.

The 358-c.i. engine must have a 13:1 compression ratio, while 366-c.i. cars will be limited to a 9.5:1 compression ratio. Cars powered by 358-c.i. and 366-c.i. engines must have a minimum weight of 2,750 pounds.

The 275-c.i., four-valve fuel-injected V-8 and the 311-c.i., two-valve engines will again be legal for all regular Trans-Am Series competitors. As in the past, two-valve engines running fuel injection will receive a 25-pound weight penalty.

This year, the Series will also provide spec, sealed MSD ignition systems-which include all necessary ignition parts such as coils and rev limiters-to all competitors. The ignition systems will be distributed during pre-race inspection by a blind draw. Any tampering or modifications to the system by competitors will result in a penalty, disqualification and/or fines. A standard mounting plate and spec ignition harnesses are also required.

"We're policing traction control vigorously," said King. "The Series-issued ignition systems will help aid in that pursuit.

"The amplifiers are sealed," added King. "The wiring harness and components that plug into the system comprise spec parts. The harness is separate from every other wiring harness in the car and can be very easily inspected." Through a new "Trans-Am Revealed" program, teams selected by the Technical Director will be required to remove all body panels of their car prior to the race to allow other teams and the Trans-Am technical team to inspect the car's chassis. The objective of the program is to remove any secrecy regarding each team's design as it relates to chassis and hardware configurations.

The sessions will be timed so as to allow a team enough time to disassemble, allow inspection and reassemble their car prior to the race. The Trans-Am Revealed sessions will be open to all credentialed team members.

Fuel cell size has been returned to 33 gallons, up from last year's 24-gallon spec. This will eliminate what was for many teams a mandatory fuel stop. While pit stops are allowed at any point during the race, they are not going to be the focal point of the event. Stops will allow the changing of four tires and refueling, if the team has opted for a different strategy. The Series will now feature a "Fast Five Lap," during which one championship point will be awarded to all cars within five seconds of the leader. The "Fast Five" lap will be announced by the Chief Steward during the parade lap and will occur during the first half of the race. Championship points will also be awarded for competitors leading one lap and the driver who leads the most laps.

Also, by mid-season, drivers will be required to wear either a HANS or Hutchens Device.

The 2003 Trans-Am Series Rule Book is available in the "Paddock" section of www.trans-amseries.com.

The Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup features closed-fendered, production-based, V-8-powered sports cars. The Trans-Am Series is America's oldest continuously running sports car racing series and celebrates its 38th anniversary in 2003.

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Series Automotive , Trans-Am