Trans Am Breathes New Life into Bridgehampton Race Circuit

Friday, Jun 12 120

Trans Am by Pirelli Esports Championship will resurrect another retired circuit on Saturday, June 13 (3:00 p.m. Eastern). For the first time since 1970 , Trans Am will return to Bridgehampton Race Circuit for its penultimate esports championship round.

While the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli only raced three times at the Bridgehampton Race Circuit, the 2.85-mile Long Island layout was a key stop during the Golden Years of the championship. (Circuit Guide Video

Trans Am first raced at Bridgehampton in 1968, won from the pole by Mark Donohue in a Roger Penske Chevrolet Camaro. Peter Revson challenged Donohue in an AMC Javelin until the 63rd lap of the three-hour race, when his gearbox failed. George Follmer went on to finish second in the other Javelin, 1.27-seconds back, followed by Sam Posey in the second Penske Camaro.

For 1969, Bud Moore’s Ford Mustangs dominated the event. Parnelli Jones won the pole and was joined by teammate George Follmer on the front row. Donohue, meanwhile, started last after switching to a different Camaro. The Penske driver quickly worked his way through the pack, and by lap 20 was challenging the two Mustangs. Jones dropped out with seven laps remaining due to a wiring fire. Follmer went on to beat Donohue by 1.26-seconds, followed by Jerry Titus in a Pontiac Firebird. 

Roger Penske said the Trans Am moment he remembers most vividly was winning at Bridgehampton in 1970 - the first win for the Javelin driven by Mark Donohue that the team developed by themselves. AMC had threatened to pull Penske's contract before the race.

Donohue dominated the event, beating the Ford Mustangs of George Follmer and Parnelli Jones. Camaros took the next three positions, driven by Jim Hall, Mo Carter and Peter Schwartzott.

Racing in a driving rain, Donohue was challenged by Jones and Swede Savage in a Plymouth Barracuda. Savage turned the fastest lap of the event, but went out after 54 of the 70 laps with differential issues. Jones then encountered difficulties, enabling Donohue to cruise to a two-lap victory, averaging 90.55 mph. He went on to capture two additional victories, although Ford took the all-important manufacturer championship.

Saturday’s race resurrects the memory of one of the most challenging circuits in American motorsports history. The community of Bridgehampton hosted races on village streets from 1949-1953. Several incidents- coupled with a spectator facility in Watkins Glen- brought street racing to a close in 1953. The permanent circuit was built in 1957, hosting international sports car races, the USRRC and Can-Am. Heavy storms damaged the circuit in 1970. That, along with noise ordinances, ended professional racing at the circuit, although club races continued until 1998 before the circuit was turned into a golf club and housing development.

Round 7 of the Trans Am by Pirelli Esports Championship starts Saturday at 3:00 p.m. Eastern at Bridgehampton. The day will feature a swift qualifying followed by two 20-minute main events. For added excitement, the second round will be an inverted field.

Drivers will continue to race identically prepared Corvette C7.r GTLM machines hosted on the ‘World’s Fastest Gamer - SIM edition’ JV with Torque Esports and Assetto Corsa.
 
Fans can stream the action by downloading the free Trans Am by Pirelli Racing app (https://bit.ly/3dxc6Lg). The live stream will also be available on the series Facebook (www.facebook.com/gotransam) and YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/TheTransAmSeries), as well as UMG TV Esports Network on Mobile (IOS and Android), Apple TV, Fire TV and ROKU.
 
Watch Trans Am bring Riverside back to life: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQXEyqH4V_o

Adam Sinclair

Adam has been a race fan since the first time he went through the tunnel under the Daytona International Speedway almost 30 years ago. He has had the privilege of traveling to races all across the state of Florida (as well as one race in Ohio), watching nearly everything with a motor compete for fame and glory, as well as participating in various racing schools to get the feel of what racecar drivers go through every week.  

Adam spent several years covering motorsports for Examiner.com., where he had the opportunity to see the racing world from behind the scenes as well as the grandstands. He invites everyone to follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus, and looks forward to sharing his enthusiasm for all things racing with the readers of SpeedwayDigest.com.

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