Champions honored at Awards Banquet

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (October 9, 2001)-The SCCA Pro Racing Speedvision World Challenge honored its champions and top achievements Sunday night at the year-end awards banquet held at the Atlanta Marriott Gwinnett Place. Hosted by Tom...

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (October 9, 2001)-The SCCA Pro Racing Speedvision World Challenge honored its champions and top achievements Sunday night at the year-end awards banquet held at the Atlanta Marriott Gwinnett Place. Hosted by Tom Hnatiw, the voice of the Speedvision World Challenge Championships featuring the antics of the Derek (Bell) and Derek (Daly) Show, the series honored the accomplishments from a season of Speedvision GT and Touring Car racing. Michael Galati (No. 9 Champion Audi S4 Competition) became the first driver ever to capture four World Challenge Drivers' Championships, taking the 2001 Speedvision GT title to go with his 1996, 1998 and 1999 Touring Car Championships. Galati became the second-straight Speedvision GT Champion to finish all 10 races in the top-10, capturing four wins and one pole en route to a 12-point win over Peter Cunningham (No. 42 RealTime Racing Acura NSX SC), 283 to 271. Cunningham was the top driver statistically, with five wins and seven poles (tying the all-time career mark of 21, with Lou Gigliotti and Pierre Kleinubing), but a rare mechanical failure at Lime Rock Park all but sealed the title for Galati. Johannes van Overbeek (No. 81 Flextronics/Intel Porsche 911 GT3 Cup) had one win and two poles on the season to finish third, with 222 points, followed by Mike Fitzgerald (215), Jeff McMillin (203), Justin Jackson (190), Jimmy Adams (185), Phil McClure (158), Bob Miller (149) and Justin Marks (146). Galati's Championship earned him the $50,000 Champion's bonus to bring the total season earnings (including contingencies) for the No. 9 Champion team to a record $132,200. Cunningham also eclipsed the century mark for the first time, earning $102,600 in purse, points fund and contingencies. Miller, who had six top-10 finishes and a career-best fifth in the No. 23 Rogaine/DirecPC/At Speed Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, topped Marks for the Rookie of the Year title by three points. Miller earned a $10,000 bonus for the award. In a battle that came down to the final race, Audi secured its first-ever Manufacturers' Championship by a single point over Acura, 61 to 60. Porsche, which led the chase into the final race, was third, with 57 points. Rod Bymaster, of Audi Sport NA, accepted the award on Audi's behalf after arriving from the American Le Mans Series banquet, where he accepted a similar honor for the LMP900 class. Kleinubing (No. 1 RealTime Racing Acura Integra Type R) accepted his second-consecutive Speedvision Touring Car Drivers' Championship trophy and the third of his career (the other coming in 1997). The Brazilian finished out of the top-five and top-10 only once in 2001, recording four poles (tying Cunningham and Gigliotti for the all-time career lead) and three wins to clinch the Championship after finishing third in the series penultimate round While Kleinubing's 257 points were, by far, tops for the season, a battle waged throughout the final weekend of racing for second, and, for the second-straight year, Neal Sapp emerged on top to earn Championship Runner-Up honors, with 216 points. Like Cunningham, Sapp (No. 55 duPont Motorsports BMW 325is) topped the charts statistically, with four wins and one pole, but two DNFs early in the season squashed his Championship aspirations, despite winning four of the last five races, one by a series-record 0.059-second at Sears Point. Steve Pfeffer (No. 26 John Hancock/JJ's Snacks BMW 328is), who finished second in that historic Sears Point thriller, earned one win and five top-fives to finish third in the Championship, with 199 points, followed by Ken Dobson (197), Will Turner (179), Don Salama (178), Hugh Plumb (172), Terry McCarthy (146), Roger Foo (134) and Taz Harvey (121). Kleinubing earned $80,675 in points fund, purse and contingencies, eclipsing $80,000 for the second-consecutive year. Sapp was the second-highest money winner, with $57,900. Foo (No. 88 Griffin Motorwerke Honda Civic HB) captured the 2001 Rookie of the Year honors and $8,000 bonus in Speedvision Touring Car over Rob Hines (103 points) off the strength of one win and two top-10 finishes. Foo was also honored with the Special Achievement Award from SCCA Pro Racing, presented to the driver or team exuding high levels of sportsmanship, presentation, a top level of performance and an overall positive impact in the series. As with the Drivers' Championship, BMW was able to clinch the Manufacturers' title in the penultimate round, finally topping Acura 80 to 54. The honor, accepted by Neal Sapp, who won the most races for the manufacturer, was the first in World Challenge for BMW. Phil McClure (No. 73 GT Aggregate Industries/McClure Concrete Chevrolet Corvette C5) was named the recipient of the Jim Cook Award, the highest award in the World Challenge series, bestowed upon an entrant or driver who has made significant contributions to the overall success of the Speedvision World Challenge through a consistent display of good character and sportsmanship. McClure helped all Corvette teams through wind tunnel testing with Chevrolet this season, and also donated his $50,000 in winnings (in lieu of a Porsche 911) from the Racing for the Rainbow charitable drawing back to five different charities. Grand Sport Racing won the season-long Speedvision Presentation Award ($6,000) for the highest level of professionalism, paddock interaction with fans, car and team presentation. Champion Racing and Turner Motorsport tied for second, each receiving $2,000. Champion Racing (No. 8 and 9 Audis) and TriPoint Racing (No. 4 and 40 Mazdas) were honored as the 2001 Speedvision World Challenge Crew of the Year for GT and Touring Car, respectively. Speedvision World Challenge Technical Director Gary Perry presented the awards. This was the first time the two teams received these honors. Finally, SCCA Pro Racing Vice President and General Manager honored Alan and Desiré Wilson for their work on the Speedvision World Challenge Championships over the last three seasons. The Wilsons, who served as series Development Coordinators, have elected to be involved in the series on a limited basis, beginning in 2002.

-SCCA/SCCA ProRacing-

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Series PWC
Drivers Pierre Kleinubing , Michael Galati , Lou Gigliotti , Ken Dobson , Bob Miller , Phil McClure , Peter Cunningham , Jeff McMillin , Johannes van Overbeek , Steve Pfeffer , Will Turner , Taz Harvey , Roger Foo , Don Salama , Justin Jackson , Terry McCarthy , Desiré Wilson
Teams RealTime Racing , Turner Motorsport