SPEEDVISION WORLD CHALLENGE LIME ROCK PARK WHEN: MAY 26-27, 2000 TV: JUNE 24, 8:00 - 10:00 P.M. (ET), SPEEDVISION STREET FIGHT ON WHEELS High horsepower, high revving, no-holds barred, standing starting, fender-to-fender, ...
SPEEDVISION WORLD CHALLENGE
LIME ROCK PARK
WHEN: MAY 26-27, 2000
TV: JUNE 24, 8:00 - 10:00 P.M. (ET), SPEEDVISION
STREET FIGHT ON WHEELS
High horsepower, high revving, no-holds barred, standing starting, fender-to-fender, bumper-to-bumper, interactive racing your mother always warned you about.
This is not for the faint-hearted.
The Speedvision World Challenge takes the cars you want to drive--like Porsches, Vipers, Corvettes, BMWs, Acuras, Hondas and Ferraris--slaps the coolest aftermarket bodywork and wheels on, gives them some more power and brakes and turns them loose with some of the best drivers in road racing today. Established names like Derek Bell, Michael Galati, Boris Said, Bobby Archer, John Heinricy, Peter Cunningham, Elliott Forbes-Robinson, Butch Leitzinger, Bill Cooper, Pierre Kleinubing and Peter Schwartzott will battle some of the best new faces in professional racing, looking to take their first championships in 2000.
The battlefront may be the same, but the artillery is very different in the two Speedvision World Challenge classes--the Speedvision GT and Speedvision Touring Car.
Don't be frightened, these guys are trained professionals. They have to be to keep these 400-plus horsepower monsters on the road. Not that they don't have the brakes and handling to match their brutish power, but holding anything that goes 185 mph, 0-60 in 4.0 seconds and pulls 1.5g on street tires (the series-spec BFGoodrich g-Force T/A R-1) takes mad skills.
This year, the action has been totally unpredictable, with six different drivers climbing onto the podium in the two races leading into Lime Rock. "Wild" Bill Cooper--who took Round One at Lowe's Motor Speedway from the pole in his fire-liveried No. 01 Les Stanford/Pirate Racing Chevrolet Corvette C5 -- leads the points, with 54. Peter Cunningham pitched and slid his No. 42 RealTime Racing BMW M3 to the Mosport pole, and is the only driver to record top-fives in both races, giving him enough points to sit second, with 45. Jeff McMillin (No. 25 JJ's Snacks/John Hancock BMW M3, third in points, with 41) and five-time Le Mans winner Derek Bell (No. 8 Legend of Motorsport/Champion Audi S4 Competition) are the only two other drivers to finish well inside the top-10 in each of the opening rounds, meaning the competition is as tough as it comes.
You don't just waltz into this field and win, you gotta earn it.
Joining the Corvettes, BMWs and Audis at the front of the field are Porsches, with drivers like Dave Schardt (No. 94 Wheel Source/Hikari Racing 911 GT3 Cup) and rookie Justin Jackson (No. 79 J-3 Motorsports) -- both tied for fourth in points, with 39. Defending series runner-up Peter Kitchak and the Moorspeed team are so determined to win the 2000 title, they slaved for 36 hours to repair the car after being rolled in practice to make the race -- all only one week ago. Newcomer Scott Bove (No. 22 Technifab/Valvoline/e-Sports.com Porsche 911 GT3 Cup) has shown the capabilities of jumping into the top-10 at any point.
After living a nightmarish season-opener at Charlotte, which included a tornado in Texas before they left and two blown up cars by the middle of the race, Viper Speed rebounded with two top-10 finishes at Mosport, with defending series champion Bobby Archer taking the win in the No. 32 IQuest Motorsports/Viper Speed Dodge Viper GTS and rookie Jimmy Adams finishing ninth in the No. 77 ADT Automotive entry. The win, and bad luck from some fellow competitors helped Archer climb up to seventh in the points, with 34.
Archer wasn't the only defending champion to have a good weekend at Mosport. Last year's Speedvision Touring Car Champ Michael Galati finally got behind the wheel of his new No. 9 Champion Audi S4 Competition and promptly put it on the podium, in second place. Watch out for Galati and teamate Bell if it rains -- like your dad always said, nothing beats four-wheel-drive in bad weather.
Reese Cox wants to forget about Mosport, where his No. 98 MTI Racing Corvette C5 wasn't up to the 27-lap dash, leaving him with a 31st-place finish after finishing second in Charlotte. Paul Brown (No. 96 HP Motorsports/LTI/Kicker Saleen Mustang SR) can't be happy after Mosport either. He finished 21st, after a seventh-place run at Charlotte.
Drivers of some of the coolest rides around that are ready to break into the top-10, five or podium include rookie Frank Allers (No. 6 Tom Johnston Racing Corvette C5), 1996 race winner and track record-holder Boris Said (No. 20 Steeda Autosport Steeda Mustang), 1997 winner Kermit Upton III (No. 26 Mountain Autosport BMW M3), John Heinricy (No. 39 Aristeo Construction Corvette C5), Matt Drendel (No. 54 Bell Motorsport/Drendel Racing Ferrari 355 Challenge), Phil McClure (No. 73 McClure Const./Aggregate Industries Corvette C5) and Scotty B. White (No. 97 W. Coast Corvettes/DRM C500R Corvette C5). Grand Sport Speedway Racing has brought in a ringer at Lime Rock to drive the No. 04 Corvette C5 -- Trans-Am star and former Barber Dodge Pro Series standout G.J. Mennen.
While the action at the track is second-to-none, remember this is a TV-sponsored series, so catch the broadcasts with more innovative features and cameras than you've ever seen--including Derek Bell's running commentary from inside his helmet!
SPEEDVISION TOURING CAR
If it doesn't already, no question, you wish your car looked like this.
This is The Official Racing Series of the Sports Compact Revolution. These are your daily drivers on steroids, slammed to the ground, with sweet bodywork, wings and big wheels. These are the rev-screaming, nimble Speedvision Touring Cars, which include the Acura Integra R, BMW 328, Honda Civic Si, Mazda 626, Mercury Cougar, Mercedes 230, Toyota Celica GTS and Volkswagen Jetta, and they put on one of the most exciting spectacles in all of racing.
Young Brazilian Pierre Kleinubing (No. 42 BuySellorHold.com Acura Integra R) has enjoyed as perfect a season as one can so far in 2000 -- taking both poles, leading every lap and winning both races so far for a perfect 68 points.
Local driver Will Turner, of Wesburyport, Mass., is second in points (47), and plans to lead the charge to end Kleinubing's run at Lime Rock in his No. 92 H&R Springs/Turner Motorpsort BMW 328is. Teammate Don Salama, of Avon, Conn., is also a prime challenger, and sits fourth in points, with 39.
In fact, the class, which has been dominated by Acura and Honda products for several years, has found the parity it has been seeking, with four different cars in the top-10, including Neal Sapp's No. 2 ProPartsUSA.net BMW 328ci (third in points, with 41) and Jason Potter's No. 85 American Honda Honda Prelude (fifth, with 31). Ken Dobson has also put the Pontiac Sunfire into the fray of weapons capable of disarming the Integra, setting the fastest lap record at Mosport while climbing from 39th on the grid to eighth in the No. 80 Carmel-Lahaina Util/Read Pontiac/Westek entry.
One must not forget the Integras, though, with BuySellorHold.com/RealTime Racing drivers Hugh Plumb and Kevin Schrantz always a threat to jump to the podium, and other top entries from Taz Harvey (No. 8 Dublin Honda/Tracy Honda) and Peter Schwartzott (No. 71 BBS). Acura has won 17 of the last 21 Speedvision Touring Car races, and will not go quietly.
Other top BMW competitors include Mike Fitzgerald (No. 12 ProPartsUSA.net 328ci), Shauna Marinus (No. 21 ProPartsUSA.net 328ci), Terry McCarthy (No. 23 Last Minute Racing 328is), Steve Pfeffer (No. 26 John Hancock/JJ's Snacks 328is), Paul Alderman (No. 50 ERT 328is), Alfred DuPont (No. 51 ERT 328is) and James Sofronas (No. 01 SSF Motorsports/Ego Magazine/Peppaseed Racing 328is).
Trying to crack the shell on the Integra/BMW battle is tough, but several car and driver combinations are up to the task, including Stephane Trahan (No. 14 Trac Racing Volkswagen Jetta), Grant Lockwood (No. 17 American Honda/Racerworks/Schroth Restraints Honda Prelude), Ed Schairbaum (No. 25 Nova Solution Nissan 240 SX), Leo Capaldi (No. 56 Yazaki N.A./Visteon/RoadFx Mercury Cougar), Rick Ellinger (No. 68 RC Imports Mercedes 230), Steve Lisa (No. 83 Patent It! Mazda 626), David Rosenblum (No. 84 Patent It! Mazda 626) and Drew Hagestad (No. 95 Hagestad Racing Volkswagen Jetta).
Last year's Lime Rock action was raucous, with several cars crashing hard, and the series police are taking a harsh stance against too much contact. But boys will be boys--girls too--so you can bet that there will be plenty of leaning, banging and temper-flaring going on that won't cool down until long after the checkered flag has fallen.
This is a war.
-SCCA/SCCA Pro Racing-