Hima Maher to run rest of season

HIMA MAHER TO COMPETE IN THE BALANCE OF THE 2005 TRANS-AM SEASON CALGARY, Alberta (June 3, 2005) -- Calgary resident and veteran sports car racing driver Hima Maher announced today plans to compete in each of the eight scheduled races...

HIMA MAHER TO COMPETE IN THE BALANCE OF THE 2005 TRANS-AM SEASON

CALGARY, Alberta (June 3, 2005) -- Calgary resident and veteran sports car racing driver Hima Maher announced today plans to compete in each of the eight scheduled races remaining on the 2005 Trans-Am Series calendar. Maher will drive a Chevrolet Corvette fielded by veteran Trans-Am team Derhaag Motorsports and sponsored by Centennial Motorsports.

The move successfully caps a five-year quest for Maher, who is a veteran of several racing series, and is the 2004 Canadian GT Championship titleholder.

"I have been working toward this moment for nearly five years," said Maher. "In 2000, I competed as a rookie in the Sports Car Club of British Columbia Invitational, which was part of the Molson Indy Vancouver. I put our Nissan 300ZX GT-2 car on the overall pole in a field that included GT-1, GT-2 and GT-3 cars. I led the most laps in that race and finished second to a GT-1 car, which passed me on the final lap. I remember being asked in the press conference about my future racing plans. I said: ‘My dream is to run Trans-Am.' Since then, I have worked toward this goal. Five years later, here I am. It was a vision thing. If you envision something, and stick with it, then you should end up there."

Maher will make his Trans-Am debut at Portland during the G.I. Joe's presents the Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland weekend June 17-18 at Portland International Raceway. Maher tested with the Derhaag team last month at Mid-America and came away satisfied with his progress.

"This is a big debut for me," said Maher. "We'll keep our formula simple: be well prepared and go from there. (Team owner) Jim Derhaag has given me great advice. He said we should set realistic goals. Our test was a very intense two days. I studied as much as I could about the car, the gearing, and the track and I made sure my physical conditioning was up to the task. We took every lap as seriously as we could. It was a lot of fun, but we also got a lot done. There was an open conversation between Jim, the race engineer and myself, which was important. We met the goals set for each session, and when the team asked for more, we were able to provide it."

"We're very pleased to be fielding a car for a driver of Hima's caliber," said Derhaag Motorsports team owner Jim Derhaag, who is also a veteran of 150 Trans-Am starts as a driver. "Hima did quite well during his first laps in a Trans-Am car at Mid-America. He should be very competitive in the Trans-Am Series."

Maher, who was born in Kenya, won the 2004 Sports Car Club of British Columbia Invitational, part of the Molson Indy Vancouver, and he also competed in Porsche Club events at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and Portland. Maher is a veteran of both the Barber Dodge Pro Series and 750 Super Bike motorcycle competition.

The Trans-Am Series features closed-fendered, production-based, V-8-powered sports cars, competing on permanent road courses, and temporary street and airport circuits throughout North America. The Trans-Am Series is America's oldest continuously running road racing series and celebrates its 40th continuous year of competition in 2005.

Based in Shakopee, Minn., Derhaag Motorsports began competing in late model stock car racing in 1972 on short tracks across the Midwest. In 1981, the team made its first appearance in the Trans-Am Series and has been a full-time competitor with the Series since 1983. The team, known for reliability, boasts one of the highest finishing records in Trans-Am.

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Series Trans-Am
Drivers Hima Maher