The COVID-19 pandemic has forced motorsports’ organizers around the world to redefine the way events are executed. Adapting through the 2020 season, the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli made one final major adjustment, moving the traditional year-end awards to a well-received fan-friendly virtual format on Sunday evening.
In front of a live worldwide audience for the first time, more than two dozen drivers were honored with Crystal Sensation awards as fans interacted in real time with the drivers and announcers to congratulate their favorite crossed the virtual stage.
“With everything that happened in 2020, we still wanted to recognize our champions as well as have fun with some new awards this year,” explained Trans Am Racing Company President and CEO John Clagett. “With an expanded schedule that includes a stop in Canada, the introduction of the new ProAm Challenge, and the growing popularity of the West Coast Championship, we have a lot to look forward to in 2021 after such a challenging year.
“The banquet was virtual, but it took a lot of time and teamwork from people from around the world to pull off,” Clagett continued. “A special thank you to Global Media Production, GreenLight.TV, RACER Media, Sunday Group Management, and our hosts, Jonathan Green and Ben Cissell for finessing such an epic task.”
The Trans Am Series by Pirelli Awards Ceremony added a Fan Favorite category to the list of awards this season. More than 27,000 votes were cast by fans a week before the ceremony to elect winners in the following categories:
Fan Favorite Driver: Michele Abbate
Best Looking Car: Ernie Francis Jr. (photo above)
Best Looking Helmet: Michele Abbate
Best Cool Shirt Cool Move of the Race: Ernie Francis Jr.
Fan Favorite Esports Venue: Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps
The Sunoco Donohue Technical Excellence Award was received by Burtin Racing’s Joe Hullet for his extensive knowledge of data and video systems, and his willingness to help teams get set up for live streaming. Additionally, through the season, Hullet helped teams solve any issues they were having with data and video compliance – doing all of it gratis.
The Sunoco Donohue Technical Excellence Award is presented to any series participant, or supplier, who embodies an extraordinary use of technology, or technical knowledge, to gain an advantage, better the series as a whole, help all the teams improve their operations or better the racing community.
Turning more miles in a TA2 car than any other competitor in 2020 by competing a full season in both the Trans Am National Series and West Coast Championship, Jim Gallauger received the special Mike Cope Racing Iron Man Award.
Special honors were also given to Tomy Drissi for the BBS Most Improved Driver, while the ACP Advanced Driving Awards went to Michelle Nagai (West Coast) and Ernie Francis Jr. (National).
The full list of award winners are below.
The 2021 Trans Am season commences in just 38 days with its first stop at Sebring International Raceway Feb. 19-21. For a complete replay of the Trans Am Virtual Awards Ceremony visit: https://bit.ly/3qbWzqt
Trans Am 2020 Virtual Honors Banquet Award Winners:
Carl Rydquist, 5th
Ed Sevadjian, 4th
Ernie Francis, Jr, 3rd
Tyler Kicera, 2nd
Josh Hurley, Champion
Trans Am by Pirelli West Coast Championship
Joe Bogetich, Champion
Natalie Decker, 2nd/Rookie of the Year
Carl Rydquist, Champion
Simon Gregg, Champion
Mitch Marvosh, Masters 1st
Cameron Parsons, Rookie of the Year
Tim Lynn, 3rd
Michele Abbate, 2nd
Jim Gallaugher, Champion
Michelle Nagai, Advanced Composite Products Advanced Driving Award
Greg Pickett, Champion
Trans Am by Pirelli National Championship Honors
Steve Davison, 3rd
Tim Horrell, 2nd
Billy Griffin, Rookie of the Year/Champion
Aaron Pierce, Northern 1st
Larry Bailey, Masters 3rd
Lou Gigliotti, Masters 2nd
Cary Grant, 5th
Mark Brummond, 4th/Rookie of the Year
Milton Grant, 3rd/Masters 1st
Adrian Wlostowski, 2nd
Lee Saunders, Champion
Erich Joiner, 2nd Place/Rookie of the Year
Ken Thwaits, Champion
Alex Wright, Northern 1st
John Paul Southern Jr, Southern 1st
Curt Vogt, Masters 3rd
Maurice Hull & Doug Peterson, Masters Co-Winners
Jim Gallaugher, Mike Cope Racing Iron Man Award
Jett Noland, 5th/Wilwood Rookie of the Year
Thomas Merrill, 4th
Cameron Lawrence, 3rd
Rafa Matos, 2nd
Mike Skeen, Champion
John Baucom, Southern 1st
Cliff Ebben, Masters 3rd
Richard Grant, 2nd
Kerry Hitt, Masters 1st
Humaid Masaood, Rookie of the Year
Simon Gregg, 5th
Amy Ruman, 4th
Chris Dyson, 3rd
Tomy Drissi, BBS Most Improved Driver of the Year/2nd
Ernie Francis Jr., ACP Advanced Driving Award/Champion