Yesterday, NZ Touring Cars Ltd announced that the BNT V8s Championship will adopt the TA2 class of car and be rebranded as the NZV8TA2 Championship.
The cars are set to be louder and faster with the racing expected to be as competitive as ever. The current blighted era of NZ Touring Car racing is in for a significant shake-up when NZV8TA2 hits the track later this year.
But what exactly is TA2?
The Trans-Am Series was created in 1966 by the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA).
Formed amid the rise of the ‘Pony Car’ era, early Trans-Am cars were merely modified production cars. Two classes ran simultaneously within the series –
“Over 2.0 Litres” and “Under 2.0 Litres.”
The series was headlined by the competition amongst American V8 coupes such as the Chevrolet Camaro, Ford Mustang, AMC Javelin and Dodge Challenger.
From the introduction of the series until the early ‘70s, Trans-Am went through it was considered ‘The Golden Era.’
In 1968, the series saw the notable addition of the 12 Hours of Sebring and Daytona 24 Hour to the calendar. Crowd engagement was higher than ever, while the series extended into Canada for the first time. The rise of American racing superstar Mark Donohue in conjunction with powerhouse Penske Racing were instrumental in popularising Trans-Am across Northern America.
Unfortunately, in 1973, the series slowly evolved into a smaller clone of the rival IMSA series. The 1973 oil crisis accelerated the decline in sales of Muscle Cars, making grid sizers smaller at every event.
From there, Trans-Am entered a decline with fans and competitors. Organisers tried desperately to revive the series by developing a weight-to-displacement ratio for handicapping cars, restricting cars to a 5.0 Litre limit. But, while turbocharged, small-displacement engine cars began to improve competitpr entries, Trans-Am continued to succumb to ennui.
For much of the nineties, Trans-Am evolved into an American-manufacturer-based series, with aftermarket V8s fitted into any American branded muscle car. New Zealand also began to see a wave of Trans-Am machinery imported into the county, giving way to the rise of the New Zealand TraNZam Championship.
Then in 2011, the SCCA, in a bid to increase grid sizes on the American Trans-Am racing scene, introduced two new classes of competition – ‘TA2’ and ‘TA3’ – in addition to the current spec which ran as ‘TA1’. TA3 would later be rebranded into a further two subgroups which targeted lower-powered production sports cars.
Since the creation of TA2, Tans-Am racing has gone from strength to strength in the United States. TA2 offered drivers an affordable alternative to TA1 while fans enjoyed the notion of having 30 or more highly tuned generation 5 and 6 Mustangs, Camaros and Challengers racing in a competitive series.
In January of 2020, the Trans Am Race Company (TARC) announced that it was expanding its services into Australia and New Zealand. Having signed a multi-year licensing agreement with the Australian Racing Group, TA2 was officially recognised as Australia’s premier Trans-Am series.
Now, as of yesterday launch, New Zealand will also have a TA2 competition that is run largely in conjunction with the rules and regulations seen in Australia.
The TA2 racecar is a purpose-built racing machine that is designed and tuned purely with the aim of performance. TA2 caters for modern V8-powered, rear-wheel-drive muscle cars available from local dealers.
With engines restricted to 525 horsepower, TA2 promotes permanency while aiming to not sacrificing overall performance. The NZV8TA2 cars will all be powered by a McLaren Engineering Built 6.3L LS3 Chevrolet engine. Thus, TA2 represents one of the world’s best value platform in racing.
- Chassis – PBR Specification Manufactured By Howe Racing Enterprises
- Body: Gen Six Mustang, Gen Six Camaro, Gen Five Challenger
- Minimum Weight: 1250KG (including Driver)
- Fuel Capacity: 84 litre fuel cell
- Engine: 6.2 Litre McLaren Built LS3, maximum 6500 rpm
- Gearbox: 4 Speed G Force
- Brakes: Callipers Wilwood, Rotors – AP or Wilwood, Pads – Circo
- Suspension: Hypercoil
- Shocks: Penske
- Diff: Tiger quick change
- Wheels: 15’ x 10’ Bassett steel rims
- Tyres: Hoosier 3045
- Electrical: Motec Dash