The name ‘TA2’ might sound like the fol­low-up to an Arnold Schwartzeneg­ger block­buster, but it’s ac­tu­ally the moniker for a se­quel to the iconic Trans-Am Se­ries that’s about to hit Aus­tralia.

Australian Muscle Car - - Contents -

The name ‘TA2’ might sound like the fol­low-up to an Arnold Schwartzeneg­ger block­buster, but it’s ac­tu­ally the moniker for a se­quel to the iconic Trans-Am Se­ries – and it’s com­ing to a race track near you!

Amer­ica’s Trans-Am TA2 for­mula has launched in Aus­tralia. The TA2 Rac­ing Aus­tralia cat­e­gory is al­ready fir­ing on all cylin­ders, with size­able grids of mod­ern mus­cle cars hit­ting lo­cal race­tracks in the sec­ond half of 2016. TA2 pays homage to the mus­cle car ri­valry of the Sports Car Club of Amer­ica’s Trans-Amer­i­can Sedan Cham­pi­onship which was es­tab­lished in 1966. From its hum­ble be­gin­nings, Trans-Am led to decades of great races and leg­endary driv­ers, none greater than the ‘pony car wars’ between 1966 and 1972. This was an era that left a dis­tinct mark not only on the Trans-Am iden­tity, but the global au­to­mo­tive land­scape. Dur­ing this golden era, the se­ries was bol­stered by heavy fac­tory in­volve­ment, big-name driv­ers, and cars that were closely re­lated to what could be pur­chased straight off the show­room floor.

The orig­i­nal Trans-Am also made its mark down un­der as the Amer­i­can-sourced ma­chines of Al­lan Mof­fat (Coke Mus­tang) and Bob Jane (Chev Ca­maro) took on the Aussie metal of Beechey and Geoghe­gan in the Im­proved Pro­duc­tion class that con­tested the Aus­tralian Tour­ing Car Cham­pi­onship.

The retro Aus­tralian Trans-Am Se­ries (for late 1960s and early 1970s mod­els) has en­joyed an ever-in­creas­ing fol­low­ing in both its na­tive Queens­land and south of the Tweed, cour­tesy of Mus­cle Car Masters ap­pear­ances at Syd­ney Mo­tor­sport Park and com­pet­ing along­side V8 Su­per­car sup­port cat­e­gory, Tour­ing Car Masters.

The con­tem­po­rary Trans-Am Se­ries (for cars based on lat­est gen­er­a­tion mus­cle cars) re­turned to the US rac­ing scene a few years ago. In 2016 its cham­pi­onship vis­its such clas­sic Amer­i­can tracks as Se­bring, Road At­lanta, Road Amer­ica, Daytona’s road course, Watkins Glen and the new Cir­cuit of the Amer­i­cas in Texas. Com­pe­ti­tion is con­ducted across four classes – TA, TA2, TA3 and TA4. But it’s the TA2 class that has proven the most pop­u­lar in both the cat­e­gory’s home­land and via ex­pan­sion to Swe­den, Canada, Costa Rica and now Aus­tralia. There’s also a ‘Euro Se­ries’.

TA2 Rac­ing Aus­tralia en­ters the Aus­tralian mo­tor­sport scene un­der the man­age­ment of the afore­men­tioned Aus­tralian Trans-Am Se­ries, bring­ing the ‘old school’ and the ‘new school’ un­der the same man­age­ment struc­ture. Aus­tralian Trans-Am cat­e­gory di­rec­tor and tour­ing car vet­eran John English is a mem­ber of the Tran­sAm man­age­ment group and sees a great fu­ture for both classes.

“The Aus­tralian Trans-Am group has agreed to merge with the new TA2 group of Trans-Am cars to form a strong al­liance un­der one man­age­ment um­brella and we wel­come them on­board for what will be an ex­cit­ing growth jour­ney for both groups,” said English.

The mod­ern-day Trans-Am Se­ries’ global suc­cess stems from a fo­cus on cost con­trol and par­ity, cou­pled with an em­pha­sis on driver com­pe­ti­tion. The TA2 for­mula utilises a space­frame chas­sis con­structed by Trans-Am stal­wart Howe Rac­ing En­ter­prises weigh­ing 250kg, a con­trolled GM Mo­tor­sport LS3 en­gine pack­age de­vel­op­ing 525 horse­power, and a choice of a Ford Mus­tang, Chev Ca­maro or Dodge Chal­lenger body.

Just like in the his­toric se­ries, the race­cars’ body styling is seen as be­ing as im­por­tant as per­for­mance. The look of the mod­ern TA2 cars is both ag­gres­sive and fa­mil­iar to fans of the Mus­tang, Ca­maro and Chal­lenger.

The ori­gin of the class of cars now be­ing pro­duced for TA2 Rac­ing Aus­tralia be­gan in 2009 when Swedish busi­ness own­ers Hans Emeren and Tony Bryntes­son con­tacted Charles ‘Chas’ Howe, who op­er­ates Michi­gan-based Howe Rac­ing En­ter­prises, about build­ing a chas­sis for a new cat­e­gory known to­day as V8 Thun­der Cars.

With the suc­cess of the class in Scan­di­navia, the cars were adapted to the US mar­ket as the Trans-Am Se­ries was re­vived in 2011. Both the Amer­i­can and Aus­tralian builds are 4” wider than the Swedish ver­sion and built to ac­com­mo­date the low-cost 15” wheels and the bias-ply Hoosier rac­ing tyres.

In­clud­ing the 17 ex­am­ples of the TA2 Rac­ing Aus­tralia cars – nine of which have al­ready landed in Aus­tralia and the re­main­der set to ar­rive by the end of Septem­ber – the to­tal num­ber of Howe-built TA2 cars glob­ally now ex­ceeds 220.

This year saw the global de­but of the new gen­er­a­tion-six Ca­maro and Mus­tang bod­ies, along­side the gen­er­a­tion-five Dodge Chal­lenger. In an­other first, the cars be­ing con­structed for TA2 Aus­tralia will be the first to run the Aus­tralian-made PWR en­gine coolant ra­di­a­tor and oil cool­ers. Bob Thorn and Kees Weel of PWR threw full sup­port be­hind the de­sign and test­ing of a sys­tem to suit these Aus­tralian bound race­cars, and have im­pressed the con­struc­tors enough to now of­fer the PWR pack­age to Amer­i­can TA2 teams. Howe is op­ti­mistic about the po­ten­tial for the same type of con­ta­gious pop­u­lar­ity in Aus­tralia that there has been in each coun­try that has in­tro­duced the class.

The key to the wide­spread pop­u­lar­ity of the

class is that the cost ver­sus per­for­mance is a pri­mary con­sid­er­a­tion. The TA2 race­car is built on a cost-ef­fec­tive plat­form, pro­duc­ing speeds that are more than ca­pa­ble of rais­ing eye­brows. The se­ries’ unique one-spec for­mula sets driver against driver, with skill on the track, not the money spent off the track, what will set driv­ers apart and pro­pel them to the top of the pack.

TA2 Rac­ing Aus­tralia has al­ready at­tracted the likes of for­mer V8 Su­per­car pri­va­teer and 2014 Aus­tralian Trans-Am Cham­pion Craig Har­ris, for­mer V8 Ute racer Greg Wil­lis, for­mer Tour­ing Car Masters en­trant Ian McAl­is­ter and for­mer V8 Su­per­car pri­va­teer and chair­man of the board at PWR Bob Thorn.

The all-new se­ries launched with a pub­lic demon­stra­tion at the Shan­nons 2 Days of Thun­der at Queens­land Race­way in June fea­tur­ing four gen­er­a­tion-six Ford Mus­tangs and a gen­er­a­tion-five Chevro­let Ca­maro, be­fore head­ing to Wake­field Park Race­way for a show­case along­side the Stock Cars Aus­tralia cat­e­gory at the AASA NSW State Cham­pi­onships.

Then came TA2’s com­pet­i­tive de­but at Lake­side Park on Au­gust 6 and 7, where it was joined by sis­ter cat­e­gory, the Aus­tralian Trans-Am Se­ries for a mus­cle car dou­ble-header.

TA2 im­porter Peter Robin­son says the class has ex­pe­ri­enced un­prece­dented growth and in­ter­est since the first cars hit the track.

“Eight more cars are on or­der from the USA which are due to land in Aus­tralia at the end of Septem­ber, adding to 17 cars in to­tal. In amongst these are two Dodge Chal­lengers.

“I will be head­ing to the USA shortly to visit with Chas Howe of Howe Rac­ing En­ter­prises and dis­cuss TA2 Rac­ing Aus­tralia. Also on the agenda will be dis­cus­sions about an in­ter­na­tional se­ries, as well as the pos­si­bil­ity of hav­ing guest driv­ers,” said Robin­son.

A car (com­plete with en­gine) can be landed in Aus­tralia for about $120,000, based on late-Au­gust 2016 ex­change rates.

More in­for­ma­tion on the se­ries can be found at ta2racin­gaus­tralia.com This story is based on ma­te­rial and in­for­ma­tion sup­plied to AMC by Aus­tralian Trans-Am Se­ries/ TA2 Rac­ing Aus­tralia.

TA2 is a space­fame-chas­sis and con­trol-en­gined class with the choice of Mus­tang-, Ca­maro- and Chal­lenger-like body­work.

TA2 is al­ready up and run­ning in Aus­tralia. This is Lake­side Park, Au­gust 2016.

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