The Under 2 Liter and 2.5 Trans-Am Championships—The names recall the intense competition, the myriad of cars that competed and the talented drivers who raced them. Fittingly the first race at Sebring was won by a future F1 World Champion, Jochen Rindt in an Alfa Romeo GTA. The quality of that car combination set the tone for the rest of the Trans-Am’s life: John Morton, Horst Kwech, Peter Gregg, Bobby Allison, Sam Posey, Tony Adamowicz, Jerry Titus, Milt Minter & Bob Tullius all raced in the small sedan series over the next six years. There were many good battles, but the most iconic races were those of John Morton Horst Kwech. The Alfa Romeo-Datsun war produced hard fought racing that still gets enthusiasts talking over 40 years later.
In 2019 CSRG will recapture the feel of those days with big grids and a race series officially named after the man who could rightfully be called the Champion of the 2.5 Trans-Am Challenge, John Morton. Over 35 different car models competed in two or two point five era of the Trans-Am. If you have one of those cars, join us and if you have a car in the spirit of that era, come on in!
For questions contact Jon Norman at 510.525.9435 or firstname.lastname@example.org
About John Morton
John Morton (born February 17, 1942) is one of the great American professional racing drivers. His love of racing began at a race his father took him to at Road America in 1957, the even turned John Morton into an avid racing fan. He went on to race jalopies in South Carolina before he dropped out of Clemson University to attend Carroll Shelby's racing school at Riverside Raceway in California. Taking a menial job working in Carroll Shelby's race shop, Morton saved his money to purchase his first race car, a Lotus Super 7 which he raced in SCCA (Sports Car Club of America) amateur races in 1963.
In 1964 he drove with Ken Miles at Sebring in a 427 Cobra for Shelby American Racing. Teaming with Miles and Skip Scott, Morton won the GT class at the Road America 500, second overall, in a team Cobra. That year he bought his second race car: a Lotus 23B.
John raced mostly SCCA Club races through 1968 until Peter Brock hired him for his new, factory backed BRE Datsun team. The period between 1969 and 1972 were fruitful for John, Peter and Datsun. The team dominated both SCCA C Production with the 240Z (National Championships in 1970-71) and the 2.5 Trans-Am with the 510 (Championships in 1971-72).
Racing in F5000, Can-Am and IMSA occupied the next few years. A short almost accidental foray into the movie industry in 1975 led to stunt work on a couple of feature films (Gumball Rally and Greased Lightning) and several TV shows (Rockford Files and Fantasy Island). In 1981 Phil Conte joined John's small Can-Am team as a sponsor for two years after which Phil formed his own IMSA team with John as one of his two drivers in the GTP category.
In 1985 Jim Busby hired John as team driver in one of his BF Goodrich sponsored Porsche 962s with Pete Halsmer. The pair won the Times GP at Riverside in 1985. In 1987 John drove for the Group 44 Jaguar team of Bob Tullius and won the last Times GP at Riverside and the West Palm Beach GP, both sharing the car with Hurley Haywood. The Walkinshaw team replaced Tullius' Jaguar team for 1988 and the Electramotive Nissan Team signed Morton. John and Geoff Brabham won several races that year setting the stage for Nissan's domination of the IMSA series for several years.
Other notable Nissan races for John during 1989-95 include an overall victory at Sebring and several class wins, including Le Mans [1994 24 Hours of Le Mans. Morton was third overall in a Joest Porsche in 1986 and class winner in a BFG Mazda Lola in 1984, competing nine times at Le Mans. Several races in various other classes and categories include Sprint cars and karts. He made his CART debut in the first race of the 1984 season at the Long Beach Grand Prix and finished 9th but was never able to get a ride in competitive car.
In his most recent professional races, 1997–2001, John raced Porsches in both the Grand Am Rolex Sports Car Series and American Le Mans Series. Currently most of John's competition is in vintage races driving a variety of cars, which include Cobra coupes, Corvettes, Porsches, a Sunbeam Tiger and his favorite race car: the Scarab that he saw race at Road America while still a teenager.
John has been generous in his support for this series and we hope to see him both as a supporter but a competitor.