The Challenger Hellcat has been dominating the Jalopnik Front Page, and rightfully so. Before that, there were all the stories about the epic Z/28 Camaro which even can rival Europe's best. And Ford launched the new Mustang in between all of this. Musclecars everywhere. So why on earth are the big three missing out on the opportunity to revive one of the most legendary racing series ever, Trans-Am?
What is the problem with NASCAR? They don't do enough road courses and the cars look like oversized caricatures of the beigemobiles they imitate. WTCC on the other hand isn't that spectacular, now has too much aero and not enough power.
And that's where modern Trans-Am comes into play. The basic rules would look like this in my imagination:
I. The chassis will be left stock, and so will the subframe. A full cage matching FIA GT3 standards will be welded in. And of course all the other safety gear, like window nets, carbon shell seats and HANS. We don't want anyone to die. Minimal weight is 1400kg.
II. The sole aero/body modification allowed are brake ducts, a rear spoiler lip and a modest front splitter. Too much aero means losing grip when following another car closely, making it increasingly difficult to overtake.
III. Suspension may be modified, but the geometry needs to stay the same, and all the components that are being replaced have to be available on the market for customers to buy. Brake kits will have a maximum diameter of 350mm, be available on the market and are only allowed to be made of aluminum/steel/notcarbonceramic. Manufacturers love using phrases like "from track to street", so why not apply it for once?
IV. Tires will be supplied by one manufacturer and be pretty wide. I don't know how wide, but mechanical grip is key. Rims are free to choose as long as they are made of metal. And no tire warmers on the gird!
V. Engines are free to choose but are limited to 720hp at the crank, dyno tested and verified by an independent sanctioning body like IMSA. The gearbox can be any sequential, single clutch 7speed unit mated to a heavy duty clutch, operated by stick and not by flappy pedals.
VI. Balance of performance will be applied. This series is about close racing in different vehicles and not an engineering championship.
VII. All cars that are entered must be available for purchase at a ready-to-race maximum price of 150.000$.
The US has some of the best, natural race tracks in the world. Let's not ignore them like NASCAR does and have some epic races on them.
1. Sebring – Tradition and stuff. Also, 720hp cars on a bumpy track? Yes please.
2. Long Beach – America's Monaco.
3. Laguna Seca – Is any racing series complete without a visit to Monterrey?
4. Mid-Ohio – A track that makes nearly every racing series have a spectacular race.
5. Detroit Belle Isle – Visiting the big three's home.
6. Watkins Glen – As part of the Sprint Cup event, and to show them how true stockcars should look like.
7. Road Atlanta – Probably my favorite track outside of Europe. Must have.
8. Circuit to the Americas – The F1 weekend could use a bit more support program, and why not have modern American icons entertain the fans?
Friday will only see one hour long practice session so that the series can be included in most major racing series events without messing up the whole schedule. On Saturday, only half an hour of practice, followed quickly by a 20 minute Qualifying 1, with the top 3 going on to a single-lap shootout. The first race of about 60 minutes of length is held on Saturday as well, and Sunday would be handled with the exact same sessions prior to Race 2. There are no mandated pit stops, but teams of course can chose to change tires during the race if they wish.
All of this offers a lot of action throughout the weekend without astronomical costs, exactly what possible participants and sponsors need.
Basically, everyone can enter, and everyone can either buy a car or build one. What I really want to see is each of the manufacturers having one or two guest cars, as Porsche does in the Carrera Cup. This way special drivers such as Dempsey, Loeb, Montoya, Keselowski and other big names can make one-off appearances without too much conflict between interest groups.
And that's pretty much it. Badass, cost effective Penske-Mustangs battling it out with Riley-Challengers and Hendrick-Camaros. Please Mr. France, can you make it happen, maybe as reconciliation for the horror and pain you put us through with TUSC?