New Choice Engine Package Sparks Trans Am TA2 Growth in 2021

With a rules package that fosters both cost containment and close competition among three different marques, the TA2 class has gone from strength to strength since its debut in 2011. With the 2019 introduction of the Choice Engine, a lower-cost engine that performs at the same level as the original TA2 certified engines, the class delivered even more value.

During the Choice Engine’s initial roll-out, only one builder was certified to manufacture the new engine. This season, Trans Am opened the ruleset to include all seven TA2 certified engine builders and rebuilders to create a smarter, more stable rules package for competitors.

“The downtime during the pandemic allowed us to reexamine the Choice Engine package,” said TA2 Race Director Ricky Brooks. “We took the original Choice Engine package, and replaced the weak links of that motor with more reliable parts. Once we updated the engine package, we opened manufacturing up to all TA2 certified engine builders (and rebuilders), this way teams and drivers could continue to work with the engine builders they had already developed a relationship with over the years. The change made the Choice Engine stronger, more reliable and a more affordable option for competitors, and allowed us to continue to have great balance between the three different brands that race in TA2.”

The longevity of the Choice Engine is unmatched, with the powerplant lasting the entire season without a rebuild. Katech, whose Choice Engine powered Rafa Matos’ championship-winning 3-Dimensional Services Group Ford Mustang, recommends to its customers to rebuild the Choice Engine around 2500 miles, or roughly 30 hours of operation.

“Depending on the amount of testing a team does, Choice Engines last the entirety of the Trans Am season,” said Beau Bradley, Race Program Manager for Katech. “Anything over this amount of time the customer will begin to see a loss in performance, potential leaks, and, in extreme cases, a higher cost to rebuild the engine. This package has proven to be durable, reliable, and track tested in the 2021 season.”

With increased longevity and durability paired with the option to choose the engine prep shop, the move to the Choice Engine proved popular in the TA2 paddock this year, with several teams making the change.

“The Choice Engine has had a big impact on our competitors,” said Trans Am Race Company President John Clagett. “It has brought operating costs down significantly as the motor lasts for an entire season without a rebuild. These motors deliver the same kind of performance that our TA2 drivers are used to at reduced cost to them. By lowering the overall budget, paired with Pirelli developing an awesome and affordable tire and the vibrant arrive-and-drive programs available with several different teams, the fields have continued to grow. And the racing is phenomenal!”

Made up of three different competitive chassis manufacturers (Howe, Cope and M1), the TA2 class broke a series record twice this season. During the Big Machine Nashville Grand Prix, the TA2 nearly maxed out the grid with 38 cars, at the time it was the most entries in series history. Then during the Heacock Classic finale at Circuit of The Americas, the TA2 class reset the record with a 52-car field.

The TA2 Choice Engine is not a spec class engine and its addition does not change the eligibility status of existing certified TA2 Approved Engines built by approved/certified builders and rebuilders.

Trans Am returns to Sebring International Raceway Feb. 24-27, kicking off the 55th season of Trans Am racing. 

Engine Photo Credit: Joseph Kotwick/9Points Media

Adam Sinclair