I would like to comment on the article written by C.R. about the SCA Freight Camaro driven by Frank Gardner.
Last September while on holiday in England, I had the opportunity to see this car in action at Oulton Park where it won the saloon car race. As a Trans-Am competitor here in North America, I was most anxious to have a first hand look at this super car to see how it compared with our own.
Your article is most informative but quite misleading, as there are several important differences in the rules. Let us examine the statement “the SCA car is far better developed than the Trans-Am ones, particularly in the suspension department. Although the power outputs are the same, Chambers believes his car could beat a Trans-Am Camaro hands down in a straight match”.
Firstly, let me point out that Trans-Am cars have been restricted to 8-in. rim widths all round, as compared to 10 in. fronts and 14 in. rears. In regard to suspension, I had the opportunity to look at the rear suspension on the SCA Camaro and in no way, shape, or form does it resemble the almost stock setup required on our Trans-Am cars. I observed coil spring units, single spring leafs (as compared to the original multi-leaf set-up) and numerous other little refinements that made it look more like a formula one design than a touring car suspension. A Trans-Am car has been restricted to 5 litres with only a single 4-barrel carburettor. A good engine such as a Traco would put out at best 450 b.h.p. Compare this to Gardner’s 5.7 litres on Webers or fuel injection at 500 b.h.p.
Bear in mind that the homologated weight limit of 3,200 lb. is the same for both types of cars. Therefore it is quite evident that the SCA Camaro enjoys a distinct advantage because of the difference in rules. Despite this handicap, I feel that our best cars would compare favourably with Gardner’s. For example at Oulton Park Gardner qualified at 1 min. 40.4 sec.—some 16 sec. off Hulme’s Formula 1 lap record of 1 min. 24.4 sec. which would most certainly be broken by 2 or 3 sec. if a Championship Formula 1 race was held at Oulton. At Mosport, a similar type circuit to Oulton Park, Mo Carter in a TransAm Camaro qualified for the Canadian Sedan Championship at 1 min. 32,9 sec. under far less than ideal weather conditions—some 18 sec. off a good Formula 1 time. There are another 5 or 6 Trans-Am competitors who could turn times as good or better than Carter’s, while Gardner is clearly the class of the field in Britain.
For this year the Trans-Am rules have changed considerably and will essentially be Group 2 as you know it. However, Group 4 GT cars such as Corvettes and Porsches will also be competing along with the Trans-Am cars. I’m sure that both the organisers and competitors would welcome Mr. Gardner’s appearance over here. Then we could determine who would win “hands down” in a match.