Road America to host International Challenge

ELKHART LAKE – Summer is in full swing and this year hundreds of vintage racers will make the journey to Elkhart Lake to celebrate the beauty and performance of some of the world’s greatest race cars and sports cars, July 19- 22 at Road America for the WeatherTech International Challenge with Brian Redman presented by HAWK.

Widely known as one of the largest vintage racing gatherings in the United States, over 450 cars are expected to participate and both racecars and sports cars from all walks of vintage are welcome. With 16 different groups subdivided into several sub-classes the breadth of cars has something for everyone and there will be no shortage of spectacular racing.

Every year has a feature and this year as participants descend on the historic circuit, Road America plans to host a historic Trans Am feature and Formula 5000 50th anniversary along with celebrating the 52nd anniversary of the Canadian- American Challenge or Can-Am Series.

Having the historic Trans Am series serve as a feature for The WeatherTech International Challenge with Brian Redman is a fitting tribute for one of America’s most iconic series’ at America’s greatest road course because the Trans Am series has been a fixture at the track since 1970.

That year Mark Donohue was victorious in an AMC Javelin entered by Roger Penske. Factory teams abounded in 1970, the peak of the Trans Am. Donohue beat the works Dodge Challenger of Sam Posey, the works Plymouth Barracuda of Swede Savage, two Bud Moore works assisted Mustangs of Parnelli Jones and George Follmer, and the two Chaparral entered Camaros of Jim Hall and Ed Leslie.

The Trans Am continued uninterrupted through 2005, when it took a hiatus, being reborn in 2009. Tom Kendall tops the charts with four wins, while Peter Gregg, David Hobbs, Bob Tullius, Greg Pickett, Scott Pruett, Paul Gentilozzi, Tony Ave, and Cliff Ebben have also shined at America’s National Park of Speed.

Now Historic Trans Am racing is back and honoring the significance of the series in the most memorable way.

The sights and sounds of rare F5000 racing machines will also make their return for The WeatherTech International Challenge with Brian Redman at Road America as the popular open wheel racer celebrates its 50th anniversary.

Along with honoring the Trans Am Series and F5000, Road America celebrates the 52nd Anniversary of the Canadian American Challenge or Can- Am Series. This is perhaps the most fondly remembered racing series ever, as it had minimal rules. Two seats, fendered bodywork, and that was about it.

Unlimited engines, fat tires and unimaginable speed sums up what Can-Am was and the McLaren team ruled the early years. McLaren won five years in a row at Road America, twice with Bruce McLaren and once each with Denny Hulme, Peter Gethin, and Peter Revson.

In each instance the race was no contest, as the orange McLarens simply were the ones to beat. Their stranglehold on the Can- Am was broken in 1972 when Porsche practiced extreme excess in their designs.

Porsche built a twin turbocharged five-liter V-12 engine that put out well over 1000 horsepower. They hired Roger Penske’s team to run the car, and as expected, they won as they pleased. George Follmer took the win at Road America in 1972 and Mark Donohue in 1973, each winning the season championship.

Everyone is invited to take part in the concours viewing but Road America encourages fans and patrons to arrive early (before 5 p.m.) to allow enough time for parking and to find your perfect viewing location along the parade route and Lake Street where the race cars will park.

On Sunday, the featured racing begins at 9 a.m. Races are held until 10 a.m., when the Concours d’Elegance awards for Best Street and Race car; Best of Show and the People’s Choice award are announced near Victory lane and the paddock vendor area which is centrally located in the paddock.

The rest of the day is filled with exciting feature races for each group. Other fan attractions include autograph sessions, an automotive art and vendor fair, on-track touring, disc golf and public go-karting at the CTECH Manufacturing Motorplex.

Tickets are available online or during the event at the gate. Additional information is available at www.roadamerica.com or by calling 800-365-RACE (7223).

All races run, rain or shine, and anyone 16-years-old and under are free with a paying adult at the gate. Parking and paddock access is also free.


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