SEBRING, Fla. [March 1, 2017] – The Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli is set to commence its 2017 season this coming weekend, March 4-5, at Sebring International Raceway with 76 cars entered across four classes. The annual opening round at Sebring has become a modern-era tradition for Trans Am, with every season for the past four years beginning anew at the very location the Series held its inaugural event in 1966.
Now the revitalized Series descends upon Sebring once more, set to hold two 100.98-mile, 27-lap, races on the legendary 3.74-mile circuit—a TA, TA3 and TA4 multi-class race and a TA2 centric race will both be held on Sunday, March 5th. The field stands as Trans Am's third largest in Series history, just three short of last yea's Sebring field of 78— a testament to the stability of the now revitalized Series.
Making their much-anticipated debut at Sebring will be Pirelli, commencing its role as the Official Tire, ready to display the result of nearly a year's worth of design and development efforts dedicated to the creation of purpose-built P Zero tires for the TA and TA2 classes—two of road racing’s more distinctive classes.
The TA class will feature 26 of the iconic 875-horsepower GT cars that have carried the Trans Am banner for decades, key amongst them is two-time defending champion Amy Ruman, driver of the No. 23 McNichols Company Chevrolet Corvette, who once more returns to defend her title.
2017 offers an unenviable challenge for Ruman, with former TA champions also making their return to the TA field. 2013-2014 TA Champion Doug Peterson, in the No. 87 3-Dimensional Services Cadillac CTS-V, is set to make his return after a year away and will be joined by Simon Gregg, 2012 Champion and driver of the No. 59 Derhaag Motorsports Chevrolet Corvette, as well as 2009 Champion Tomy Drissi, driver of the No. 8 Ghost in The Shell Chevrolet Corvette. This season marks Drissi's first year of full-time Trans Am participation since 2010.
Aside from the champions, other notable returnees to the TA class include Cliff Ebben, David Pintaric, John Baucom and 2016 Rookie of the Year Vinnie Allegretta.
A title challenger may also arise from the ranks of TA class newcomers, including 2014, 2015 and 2016 TA4 Champion Ernie Francis, Jr., in the No. 98 Breathless Pro/ Beta Tools Ford Mustang, set to make his TA class debut at Sebring. Other notable newcomers to the Series include Hollywood stunt driver and NASCAR veteran Stanton Barrett, Jeff Hinkle and Lawrence Lepurage.
Last year's TA race proved to be full of surprises, with Kenny Bupp claiming his first career Trans Am victory. Kerry Hitt and Claudio Burtin joined Bupp on the podium, a result in which the top three finishers had all qualified outside the top ten.