BFG Trans-Am, Elkhart Lake Preview (GREENVILLE, SC) --- The NTB Trans-Am Championship makes its final appearance on a natural terrain road course this weekend at Elkhart Lake's (WI) Road America. After successful racing conditions at Watkins ...
BFG Trans-Am, Elkhart Lake Preview
(GREENVILLE, SC) --- The NTB Trans-Am Championship makes its final appearance on a natural terrain road course this weekend at Elkhart Lake's (WI) Road America. After successful racing conditions at Watkins Glen, BFGoodrich Tires will again use the harder BFGoodrich g-Force T/A radial compound on all Trans-Am entries.
Road America is the longest course on the Trans-Am schedule, measuring four miles long and featuring 14 turns. It is one of the few circuits on the Trans-Am schedule sporting an almost equal number of right- and left-hand turns, resulting in heat being generated in all four tires, especially through the long, grinding Carousel sweeper. Road America is also one of the fastest tracks on the schedule with a 1997 pole speed of 112.718 miles per hour.
"In advance of each track we visit," said BFGoodrich Tires Director of Motorsports Herb Johnson, "our engineers study the course layout and features to determine the best recommendations of tire compound and pressures. Looking at Road America, we decided it would be best to go with the 75 compound."
After reviewing the track conditions last weekend at Watkins Glen, BFGoodrich Tires engineers selected the harder compound for the race, marking the first time that all Trans-Am competitors had used this compound exclusively in racing conditions. Following the event, competitors agreed that they were able to race hard from the start of the race to the very end without worrying about saving their tires. This weekend's race at Elkhart Lake will be the second race in which only the "75s" will be used.
Among those leading the charge on the harder compound this weekend is Chicago native Brian Simo. In the four years that Simo has competed at Road America, he has two second-place finishes and one fourth-place finish to his credit. His best shot at a victory here came in 1997 when he led late in the race after eventual winner Tom Kendall made a pit stop to change to dry tires while Simo remained on rain tires.
"I typically like the fast tracks like Road America," said Simo. "And I've done relatively well at Elkhart Lake without ever having won the thing. We hope that, using the BFGoodrich Tires 75 compound, the field will be a little bit more evenly matched than at other events and we'll be able to race hard the entire time. We were certainly able to do that last weekend at Watkins Glen."
At the last race, third-place finisher Stu Hayner set the race's fastest lap on his final tour of the circuit. In all, twelve competitors established their quickest lap within the final four laps of the race.
"The Glen was the first time that the competitors had used the 75 compound exclusively," said Johnson. "It was a leap of faith, on their part, that paid off. When the drivers saw how hard they were able to race and how fast they could go at the end of the race, they became believers."
"As a spectator," Johnson continued, "I can't wait to get to Road America because the racing action is going to be great. This track has a lot of wide, open spaces that invite drivers to make bold passes. It will be a fight from beginning to end."
Practice and qualifying for Elkhart Lake will begin Friday morning, August 14, with the race scheduled for 3:00 p.m. Saturday afternoon, August 15. The race will be televised on The Nashville Network (TNN) Sunday, August 16 at 2:00 p.m. An encore presentation of the race will air August 21 at 8:00 p.m.
BFGoodrich Tires has won a number of racing victories and championships in the three decades since the company first entered racing, including: the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans, the 24 Hours of Daytona, IMSA GTP prototype competition, IMSA GTO, the Baja 500 and Baja 1000, SODA off-road competition and SCORE championships.