So the United States Touring Car Championship race this weekend was combined with the Trans-Am series at Sonoma Raceway.
Just for fun, Carl Rydquist decided that he would like to run not only the USTCC race but also try and get some track time by running with Trans-Am.
There were just a couple of problems...
First was that the team had decided to just show up on Sunday to run the USTCC race and so had not qualified for Trans-Am on Saturday.
Also, the car had to meet tech inspection for Trans-Am.
And then there was the fact that the Trans-Am series is sponsored by Pirelli and the USTCC is sponsored by Hankook. In other words, we didn't have any legal tires and Pirelli did not have any our size on hand.
So after some bartering including Carl's first born child, Trans-Am agreed to let the GTM run but it must change a couple of minor things before the next race if we want to run with them again. They allowed us to start from the back for Trans-Am, and our arch rivals, Flying Lizard, who happened to be at Sonoma this weekend, sold us a pair of their old, used Pirellis so we could run this race.
So far, pretty darn lucky that everything fell into place. But wait! There's more!
So Carl starts last in the 25 car Trans-Am field and just immediately goes to work on moving up the field. Passing one, then another, then 3-4 cars. By the 10th lap of a scheduled 40 he is running 7th overall!
About half way through the race a couple of the really fast cars have issues and he moves up to sixth!
Then in the last ten laps of the race it appears that some of the front runners have worn their tires out. Carl is about 20 seconds back from 5th and picking up 1-2 seconds a lap!
Then some luck from lap traffic and the fact that Carl is maintaining his first couple laps race pace and he moves into 5th!
I'm losing my mind at this point and then the unthinkable happens...he passes the 4th place car with a couple laps to go and finishes just off the podium!!!!
I mean THIS is TRANS-AM! These are some seriously fast cars with some seriously talented drivers. Some of these cars push 900 HP while we have a little over 500. This is AMAZING!
Then, after the hour and 10 minute Trans-Am race the crew changed the tires, put fuel in the car and Carl went out and won the USTCC race overall!
It just goes to show that the FFR PDG GTM and our drivers have taken this car to extreme performance levels.
It was an epic weekend, and one for the history books, with special thanks to our sponsors...Factory Five Racing, Mendeola Transaxles, MyRaceShop.com, and Baja Designs Lighting.
More of the Trans-Am story can be read here...