As it helps mark the 50th anniversary of Trans-Am competition at its March 3-5 weekend at Sebring, Florida, the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA) will feature Bob Tullius as the Grand Marshal of the event. The announcement was made Friday, January 22, in a press release from SVRA.
The “Spring Vintage Classic 2016” will mark the 50th anniversary of Trans-Am running on the historic airport course. According to SVRA, the first Trans-American Sedan Championship race was run at Sebring in 1966. For the event this year, says the organization, “Significant, period-prepared Historic Trans-Am cars from around the country will be on hand to share the weekend celebration with the contemporary TransAm Series, making this the largest Trans-Am celebration event on the 2016 calendar.”
On the track and in the paddock, “the two groups will honor the traditions and evolution of Trans-Am from its original format, as a manufacturers championship for modified racing sedans, to its contemporary form as a drivers championship open to GT style cars.”
Sebring brings history together for both SVRA and the Trans-Am series. In 1976, a historic/vintage race at Sebring planted a seed for the origins in the American Southeast of what would become SVRA. Now the organization says its Sebring event serves as a sort of “spring break” weekend for its many members and other car enthusiasts.
A Sebring resident, Bob Tullius owns the distinction, among other things, of being the winner of the 1966 Trans-Am race on that track. He took the victory in his Dodge Dart sedan.
“Bob Tullius’ contributions to auto racing extend well beyond his hundreds of victories as a driver and team owner on tracks around the world,” said SVRA President and CEO Tony Parella. “Bob set the standard for presenting motorsport as a business platform for sponsors. His cars were always immaculately prepared and he helped usher in the modern era of branding through association with race teams.”
Tullius and his team, Group 44, built a career over three decades. In that time, they accumulated more than 300 victories including three Trans-Am championships, 21 Trans-Am race wins, 14 SCCA national titles, 11 IMSA victories and, in 1985, a GTP class win with Jaguar at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
SVRA will share the weekend at Sebring with the Historic Trans-Am Association, as it will at three other venues this year. The Trans-Am group will stage its own competitions with authentic cars from the era. During the Trans-Am era, well known racers such as Parnelli Jones, Mark Donohue, George Follmer and Sam Posey drove many of the same cars.
The weekend at Sebring will include Trans-Am tributes, group racing, a party for members and crew on Saturday evening, and a Show and Shine Car Show on Saturday. For entry requirements or other information, see the SVRA website.