Tomy Drissi Say’s ’Nothing But Fun’ Racing His Chaparral Camaro in the Historic Trans Am Challenge at Long Beach

Racing the Historic Trans Am Challenge on the streets of Long Beach, Trans Am Champion, Tomy Drissi, driving his spectacular 1970 Jim Hall Chaparral factory Camaro, was ecstatic after Saturday’s race.

“That was incredible,” said Tomy, Trans Am Champion. “Bringing these cars back to Long Beach was absolutely brilliant. I really have to hand it to Chris Vandagriff and the Historic Motor Sports Association ( and the Toyota Grand Prix organizers for making this happen. I had my first Trans Am win (2000) at Long Beach, so to drive this Chaparral Camaro here is pretty sentimental.”

“The Long Beach fans were blown away by the sight of these historic cars,” said Tomy. “These are not replicas. These are the cars that ran in the hay day of the “pony wars” when Trans Am was “the” road racing series in America. To see them mixing it up on the Long Beach streets was just unbelievable.”

“There was plenty of good racing,” added Tomy. “These guys weren’t holding back…  when you consider these cars aren’t replicas, that’s really saying something. Seeing everyone finish was just a blast!”

Tomy’s Chaparral Camaro came to life when Roger Penske jumped to AMC in 1970. At the request of Chevrolet Jim Hall built 3 Chaparral Camaro's to compete in Trans Am. The car finished in the top 10 in every race it entered, including four 4th place finishes with Jim Hall behind the wheel. The car had its solo victory at Watkins Glen,  at the hands of Vic Elford .

The Chaparral Camaro produces around 475 horsepower and weighs 3,375lbs. It can cover the 1/4 mile in just over 10 seconds. Depending on gearing, it’s capable of speeds of up to 200 mph.

The Long Beach Grand Prix was the first time the Historic Trans Am series competed as part of a major racing series event. Twenty-eight competitors raced on the streets of Long Beach.  The Historic Trans Am Challenge, includes American muscle cars from the late 1960s and early 1970s. The Series came into being in the early 1990s when racing enthusiasts found the old Trans Am cars and began restoring them. The series, which features about 50 racers, has race at several of the country’s top venues; Sonoma Raceway, Watkins Glen International Raceway, Mont Tremblant and Laguna Seca.

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