The 2017 season culminated for Formula 4 United States Championship Powered by Honda champion Kyle Kirkwood on Friday evening as the up-and-coming star was honored on the same stage as Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton during the FIA Prize Giving Ceremony at the historic Palace of Versailles in France.
The year-end event celebrates the achievements of the FIA championship-winning drivers and teams from around the world.
Highlights of Kirkwood’s evening were walking the red-carpet through the golden palace gates, meeting his racing heroes, receiving a private tour of the Palace and being seated next to the other F4 champion’s from around the world during dinner.
“The whole night was surreal,” Kirkwood said. “I felt a part of the international racing community especially when I talked to Lewis Hamilton about the F4 and F1 race at COTA.”
Additional honorees were, F1 World Championship competitors Sebastian Vettel and Valtteri Bottas, five-time FIA World Rally Champion Sébastien Ogier, FIA World Endurance Championship winners Timo Bernhard, Earl Bamber and Brendon Hartley, as well as the last WTCC champion ever Thed Björk, along with other FIA champions around the world.
The Pirelli World Challenge professional sports car series will race in Portland as part of the traditional Rose Cup Races at Portland International Raceway from July 13 to 15, 2018.
"We are very pleased to bring our entire Pirelli World Challenge field to the famed Portland International Raceway and the racing fans in the Northwest," said Greg Gill, President and CEO of WC Vision, the promoter for World Challenge. "The tradition of the Rose Cup Races has been a staple in the Portland area for nearly 60 years and we believe the PWC weekend will be another exciting chapter to the legacy of road racing at PIR. With many of the iconic automobile marques in our series, fans will see some outstanding competition at a great race track. We can't wait to get back to Portland next July."
The news follows last month's announcement that IndyCar racing will return to Portland next year. A new race in the series will be called the Portland Grand Prix and will at PIR over the Labor Day weekend, Aug. 31 to Sept. 2, 2018.
LEXINGTON, Ohio (August 12, 2017) – Ernie Francis Jr. posted a dominating – if unexpected – flag-to-flag victory in the First Energy 100 Trans Am Series race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Saturday and he depended on Katech Performance to get the job done.
Francis stormed to his fifth victory in seven starts this season in his Ford Mustang after suffering a cracked piston during a practice session Thursday. The engine was trucked to Katech’s shop in Detroit and returned to Mid-Ohio in time to be installed in the car Saturday morning. Francis led every lap Saturday. Qualifying was washed out by rain Friday, allowing Francis to start on the pole and he was never headed. It was the 28th victory for Francis in Trans Am competition.
“This will be a race we’ll remember for a long time.” Francis Jr. said after the win. “Without Katech, we would never be in this position. Katech was our savior. To be able to turn the engine around in a couple of hours … was just incredible.” Katech’s director of motorsports, Kevin Pranger, made a final adjustment just minutes before the race.
Francis didn’t just win the race in his Breathless Racing/Buoniconti Fund/Beta Tools Ford Mustang. He set a race lap record (1 minute, 22.236 seconds) during the event. The former record had stood for five years. During the race, Francis withstood pressure first from two-time defending series champion Amy Ruman and then Martin Ragginger. Even a late-race caution flag that brought the field back to Francis couldn’t wrest the victory away from the Katech power in Francis’ car.
Katech’s Pranger commented, “Ernie Jr. said he felt something during practice and he shut off the engine quickly. The team stayed up late Thursday pulling out the engine. They loaded it up and drove it to our shop, where Katech’s technicians were waiting for it, tools ready. That’s the level of service Katech offers our customers.”
Ernie Francis Sr., the driver’s father, concurred, saying, “We’ve known Kevin for a long time. Having his engine expertise is great!”
It was worth a win Saturday. It could be worth a championship later this year.
Aloha, Oregon, June 13, 2017 | In 1991 the original Dodge Viper RT/10 paced the field for the 75th Running of the Indianapolis 500. Five years later the Dodge Viper GTS was at the point of the 33 car starting grid at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS). Now, in the marque's 25th and final year of production, Cindi Lux will be the first woman to race North America's premier front-engined supercar at the famed "Brickyard". The 12-time road racing champion from Aloha, Oregon will make her season debut in the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli championship on June 17 in the No. 45 Lux Performance Group Dodge Viper ACRX Fueled by Black Rock Coffee.
The Indianapolis event, which runs in conjunction with the very popular SVRA-sanctioned Brickyard Vintage Racing Invitational, marks another milestone for Lux and her husband / engineer and Lux Performance Group partner Fred Lux. 2017 is the 30th year that the combination has raced together. During that time they have won over 80 races, had more than 160 podium finishes and have sat on the pole position for more than 50 races. That success has garnered twelve road racing championships including the 1999 American Le Mans Series Women's Global GT Series SCCA NorPac T1 Class Championships from 2003 - 2006. The operation also ran Dodge's SRT Viper Cup Pro/Celebrity program from 2010 - 2012. Cindi Lux has been closely linked to Viper since 2005 as a factory driver with Dodge Motorsports (2005-2007), Mopar (2008) and SRT (2012).
Lux has had many firsts in her career, but joining the elite names that have raced at the Speedway, Indiana-track since its 1909 debut is a long overdue dream realized. The premiere of Trans Am at Indy has given the veteran racer the opportunity. The Hall of Fame driver will have her first laps of the 2.43-mile, 14-turn IMS road course on Thursday, June 15. The 100-mile/75-minute TA/TA3/TA4 race will start at 3:05 p.m. ET on Saturday, June 17. The race will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network at Noon Eastern Time, June 24 with a rebroadcast on July 1 at Noon.
Lux Performance Group will have a second Dodge Viper ACRX entry at Indianapolis for Dirk Leuenberger (Bellevue, Washington). Leuenberger will make his Viper debut in the No. 35 AquaStar Lux Performance Group ACRX at Indy. With Leuenberger just beginning his motorsport career, Lux is working as a driver coach and program manager for the rookie. The yellow and blue Viper will run in SVRA races over the weekend.
Lux Performance again returns with longtime partners Black Rock Coffee Bar, CoolShirt, Forgeline Wheels and VR Motion for the limited 2017 season. The two-car effort will enter up to eight handpicked races split between the primary Trans Am Series on the east coast and limited single-car entry in the Trans Am's new West Coast Championship.
To kick-off "Indy Week", Cindi Lux was asked to take a prestigious role at the Viper Rendezvous (www.viperrendezvous.com) in Hastings, Nebraska. She made opening remarks on Thursday evening, June 9, and was the Keynote Speaker on Saturday, June 11. She instructed select Viper owners entered for track time in advance performance driving and racing.
SCCA Pro Racing and the Trans Am Race Company extend contract to 2042
LAS VEGAS (Jan. 19, 2017) – After marking their 50th Anniversary in 2016, the Trans Am® Series, presented by Pirelli Tire, and SCCA Pro Racing® are set to celebrate their Diamond Anniversary after signing an unprecedented 25-year agreement with the Trans Am Race Company (TARC).
The landmark deal is the continuation of TARC's licensing and services agreement with SCCA Pro, securing the management, marketing and operational platform that has seen Trans Am grow substantially since the creation of the original partnership in late 2011.
The partnership announcement was made during a press conference held at the annual Sports Car Club of America® National Convention in Las Vegas.
"This unprecedented agreement gives both TARC and SCCA Pro the opportunity to focus on the future of the Trans Am Series," said John Clagett, President of The Trans Am Race Company. "While these past few years have been a tremendous success, we are still working towards our final vision. This agreement allows both partners to concentrate on building and constantly improving the Series. We appreciate the trust and confidence that SCCA Pro has shown in us, and with the operation rights to the Trans Am name secure, we will be shifting our efforts towards building a market platform that emphasizes longevity."
While the renewed partnership between SCCA Pro and TARC will allow both entities to continue building a top professional series, it will also vertically align the Trans Am Series with SCCA® Inc., creating an easy crossover from amateur racing to professional sports car racing to more than 65,000 SCCA club members.
"SCCA Pro Racing is dedicated to running, managing and supporting programs that align with SCCA Club Racing," SCCA Pro Racing President and CEO Mike Collins said. "Trans Am just celebrated its 50th year of competition, crowning champions who all belonged to the SCCA. SCCA Pro is proud that we will continue our relationship with the Trans Am Race Company for the next 25 years. By committing to a long- term relationship with mutual goals, our organizations can focus on making the series great by leveraging both of our resources together to offer a clear path from amateur motorsport to professional racing."
SCCA Pro will continue providing crucial services to Trans Am, including staffing, industry standard participant accident insurance and sanctioning. TARC will remain the marketing and management arm of the Series taking on promotion, the writing and interpretation of rules and staff selection in key roles.
SCCA Pro and the Trans Am Series partnership commenced on March 25, 1966, with a field of 44 cars at Sebring International Raceway in Florida. Future Formula One World Champion Jochen Rindt took the overall victory and Bob Tullius won the Over 2-Liter class. Other first-year notables included A.J. Foyt, Richard Petty, Jerry Titus and Belgium's Jacky Ickx.
After five decades of racing, the series has grown, fielding nearly 80 cars during its 2016 debut race.
"We know there is plenty of work ahead of us," said Clagett, "but with our ownership, competitor base, partners and this long-term agreement in place, I'm confident in TARC's ability to continue, and complete, our work: the restoration of Trans Am to the forefront of North American road racing."
Trans Am will kick-off its 51st season with the Trans Am Championship March 4-5 at Sebring International Raceway. With the addition of Trans Am West Coast Championship, the TARC will host 17 individual events across the continental United States.
For scheduling and more information on transitioning from club racing to professional racing through Trans Am, visit GoTransAm.com.
About the Trans Am Series, presented by Pirelli:
The Trans Am Series, presented by Pirelli, began igniting the passion of motorsports fans across the world in 1966 and has been home to some of the greatest names in road racing. Today, Trans Am continues to honor its legacy, while challenging the status quo in racing, through meaningful racing platforms and a driver-oriented focus. The Trans Am Series is operated by The Trans Am Race Company, LLC (TARC), and oversees the management and marketing of the Trans Am Series, presented by Pirelli. SCCA Pro Racing sanctions Trans Am events and provides operations services to the Series.
Defending Champions include: Amy Ruman (TA), Tony Buffomante (TA2), Randy Mueller (TA3) and Ernie Francis, Jr. (TA4).
For more on the Series visit www.gotransam.com, "like" Trans Am on Facebook at www.facebook.com/gotransam, or follow Trans Am on Twitter at @gotransam.