CENTENNIAL, Colo. (November 27, 2001)- Peter Cunningham has been declared the winningest driver in American professional road racing history, according to a recent study by TheRaceSite.com, confirmed by Arnold Communications.
Cunningham, 39, a five-time SCCA Pro Racing Champion, has won 71 races since 1987, in eight different series (IMSA Firehawk, SCCA Escort, SCCA Sport Trucks, SCCA World Challenge, North American Touring Car, USRRC, PSCR/IMSA GT, Motorola Cup), and at 27 different racetracks.
His incredible record surfaced in a compilation of results from 15 American professional road racing series since 1963, conducted by TheRaceSite.com. In actuality, Cunningham has 72 road racing victories, including the 1990 SCCA Sport Truck series, where he scored one win en route to the series championship, which was not included in the survey.
Second and third places belong to the late Peter Gregg and Al Holbert, with 61 and 60 wins, respectively. Irv Hoerr (58) and Joe Varde (51) are the top active drivers behind Cunningham, completing the top five. "I've been a part of the racing community for many years," Cunningham said of the report, "and I've been fortunate to have had the opportunity to drive for a number of top teams. I had no idea that I was in such elite company, and it's a source of pride for me."
One third of Cunningham's wins were achieved driving for RealTime Racing, a team he founded in 1987. For the last nine years, RTR has fielded a multi-car effort in the SCCA Pro Racing Speedvision World Challenge, securing seven Drivers' Championships - two for Cunningham, two for Michael Galati, and three (including the 2001 Touring Car title) for Pierre Kleinubing.
"Fifty-seven of my wins have been in Honda and Acura cars, and eight of my ten championships," he added. "I started racing Hondas in 1987 for their performance and reliability, and stuck with them for the bulk of my career. Had I focused on another brand of car, I sincerely doubt my own career, or RealTime's, would have been this successful."
Beyond the series included on TheRaceSite's report, Cunningham's diverse career has thus far produced other notable results. His first racing title was an SCCA Solo II National Championship in 1984. Then it was off to the frozen lakes of the upper Midwest and Ontario where he co-drove an RTR Honda to a PRO Ice Racing championship in 1987, beating Bobby and Tommy Archer, Geoff Brabham and Herm Johnson.
Cunningham enjoyed the 'sideways' driving discipline, and went on to win two other ice racing titles for Honda and RTR before trying his hand in performance rallying for fun. He campaigned an RTR Acura on the SCCA Pro Rally tour, and won the Production class championship in 1993, further displaying his diversity.
Cunningham has four other road course series titles. He won the 1988 and 1989 SCCA Escort Endurance series in Class B; and the 1995 and 1997 Drivers' Championships in the SCCA Speedvision World Challenge in the Touring and GT divisions, respectively.
Not including his 'off-pavement' event victories (six in rallys, 18 on the ice), through the end of the 2001 racing season, Cunningham has competed in 281 professional races, winning 25 percent, with 55 percent podium finishes (155), and 85 percent top-10 results (240). This year, the Wisconsin native drove a Vortech-supercharged Acura NSX to seven poles and five wins in the 10-event Speedvision GT Championship, finishing second in points.
"The 2001 season was a tremendous success for RealTime Racing," Cunningham added. "We are working on some exciting projects for the 2002 Speedvision World Challenge Championships, and will announce our intentions soon."