Being possibly the most affordable professional category in American road racing, Trans Am continues building upon its cost-effective strategy with a new official partnership with AEM Performance Electronics. The Hawthorne, California-based company will remain the sole supplier of ECUs for TA2 and remain the presenting sponsor of the class.
Since the category is optimized within a constrained cost structure, an electronics company had to step in during 2016 and provide an affordable ECU for a wide variety of competitors. With the cost cap for wheels at just $175, things like engine control units couldn’t break the bank. AEM met the requirements, and has since been a major factor in ensuring the Schwanke Engines-built GMs, Koury Race Engines-built Fords, and Prefix-built Hemis have been as reliable—and the fields have been as large—as they’ve been.
AEM’s Infinity Series-5 ECU has been responsible for keeping this variety of powerplants humming happily in just about every condition imaginable. Each ECU controls ignition timing and fuel injection through locked calibrations that maintain an even level of horsepower, prohibit traction control, and offers data logging for the teams so that they have the ability to analyze engine/vehicle performance and driver inputs. That said, things are still meant to be relatively simple.
“From the very start of TA2 our goal has been to keep the platform affordable and the racing competitive,” said John Clagett, President of The Trans Am Race Company. “Our competitors have gone from being apprehensive of this program to believers. The on-track product validates the vision we had for the class, and what AEM has been able to do is just incredible. AEM has been a true partner.”
Even with data analysis, the aim has always been to minimize computer assistance and keep the competition measured mainly by the driver’s hands, eyes, and feet. It’s more for reasons of reliability and modernity that the ECU plays a role here, and in fact, it’s made the conversion to fuel injection feasible for both the drivers and the once-skeptical engine builders.
“Our technology helped to make the conversion to advanced EFI (electronic fuel injection) affordable for the racers, but there was, naturally, apprehension from the engine builders about making this switch,” said AEM’s VP of Sales & Marketing, Kirk Miller. That level of security, accessibility, and reliability is part of what will make the fields as large as they are.
On that note, some thirty cars shared the field during first race weekend of the 2019 season at Sebring International Raceway on March 1-3. For more information on this simple, straightforward, and fun-filled series, you can visit Trans-Am’s site here.