Trans-Am Series Ready for Rumble in the Great White North
May 12, 2003
BOWMANVILLE, Ontario ‹ The relative calm of the Ontario, Canada countryside
will again be interrupted by the thundering roar of V-8 racing engines as
the Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich® Tires Cup visits Mosport
International Raceway. The Victoria Day Trans-Am Series Weekend, Round 3 of
this year¹s championship, is scheduled for Sunday, May 18 at 1 p.m.
Mosport has been a witness to many racing series since it opened in 1961,
but none have been more crucial to the track¹s success than the Trans-Am
Series. The Series, America¹s oldest continuously running road racing
series, has competed 23 times during its 37-year history at the 2.459-mile,
10-turn road course since 1976.
The Mosport race comes at an interesting juncture for the Series. Coming off
two street-course races, Trans-Am Series competitors can now really stretch
the legs of their V-8-engined machines. Considered one of the fastest tracks
on the tour, the Trans-Am Series cars will reach top speeds of nearly 175
miles per hour here.
One active driver in the field is undefeated at Mosport. Scott Pruett,
driver of the No. 7 Jaguar R Performance XKR, has accomplished the seemingly
impossible task of winning each of his three Trans-Am Series starts here,
and once in an SCCA World Challenge endurance race in 1987. Interestingly,
two of those Trans-Am Series victories came during Pruett¹s championship
seasons, in 1987 and 1994. His first triumph came in 1986, his first full
season of Trans-Am Series competition.
This season, Pruett is returning to his Trans-Am Series roots, after an
eight-year hiatus, during which he competed in the Champ Car World Series
and NASCAR. Yet, Pruett is happy to be where he is, and looks forward to the
³It¹s pretty phenomenal when you have an undefeated record at a race track,²
said Pruett, who comes into Mosport with a three-point lead on Boris Said in
the championship standings. ³I don¹t think there are many drivers who can
say they¹re undefeated at a race track, especially four times. One time is
pretty easy; two times, perhaps; but four times is amazing.²
Pruett, who has a victory and a third-place finish at the first two events
of this season‹both of which were held on temporary street courses‹is
excited about the Series¹ first 2003 visit to a permanent road course.
³Going back to Mosport, I¹d like nothing more than come out five for five,²
added Pruett. ³We¹ve had some great performances out of the Jaguar so far
this year, and out of Rocketsports Racing. The lack of testing caught me out
a little bit at Long Beach. I used up the rear tires a little prematurely. I
learned a lot from Long Beach and I¹m going to carry that forward.²
However, Pruett was quick to warn that Mosport is not a track for the faint
³Mosport is one of those tracks where you have to balls it up to go fast,²
said Pruett. ³It¹s not for the timid, and I think that¹s one of the most
exciting things about that track. If you¹re aggressive with it, and not
afraid of it, you¹re going to be competitive. If you¹re tentative, you¹re
going to be running in the middle to the back of the pack.²
But Pruett won¹t be alone in his quest for a repeat victory here, as his
team owner, three-time Trans-Am Series titleholder Paul Gentilozzi, seeks
his third Mosport trophy. Gentilozzi, driver of the No. 3 Jaguar R
Performance XKR, won in 1996, and again in 2001, the year of his third
Drivers¹ Championship. In all, Gentilozzi has finished in the top 10 nine
times, and has scored four top-five finishes.
Although victory has eluded him at Mosport, Johnny Miller, driver of the No.
64 Eaton Cutler-Hammer Jaguar XKR, has a record of success here. Miller
finished second at Mosport last season, behind winner Boris Said. In his six
starts here, Miller has recorded five top-10 and two top-five finishes.
But don¹t count out 2002 BBS Most Improved Driver Randy Ruhlman. Ruhlman
came within one turn of finishing on the podium in 2000 were it not for a
late-race incident, and is looking for big things at Mosport.
Other drivers to watch include Stu Hayner, as well as Tomy Drissi, Michael
Lewis, Max Lagod, Simon Gregg, Glenn Andrew, Ontario native Jerry Simmons,
and John Baucom.
These seasoned veterans will also have some stiff competition from this
year¹s rookie crop. Jorge Diaz, Jr. leads Bobby Sak in the rookie
championship, while Joey Scarallo sits third.
With two returning champions, a host of seasoned veterans, and a talented
rookie crop, all racing at the Series¹ fastest track, this year¹s Mosport
round will definitely be one to watch.
What: The Victoria Day Trans-Am Series Weekend
Round 3 of the Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich® Tires Cup
When: Friday, Saturday and Sunday, May 16, 17, 18, 2003
Race Day: Sunday, May 18, at 1 p.m.
Distance: 41 laps/100.819 miles
Where: The race will be run on the 2.459-mile, 10-turn permanent road
Series PR Contact: Justin Anderson, 517-927-3614, cell at the track
Year Driver Car Time Speed
2002 Butch Leitzinger No. 88 Chevrolet Corvette 1:17.44 113.866
Previous record was held by Ron Fellows in 1995 (1:18.212/113.184 mph)
Year Driver Car Time Speed
2002 Boris Said No. 33 Panoz Esperante 55:06.956 109.749 mph
Previous race record was held by Darin Brasfield in 1988
Race Lap Record
Year Driver Car Time Speed
2002 Butch Leitzinger No. 88 Chevrolet Corvette 1:18.780 112.369
Previous race lap record was held by Tommy Kendall in 1995 (1:21.096/109.15
Gary Blalock, tire engineer for spec tire supplier BFGoodrich® Tires, is
bringing 440 g-Force T/A® tires to Mosport in two dry compounds‹200 (medium)
and 75 (hard)‹and a one full wet compound. Blalock is recommending 26 pounds
per square inch of hot air pressure in all four tires.
³The dynamics are a lot different at a permanent road course versus a street
course,² said Blalock. ³The cornering speeds and the cornering loads are
higher. We want to see higher operating pressures in the rear tires. We
recommend 26 psi front and rear to try to get a little more mechanical grip
to launch off of the corners. Mosport is as fast or faster than any track we
visit all year. It¹s a fast track.²
* Scott Pruett (No. 7 Jaguar R Performance XKR) has a perfect record at
Mosport. Pruett has won in all three of his Trans-Am Series starts (1986,
¹87, ¹94) and also won an SCCA World Challenge Endurance race, driving for
Saleen in 1987. Two of Pruett¹s Trans-Am Series victories came during his
championship seasons in 1987 and 1994. The only other repeat winner in the
field is Paul Gentilozzi (1996, 2001). Inactive repeat winners include
current Indy Racing League IndyCar Series driver Scott Sharp (1991, ¹92,
¹93), Ludwig Heimrath (1976, ¹77), Greg Pickett (1978), Dorsey Schroeder
(1990, ¹95), Brian Simo (1999, 2000), and Bob Tullius (1978, ¹81).
* With a victory here, Gentilozzi will move to within one victory of Tommy
Kendall in the all-time winners¹ list. Kendall sits second in victories with
26, behind the late Mark Donohue.
* This weekend¹s race marks the first visit to a permanent road course this
year by the Trans-Am Series. Pruett said car setup changes significantly
from what is done to prepare for a temporary street course. ³The basic setup
changes because the turns are typically faster,² said Pruett. ³The track
will normally have more grip. You¹re going to look for a little stiffer,
more responsive car. At a street course, you¹re looking for a soft setup.
You¹re just looking for grip. At a permanent circuit, you¹re looking for
support, because you talk about some pretty fast turns. You want different
things out of your car than you would on a street circuit.²
* Coming into Mosport, Pruett leads the championship with 65 points, ahead
of Boris Said (62), Johnny Miller (54), Gentilozzi (50), and rookie Jorge
Diaz, Jr. (41).
* Gentilozzi¹s 2001 Mosport victory was 10th closest in Trans-Am Series
history, eclipsing the 0.265 second margin of victory achieved by Dorsey
Schroeder in 1995. Gentilozzi beat Justin Bell by 0.224 seconds. The closest
margin of victory in Series history came at Green Valley in 1967, when Dan
Gurney led Parnelli Jones under the checkered flag by just three feet.
* Jerry Simmons will take his final checkered flag in the Trans-Am Series
this weekend. Simmons, 60, will make his 93rd Series start this weekend, and
has posted a best finish of ninth, at Trois-Rivières in 1992. Simmons made
his Series debut in 1984 at Watkins Glen International in New York. Simmons
won the 1999 Canadian GT Championship Series race at Mosport.
* The Trans-Am Series race at Mosport has been won by the driver who led
every lap five times. Flag-to-flag winners are: 1979, John Paul, Porsche 935
Turbo; 1987, Pruett, Merkur XR4Ti; 1992, Scott Sharp, Chevrolet Camaro;
1996, Gentilozzi, Chevrolet Camaro; and 1999, Brian Simo, Ford Mustang.
* Gentilozzi will be looking for his third Mosport Trans-Am Series victory
vhere and Jaguar¹s third at Mosport. Bob Tullius won the 1981 Mosport race
in a Group 44 Jaguar XJS. Tullius also won Category I (with Brian
Fuerstenau) in a Group 44 XJS in the 1977 Mosport round.
* Stu Hayner is looking to add a Trans-Am Series victory at Mosport to his
record of five wins here: the 1988 Corvette Challenge, 1989 and 1990
USEC/World Challenge 24 Hours, 1997 Showroom Stock GS and 1999 Motorola Cup.
* Ford¹s Mustang last won a Mosport Trans-Am Series race in 1998 (Brian
Simo, Racewerx); Chevrolet¹s Camaro last won here in 1996 (Paul Gentilozzi,
Rocketsports); and Chevrolet¹s Corvette last won at Mosport in 1988 (Darin
* Overall, Mosport has held 23 Trans-Am Series events; two-class (Category
II and I) events were held in 1976, 1977, 1978, and 1979, while one-class,
current-format events have been held in 1981, from 1984 through 1997, and in
1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002.
* The last 13 races here have seen the following winners: Ron Fellows in
1989, Dorsey Schroeder, 1990; Sharp, 1991, 1992, and 1993; Pruett in 1994;
Schroeder in 1995 as he ended the McCall Racing four-race win streak;
Gentilozzi in 1996, Tommy Kendall in 1997; Simo in 1999 and 2000; Gentilozzi
in 2001; and Said in 2002. Fifteen drivers have won the 23 Mosport races.
* Kendall¹s 1997 victory marked the end of his record 11-race win streak.
* Nine of the 27 (including Category I, 1976-79) Mosport winners have
started from the pole (33.33%): Gentilozzi (1996, 2001), Simo (1999),
victory and Gentilozzi's 1996 victory; Sharp's 1991, 1992, and 1993 wins and
John Paul¹s in 1979; Wally Dallenbach, Jr.¹s in 1985, and Pruett¹s in 1987.
Gentilozzi's win in 1996, however, came from an "inverted pole" as he
actually qualified fifth fastest.
* The outside pole has produced 11 winners (including Said in 2002, Simo in
2000, Schroeder in 1995, Scott Pruett in 1994) or 47.8%, and is thus the
historically "most popular" starting position for Mosport Trans-Am Series
race winners. The "front row" has produced 20 race winners, or 86.9% of the
* The 2000 race set the Mosport Trans-Am Series record for lead-lap
finishers with 19, replacing the 1995 race¹s 15.
* Schroeder's 1995 victory in a Ford ended a Chevrolet victory streak at
four, the Mosport Trans-Am Series marque win-streak record. Chevrolet won
again in 1996, however, with Gentilozzi, before Kendall struck back for Ford
in 1997. Simo won for Ford in 1999 and for Qvale in 2000. Gentilozzi put
Jaguar in the win column in 2001. Said gave the Panoz Esperante its
first-ever Trans-Am Series victory in 2002.
* The McCall team holds the Mosport Trans-Am Series consecutive win record
of four (1991-94).