Many of the top competitors in the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli will be breaking new ground today in the series first venture onto the virtual stage, the Trans Am by Pirelli Showdown at Lime Rock Park.
With this weekend’s scheduled race at Road Atlanta postponed due to the national coronavirus pandemic, drivers from all five Trans Am classes will race in identical 2012 Camaro GT3 cars – prepared identically with spec trim – on the rFactor 2 Simulator platform. The event starts at 4 p.m. ET. Action begins with a 10-minute qualifying session, followed by two 20-minute main events. The grid for the second race will be inverted based on the finish from the first race.
“Being away from the racetrack is difficult for all of us,” said Ernie Francis Jr., winner of the 2020 season opener at Sebring as he began his quest for a seventh consecutive title. “We are super excited to get back to racing in any form – and it’s quite a lot cheaper, too. I think it should be a fun pair of races where anything can happen.”
Being the first time on the digital platform opens the door for aspiring contenders to race on equal footing with the established stars.
“I’m truly thrilled to take the green flag tomorrow with the Trans Am Series on the R Factor 2 online racing platform,” said Michele Abbate, Grr Racing owner/driver and fifth-place finisher in the 2019 TA2 West Coast Championship. “I will be using my Next Level Racing GTTrack sim with Thrustmaster components and I’m honored to be driving with some very established drivers like Champions Ernie Francis Jr., Marc Miller, and Scott Lagasse Jr. I think we are all pretty new to the sim world and it will be exciting to see how the races pan out.”
Cameron Lawrence, a two-time TA2 champion, is also looking forward to the challenge.
“I’m excited to participate in the series’ first Esports race,” Lawrence said. “It’s a great opportunity for our drivers to practice during this unprecedented time.”
The race also gives drivers new to virtual racing the opportunity to hone their racing skills from at home.
“This is my first time using a simulator,” admitted New York City-based Adrian Wlostowski, who achieved an SGT podium finish at Sebring. “I am missing real life racing, but this is the next best thing we can do during this challenging time. This is a good way to help people to get their mind off things and have fun for a little bit. We are praying for everyone sick and everyone on the frontline of the COVID-19 putting themselves at risk to help others.”
Returning to the Trans Am line-up is Marc Miller, the 2019 TA2 champion. Miller upgraded his equipment for today’s race.
“I updated my sim system with some new software last night in preparation for the afternoon rumble,” Miller said. “I’m not letting this no racetrack thing get me down. Let’s race on!”
TA2 contender Scott Lagasse Jr. admits he has no idea of what will happen in today’s races.
“I think this is a really cool opportunity for Trans Am drivers and the series,” Lagasse said. “I am happy to swallow my pride and join in for this inaugural event. I figure the worst that can happen is that I embarrass myself and have to hit the reset button. I’ll feel like I’m the winner if I don’t wreck half of the field just trying to stay on the racetrack.”
Live coverage begins at 4:00 p.m. Eastern with live commentary from Jonathan Green and Ben Cissell.
Fans can stream the action by downloading the free Trans Am by Pirelli app and via UMGGaming on Twitch https://www.twitch.tv/umggaming.