ELKHART LAKE – Winning the WeatherTech® Chicago Region Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) June Sprints®
at Road America has been every sports car driver’s dream since the thrilling first event in 1956. Carroll Shelby triumphed in a Ferrari 121LM back then and over the years the event has evolved into the longest consecutively held amateur road race event in the United States. Many great names have won the June Sprints feature, including Walt Hansgen, Augie Pabst, Roger Penske, Jim Hall, and more. Jerry Hansen, SCCA’s winningest driver, has the most June Sprints feature wins, an impressive total of twelve, plus several more class wins.
Heading into its 60th running of the June Sprints this weekend, June 11-14, the Chicago Region SCCA is celebrating the milestone in style with famed racer and TV announcer David Hobbs serving as Grand Marshal. Other notable additions include a commemorative event poster and T-shirt created by renowned artist Randy Owens which will be available for purchase, a historic car display in the paddock, and of course there will be intense, competitive racing on track by over 300 SCCA racers from all across America.
The June Sprints is also the first jewel in the Chicago Region Triple Crown®, which is presented to those exceptional drivers winning the June Sprints, their home division championship and the SCCA National Runoffs in the same year. The Triple Crown® is one of the most coveted awards in all of amateur racing. So difficult, in fact, it was not achieved in 2014 and after this weekend, only 29 drivers will remain eligible for the award in 2015 (one for each racing class).
With so many types of cars, groups and categories the WeatherTech® Chicago Region SCCA June Sprints® schedule can be somewhat intimidating to the average race fan. Here’s a guide that will help make sense of what to expect on track.
The Touring category consists of late model, production vehicles a step beyond Showroom Stock in preparation level. They are listed as Touring 1 (T1), Touring 2 (T2), Touring 3 (T3) and last Touring 4 (T4), where you’ll find fast and exotic sports cars pushed to the limit.
The Spec Miata (SM) class is intended to provide the opportunity to compete in low cost, production-based cars with limited modifications, suitable for racing competition. The rules are intentionally designed to be more open than the Touring class but more restricted than the Super Touring class. Mazda Miatas from 1990-2005 are eligible.
The Sedan category or American Sedan® (AS), is comprised of Chevrolet Camaros, Pontiac Firebirds and GTOs, and Ford Mustangs, on production-based chassis with modified suspensions and brakes.
Super Touring® was designed to allow late-model production-based cars, like those found in Touring, more extensive modifications, including wings, and in some instances, engine swaps. This includes Super Touring Under (STU) and Super Touring Lite (STL) – with smaller cars like the Mazda Miata in STL.
The Production category allows a range of performance modifications while retaining their original design, structure and drive layout. There is no age limit, so Production includes cars as old as 50 years and as new as current body styles. The three performance potential based classes include: E Production (EP), F Production (FP) and H Production (HP).
Grand Touring Category or (GT) cars are purpose-built, highly modified “silhouette” replicas of series-produced sports sedans. GT cars are permitted tube-frame chassis with performance being equalized by allowing cars with smaller engines to compete at a lighter weight. GT-1 cars are the fastest of the category, and many cars have run in the Trans-Am® series. GT-2, GT-3 and GT-Lite cars get progressively lighter and less powerful.
The eight Formula classes all feature single-seat, open-wheel racecars. They are built to detailed specifications for weight, size and engine displacement. There are incredible power to weight ratios in each class and the eight classes in order of fastest to slowest are: Formula Atlantic® (FA), Formula 1000 (FB), Formula Continental® (FC), Formula Enterprises (FE), Formula Mazda (FM), Formula F (FF), Formula 500 (F500) and Formula Vee® (FV).
In the Sports Racing Category there are four classes of purpose-built road racing cars with full composite bodies. Underneath, these cars are pure racing machines. The power plants in these cars vary from home-built “pieces and parts” engines to sealed identical motors. The C Sports Racing (CSR) and D Sports Racing (DSR) classes feature a variety of chassis including home-built, innovative designs and manufacturer produced cars. Sports 2000 (S2) cars use a standard engine in different body styles, while Spec Racer Ford is just that – a spec car with a sealed Ford Engine.
So there you have it, everything from showroom stock to highly modified purpose-built race cars are schedule to fill four days of practice, qualifying and racing at this year’s June Sprints at Road America June 11-14. With Road America’s park-like setting, trackside viewing, up-close access to drivers and teams, and legendary cuisine appealing to drivers and fans alike, it’s no wonder the WeatherTech® Chicago Region SCCA June Sprints® remains one of the nation’s premier amateur sports car racing events. As part of its commitment to honoring America’s heroes, Road America will also provide free admission to all active, reserve-duty military and veterans with ID all weekend.
Gates open at 7 a.m. and races run rain or shine. Daily admission to the June Sprints is $20 Thursday, $25 Friday, and $35 each for Saturday and Sunday. Kids 12 and under are always free with an adult. New for 2015, any student can show their ID at the gate and get $10 off the ticket price. For more information, call 800-365-RACE (7223) or visit www.roadamerica.com.
About Road America: Established in 1955 as the first permanent road racing course in the United States, Road America is located midway between Milwaukee and Green Bay in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. The world’s best racers have competed at this legendary four-mile, 14-turn road circuit for 60 years. The 640-acre, park-like grounds offer amazing viewing opportunities, fantastic concessions and high-speed excitement to hundreds of thousands of spectators each year. In addition to public race weekends, Road America offers a variety of group event programs, the Road America Motorplex for karting and supermoto, and the Road America Motorcycle and Advanced Driving Schools. For more information, visit www.roadamerica.com. Follow Road America onwww.facebook.com/RoadAmerica, and on Twitter: @roadamerica or call 800-365-7223.