Trans-Am Racing History

Trans-Am is a uniquely American racing series that is sanctioned by the SCCA (Sports Car Club of America). SCCA President (at the time) John Bishop created the Trans-American Sedan Championship in 1966 and the next year changed to current name Trans-American Championship, Trans-Am for short. The original format was a Manufacturer’s Championship series for modified passenger sedans and coupes.

The Trans-Am Series competes on road courses and street circuits. The road courses include paved raceways and temporarily closed public roads. Street circuits are primarily temporarily closed public roadways and abandoned airport runways. They ran all over the country, in Canada, and Mexico.

From the late 1960’s to the mid 1970’s, road racing was in its glory days. Watching “factory” Trans-Am cars roll around the track muscle-ing it out on the weekends gave inspiration for the phrase “Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday”. Burns Stainless has Merge Collectors and Performance Y-Pipes used in Trans-Am race cars.

Road AtlantaBurns Stainless has quite the history with Trans-Am Racing from the late 1980’s through the 1990’s we sponsored several winning race teams. Burns Stainless, has built headers for the Newman/Sharp Nissan 300ZX Turbo working directly with engine builder Gene Crowe. Many of the cars from the early 2000's had headers designed by Vince Roman.

Other Trans-Am Racers Include:

  • Tom Gloy, who won the 1984 Trans-Am Championship.
  • Paul Gentilozzi; apparently, quite the character and won five drivers’ championships and nine manufacturers’ championships while holding the T/A record wins, poles, top three finishes, and prize monies won.
  • Greg Pickett who holds five decades of T/A championships. His stats second that only to Gentilozzi. Pickett helped launch Jack Roush’s legacy as a Trans-Am team owner and first to win for him in 1985.
  • Les Lindley who by weekday would run his Fire Sprinkler company and, on the weekends, would change from pinstriped suit to a fire suit and compete in the Trans-Am circuit. He is one of four drivers to switch to the nimbler V6 to get the corners faster which led him to his best at finishing fourth twice and fifth twice in the 1985 season.
  • Deborah Gregg who started racing after her racer husband passed away in 1980 became Rookie of the year and fifth in championship for the 1986 season in a Roush Mercury Capri.
  • Tony Ave in 2010 brought Chevrolet their first Trans Am in a Corvette win since Gentilozzi’s win in 1998. It was his second year in T/A and won the 2010 and 2011 T/A Series Championships.
  • Jim DerHaag was, in 1983, the first Trans-Am driver to finish every race in the series since the series began in 1966. In that season he finished 13 on the first race and improved one position each of the next 12 races to end with the best finish in 6th place and sixth in points.
  • Andy Porterfield competed in 40 Trans-Am events and finished in the top 10 13 times and twice as third overall. A consummate businessman, he started Porterfield Enterprises mainly making brake pads and rotors, knowing that in racing, “stopping is just as important as going.”
  • Boris Said in the early 2000’s was racing in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series and had a great Trans-Am career wining over 40 races in SCCA including Trans-Am and IMSA. Boris won the 2002 Trans-Am Series Championship during a season where he won all but 4 races.
  • Lou Gigliotti founder of LG Motorsports had a 20% win ratio and in 1990 took the Long Beach Grand Prix and Trans Am events along with Lime Rock’s Grand Prix and Trans Am races.
Trans Am RacersPhotos above top row: Gene Crowe, Paul Gentilozzi, Greg Pickett, Les Lindley, Deborah Gregg. Bottom Row: Tony Ave, Jim DerHaag, Andy Porterfield, Boris Said, Lou Gigliotti.

Today Trans-Am racing is still going strong in TA, TA2, TA3, and TA4 classes for “silhouette” cars and production classes range from GT1, GT2, and GT3. Many tracks have noise level rules and we have just the right lightweight mufflers that keep you in good standing and have the performance to win. We are proud to say one of our GT2 sponsored racers; Sterling Cole with the GPR Autosport Mazda ran 1st place recently at NHMS and less than on second off the track record! 

As you can see, we have worked with this handful and many more racers. Watch for more details on all of them and YOU as we continue to share their stories of wins/losses and triumphs.

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