Firebirds were used in the Trans-Am series in the 1960s and 1970s. When the Firebird Trans Am was released, there was controversy over the model's inability to compete in the Trans-Am because the smallest available engine was too large for use in the series at 400 cubic inches (6.6 liters). The name also caused controversy because it was used without permission from the SCCA, who threatened suit. GM settled the dispute by paying US$5 to the SCCA for every car sold. When the Trans-Am was last seen, model year 2002 Firebirds were in use. From 1996 to 2006, a WS6 Trans Am coupe provided the body style for the mechanically identical racing cars used in the International Race of Champions (IROC).
During the 1995, 1996, and 1997 NHRA seasons, 14-time Funny Car champion John Force used a Firebird body to replace the obsolete Oldsmobile Cutlass and Chevrolet Lumina body he had used since 1988. He used it for three seasons, winning the championship in all three years. The Firebird was also used by drivers such as Del Worsham, Tim Wilkerson, Frank Pedregon, and Jerry Toliver. The Firebird body also replaced the Oldsmobile Cutlass in the Pro Stock class in 1995, forcing drivers Warren Johnson, Jerry Eckman, and Mark Pawuk to replace their body styles for the 1996 year. None of them would win with the first year of the Firebird body, but Pro Stock driver Jim Yates, a second year driver, using the Firebird body, would.

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