I have spent the last 10 years around race tracks in the Bay Area, and I have never seen more interest in a new car than the Ford GT, which arrived at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for the Continental Tire GP of Monterey powered by Mazda.
Students of history will recall that the original GT40 was meant to beat Ferrari’s dominance at Le Mans. It did that, in spades, before walking away from the Circuit de la Sarthe for nearly 50 years. Now it’s back, with the support of Chip Ganassi, helmed by the venerable Mike Hull (pictured below with driver Ryan Briscoe).
This has become a great era for the GT class, with Porsche, Ferrari, Corvette, and Ford all battling for top honors. The teams are now in France preparing for the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The mullet is an under-appreciated hair style. Known for being “business in the front, party in the back”, the haircut reached its peak somewhere around 1987, and it’s been in steady decline ever since. While it still has fans, the mullet speaks to a different era. Like this group of cars.
Think of IMSA and Trans-Am GT cars from the late 80s and early 90s as the Mullet Era of racing: manufacturers loved it – business in the front. The cars produced heaping gobs of power – a little too much fun (party in the back), but the inevitable result of a wide-open rules package. The Roush Mustang had about 750 bhp – in a four banger. Roush wiped the floor with the competition, with drivers Robby Gordon, Tommy Kendall, and Dorsey Schroeder. This chassis (M008) racked up wins at Portland, Road America and Del Mar.
These cars remind me of something my second cousin pulled up in around 1986. He liked cocaine and wore aviator shades. He rocked that mullet pretty well, too.
Some of these cars are ridiculous interpretations of cars you wouldn’t be caught dead in at the time. A Chevy Beretta and a Buick Somerset? Maybe the Fiero, but an Oldsmobile Cutlass? Not so sure. But, just like my second cousin, they’re still rocking that mullet.
Driven by Elliot Forbes-Robinson, the Trans-Am Somerset won at Detroit and Sears Point in 1985, with three seconds and a third. Good enough for fourth place in the championship that year.
The 1987 Fiero earned two wins and three seconds to finish third in the GTO championship that year.
Olds Cutlass (above) earned a few Trans-Am podiums but no wins. 1990 Beretta finished one-two.
Baja Boat Beretta looked good but had a middling record running in the IMSA and Trans-Am series in 1988.