Champion Racing returns to defend SCCA Speed World Challenge GT manufacturers' title. Drivers' champ Pobst, five-time champ Galati to drive. TOPEKA, Kan. (Jan. 7, 2004) -- Hoping to defend its 2003 SCCA SPEED World Challenge GT Manufacturers' ...
Champion Racing returns to defend SCCA Speed World Challenge GT manufacturers' title. Drivers' champ Pobst, five-time champ Galati to drive.
TOPEKA, Kan. (Jan. 7, 2004) -- Hoping to defend its 2003 SCCA SPEED World Challenge GT Manufacturers' title, the factory-back Audi effort of Champion Racing will return to the series for the 2004 season. To help its quest for another Championship, the team has retained the services of 2003 SCCA SPEED World Challenge GT Drivers' Champion Randy Pobst, of Gainesville, Ga., and five-time SPEED World Challenge series Champion Michael Galati, of Olmsted, Ohio.
"Randy [Pobst] is returning, as the champion, and he'll be in car [number] one," said Mike Peters, team manager for Champion Racing. "Michael [Galati] has also been retained and will be in car [number] two. As far as car three, we are still in negotiations to determine who that might be and whether that car will run the [full] season or just run some select events."
Champion Racing won the Manufacturers' title with the help of Pobst and Galati behind the wheel of the Audi RS 6 quattro. In the off-season, Champion Racing further developed the Audi RS 6 to make it even more competitive heading into the 2004 campaign in hopes that its drivers can replicate their winning efforts.
"We had the off-season to try and make refinements to our car, to get to minimum weight and to redesign a few things that will also help us balance out the car a little bit more," Peters said. "There's been a new tire that's been made available that kind of splits the 275 and 335 tire and we're slated to be running on those tires -- the 305. Those are the things that we've been working on going into the season."
"I've really enjoyed the development process on the RS 6, learning the all-wheel drive with quattro system and how to make that fast on a race track. It has not been terribly easy, but it has been very rewarding. The Audi is so good at the starts that we always approach that with confidence and it's going to be a lot of fun."
Pobst, who recorded two wins, eight podium finishes, three poles and set one fast race lap record (Puerto Rico) en route to winning his first SPEED GT Drivers' Championship, is looking forward to the opportunity to defend his title.
"I'm honored to be a part of Champion Racing," Pobst said. "It's a great team and the Audi RS 6 gets better all the time. The competition is stiff, but I look forward to working toward another title this year. I think the SPEED World Challenge GT is a great show."
So, what will it take for Pobst or Galati to win the SPEED GT Drivers' Championship in 2004?
"We're going to have to have even more reliability out of our Champion Audis, so Michael and I can get the cars both to the podium more frequently," Pobst said. "That will be a primary goal."
Galati finished the 2003 campaign with three trips to the podium and five top-10 finishes.
According to Peters, the team is looking forward to competing against the new factory-backed teams in the upcoming season.
"We're excited about the competition that we're seeing coming into the series," Peters said. "We're hopeful that BMW is coming back to help us challenge -- what we think is going to be the biggest challenge -- Cadillac."
The SPEED World Challenge GT season will make its first standing start of 2004 at Sebring International Raceway for the fourth-consecutive year as part of the 52nd Mobil1 Twelve Hours of Sebring week March 17-20. In 2004, the series will visit Lime Rock Park, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Infineon Raceway, Portland International Raceway, Mosport International Raceway, Road America, Road Atlanta Motorsports Center and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.