Pontiac Firebird Titus Trans-Am Race Car
Jerry Titus was not only a Championship winning driver but was also an engineer, journalist, auto magazine editor and even Julliard-trained trumpet player. Titus won the SCCA B-Production National Championship in 1965 driving for Carroll Shelby and the D-Production Championship in 1966. He competed in everything from Can Am to Indy cars and NASCAR. Jerry's aggressive driving style was best suited for the SCCA's Trans American Sedan series in which he drove, again for Shelby, to Championships in 1966 and 1967.
#7L141852 - The First TG Racing Firebird - It was late in the 1968 Trans Am season, at Riverside, that Jerry Titus announced he would depart Ford to form a new team, TG Racing, supported by Trans-Am latecomer Pontiac. Pontiac agreed to provide cars for the following season and Jerry would serve as builder, chief mechanic, team manager and driver. The team set out to build a new Firebird for the last race of the season at Kent, Washington. Pressed for time, Jerry turned to young driver Jon Ward whom he had seen at Riverside. Ward, a former sprint car driver, had driven his self-prepared 'privateer' Camaro (Chassis #7L141852) to 4th place in his first Trans-Am race. A deal was struck to obtain the car with the intention of converting it to a Firebird. Completed just in time for the Washington race and with Jerry at the wheel, #7L141852, the first TG Racing 'Pontiac', set a new track record and qualified on pole. Titus led the race until engine failure caused him to retire on the 43rd lap.
In preparation for the 1969 season and still awaiting their new Firebirds, Titus decided to enter #7L141852 in one more race, the 1969 24 Hours of Daytona. The car was prepared in a red and white livery numbered 26. With Jon Ward as co-driver and a skeleton crew, the team went to Florida that February, prepared to compete not only with the Touring Car (Trans Am) class but also against an array of the world's finest purpose-built FIA endurance racecars including Ferrari, Porsche, Lola and the Ford GT40.
Qualifying a distant 16th, Titus and Ward alternately sliced through the field, reaching 2nd place. The team's fortunes were nearly dashed when the car's differential failed in the middle of the night. Titus and Ward made the necessary repairs and finally, after 24 punishing hours of racing, #7L141852 WON the Trans Am/Touring Class and finished THIRD OVERALL at Daytona!
With the arrival of the new '69 Pontiacs, #7L141852 was sold back to Jon Ward. It was eventually taken to Mexico and competed successfully in that country's own popular version of the Trans Am series. In 1988, the Firebird was discovered in Mexico. Jerry's son Rick Titus was able to authenticate the car and he subsequently acquired it and sent it to Bill Elliott Racing in Georgia for complete restoration. At Elliott's shop, the car was thoroughly reconditioned and race-prepared in its '69 Daytona livery, as it is presented today.
Source: Russo and Steele as part of the Scottsdale event in January, 2015