World Challenge Drivers, Teams Honored At Awards Ceremony SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (Oct. 29, 2003) -- The best of the best from the 2003 SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge Championships were honored Sunday night at the year-end awards banquet...
World Challenge Drivers, Teams Honored At Awards Ceremony
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (Oct. 29, 2003) -- The best of the best from the 2003 SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge Championships were honored Sunday night at the year-end awards banquet held at the Caribe Hilton in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The evening, hosted by series announcer Tom Hnatiw and television broadcast play-by-play announcer Leigh Diffey, honored outstanding accomplishments of the season, highlighted by the SCCA Speed GT and SCCA Speed Touring Car Champions in both the Drivers' and Manufacturers' Championships.
Randy Pobst (No. 2 Champion Audi Racing Audi RS 6) took home top honors in the SCCA Speed GT Drivers' Championship, earning a total of 255 points over the 10-race season that began in March at Sebring International Raceway and ended earlier in the day (Oct. 26) at the Isla Grande Airport circuit in San Juan. Pobst was the model of consistency in the GT Championship, recording eight to-10 finishes, each of them on the podium. He recorded two wins at the final two races of the season at Road Atlanta and Puerto Rico and earned three pole positions (Lime Rock, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Puerto Rico) en route to a total of $96,600 in year-long earnings including prize money and contingencies.
Bill Auberlen nearly had the perfect season, finishing just 24 points away from Pobst in SCCA Speed GT to go with his record-setting SCCA Speed Touring Car Championship.
Driving the No. 93 Turner Motorsport/H&R Springs BMW 325i, Auberlen scored a record 291 points in the 10-race Speed Touring Car Championship season, clinching the title at Round Eight (Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca), the earliest clinched Championship in series history. Auberlen finished in the top four at every event, giving him 10 top-four finishes on the season, also a record. He recorded four wins (to go with his three in SCCA Speed GT) at Sebring International Raceway, Road Atlanta Round One, Infineon Raceway and Puerto Rico; three poles (Sebring, Road Atlanta Round One, Infineon Raceway) and seven fastest race laps. Auberlen, who earned a total of $88,100, topped second-place Pierre Kleinubing by 79 points--the widest margin in SCCA Speed World Challenge history.
In the SCCA Speed GT Manufacturers' Championship Presented by Racer Magazine, Audi took over the lead for the first time in the final race to win the title by five points (58 to 53) over BMW. It is Audi's second SCCA Speed World Challenge Manufacturers' title, the first coming in 2001. Porsche and Chevrolet finished third and fourth, with 37 and 35 points, respectively.
While BMW had to settle for second in GT, it captured the SCCA Speed World Challenge Touring Car Manufacturers' Championship Presented by Racer Magazine by 14 points over Acura, having clinched the award at Road Atlanta's Round Nine. It is BMW's second SCCA Speed Touring Car Manufacturers' title, the first, like Audi in GT, coming in 2001. Mazda (43 points), Nissan (24) and Lexus (18) completed the top five.
Tom Oates (No. 99 Tiger Racing Chevrolet Corvette ZO6) captured the SCCA Speed GT Rookie of the Year award, finishing 10th in overall series points, nine points ahead of runner-up Victor Contreras.
Matt Plumb (No. 50 duPont Motorsports/ERT BMW 325) overtook Tim Pappas in the final race of the season for the SCCA Speed Touring Car Rookie of the Year title, edging him by two points despite skipping two rounds during the season. Plumb becomes the second Plumb brother to win the award, matching the feat of broth Hugh in 1998.
While the drivers and manufacturers were honored for the points they scored and the races they won throughout the 2003 season, several awards were given out for accomplishments behind the scenes.
Chili Pepper Racing was presented the Jim Cook Award for its charitable contributions throughout the season and work with the underprivileged and disadvantaged. While team principle Dr. Jim Osborn was not in attendance at Puerto Rico due to work scheduling conflicts, his brother, John Osborn, accepted the award, which is the highest non-racing award an individual can earn in World Challenge.
Dax Raub, Crew Chief of the No. 73 Coors Original/Aggregate Industries/3R Racing Chevrolet Corvette ZO6, was the inaugural winner of the Zimmermann Cup for the outstanding Crew Chief. Raub rallied his troops to replace the car destroyed in a Road America crash over the course of 21 days in order to make the next round at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. A replica of the award was also presented to RealTime Racing, in honor of its namesake Jerome Zimmermann, the team's Crew Chief who passed away earlier this year.
Additionally, 3R Racing and RealTime Racing were voted on by the SCCA Speed World Challenge teams as the Crew of the Year for GT and Touring Car, respectively.
-scca pro racing-