Over the past decade, the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA)’s Trans-Am Series presented by Pirelli has been gaining popularity with motorsports fans. As America’s premier road racing series, it is one of the last motorsports venues where Mopar fans have been able to watch racers in Dodge-bodied vehicles.
Without a doubt, the TA2 class is the most popular segment in the series thanks to its modern-day muscle car entries which include the Gen 5/6 Chevrolet Camaro, Gen 5/6 Ford Mustang, and Gen 3 Dodge Challenger.
TA2 class rules specify that the cars must be built from a tubular chassis. Trans-Am allows them to be manufactured by a handful of builders, including Howe Racing Enterprises. Each chassis must have a minimum weight of 2,830 lbs., which includes the driver and gear. The TA2 cars must be outfitted with a properly installed Derhaag single-plane rear wing.
Trans-Am also regulates cost control measures for specific components on the car, to make sure the series continues to be a high-performance, low-cost platform. The regulated parts include shock absorbers, brake calipers, brake pads, wheels, headers, and a complete exhaust system.
No titanium or carbon fiber components are allowed, aside from the driver’s seat.
Each TA2 car is powered by a small-block V8. The engines must be supplied by a Trans-Am Approved and Certified Engine Builder/Rebuilder and use fuel injection, a Trans-Am certified inlet restrictor plate, and a maximum power rating limited to 490 horsepower and 447 lb.-ft. of torque. The engines are sealed by the builder/rebuilder, so teams can not modify the components.
Transmissions are limited to an “H-pattern” manual unit with four-forward gear ratios and reverse gear. Each transmission is restricted to a 1:1 fourth-gear ratio, and no overdrive. The series also makes sure that sequential shift mechanisms and shift-without-lift systems are prohibited. Any traction control devices or systems that function independently of the driver, that includes ABS systems are also banned from competition.
These rules make sure that the TA2 class is a true driver centralized series showcasing the best-of-the-best talents.
Now, if you were ever curious about getting your hand on one of these awesome machines, SMR is selling a few of their cars on the popular motorsports classified site, RacingJunk.com.
Among the cars is a Howe Racing Enterprises-built Dodge Challenger TA2 car (chassis No. 4040). The Howe Racing Enterprise chassis includes the sporty Dodge Challenger TA2 body, TA2 body, a Katech Racing TA2 Choice engine with 1 event raced on it, Andrews Transmission, Tilton Clutch (with 1 event on it), Tiger/Gleason differential, and Alcon brakes. The car comes race ready for the 2023 season.
SMR won the 2019 TA2 championship with Michigan driver Marc Miller behind the wheel of a Dodge Challenger-bodied car. During that season, we got to spend time with the team at the Indy event (which Miller dominated). What made the experience unique was that SMR fields entries from all three manufacturers (Chevrolet, Dodge, and Ford). But without a doubt, the Challenger was a fan favorite.
This past season, the SMR Challenger entry was raced by Trans Am 2021 Rookie of the Year, Rhett Barkau. In a pre-race interview before the Charlotte race this year, the 20-year-old explained a few reasons why he ran the Challenger in the TA2 competition. Barkau explained that his family were diehard Dodge fans and even owned and operated two Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep®, and Ram dealers in Illinois. Those dealers (for whom he used to be a salesman), also sponsored his TA2 efforts (BarkauCars.com).
The car is listed for sale at the price of $110,000. Surprisingly, that is cheaper than what we have seen some of the drag racing-oriented Dodge Challenger Mopar Drag Paks we have seen cross the auction block in recent months. For more information, you can check out the listening on RacingJunk.com.