SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (Oct. 21, 2003) -- White sandy beaches, clear blue surf, majestic sunsets, and a gentle tropical island breeze form the backdrop for the tenth and final Rounds of the SCCA SPEED World Challenge GT and Touring Car...
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (Oct. 21, 2003) -- White sandy beaches, clear blue surf, majestic sunsets, and a gentle tropical island breeze form the backdrop for the tenth and final Rounds of the SCCA SPEED World Challenge GT and Touring Car Championships at the inaugural Puerto Rico Grand Prix Oct. 24-26.
Nearly 20 SPEED GT and more than 30 SPEED Touring Car drivers will show San Juan's race fans why the SCCA SPEED World Challenge is North America's premier sprint production car series. Featuring standing starts and no-holds barred competition, this series gives a whole new meaning to the fast and the furious. Equipped with more than enough ponies under the hood with the brakes and handling to match, SPEED World Challenge drivers will turn their machines loose on the temporary 1.6-mile, 10-turn circuit at Isla Grande Airport, part of the Fernando Luis Ribas Dominicci Airport complex. This is the first time the SCCA SPEED World Challenge has raced on the Caribbean island.
"Race fans in Puerto Rico will be treated to one of the best shows in all of motorsports this weekend," said Mitch Wright, Vice President and General Manager of SCCA Pro Racing. "This is really a great opportunity for our series to showcase its talented drivers and to build a following among fans in Puerto Rico."
With the SPEED GT Driver's Championship very much in doubt, the stage is set for some high drama, Caribbean style. Bill Auberlen, of Hermosa Beach, Calif., had a 20-point lead in the SPEED GT Drivers' Championship over second-place Randy Pobst, of Gainesville, Ga., heading into last week's race at Road Atlanta. But mechanical trouble forced Auberlen to retire his BWM Team PTG BMW M3 on lap 13, finishing a season-worst 25th and scoring zero points. Meanwhile, Pobst went on to win the race and, in the process, picked up 30 points for his effort. Pobst now leads the Championship with 221 points heading into the Puerto Rico Grand Prix -- 12 more than Auberlen.
There are a variety of scenarios to determine the next SPEED GT Drivers' Championship, however, Pobst can clinch the Championship if he finishes fourth or better, regardless of where Auberlen finishes. Auberlen wins any tiebreaker scenarios because he has won three races this season.
While the Drivers' Championship maybe foremost in the minds of Pobst and Auberlen, the teams, both factory supported, are focused on the Manufacturers' Championship Presented by Racer magazine. Pobst's win allowed Audi (49 points) to move within one point of BMW (50) for the title.
BMW can clinch the Manufacturers' Championship if they finish ahead of Audi. Audi can clinch the title if they finish third or better and ahead of BMW, BMW wins any tiebreaker scenarios.
Auberlen clinched the SCCA SPEED Touring Car Drivers' Championship at the Round Eight race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca Sept. 6 and BMW clinched the SPEED Touring Car Manufacturers' Championship at the Round Nine race at Road Atlanta Oct. 17.
Several drivers from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic will certainly put on a show in front of the hometown crowd. SPEED GT driver Victor Contreras, of San Juan, will pilot the No. 69 Coors Light/Landfill Tech/ 3R Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, and has an outside chance at surpassing Tom Oates for the series' Rookie of the Year title, while SPEED Touring Car rookie drivers Jose Aybar, of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; Jose Berrios, of San Juan; Carlos Diaz, formerly of Cuba, now residing in Miami, Fla.; and Jose Leroux, of Santo Domingo, also look to showcase their talent in respective SPEED World Challenge debuts.
The SCCA SPEED World Challenge GT and Touring Car Championship Round Ten races are set to make standing starts at 10:45 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. (EST), respectively, Sunday, Oct. 26.
The Puerto Rico Grand Prix SPEED Touring Car and SPEED GT races will initially air at 4:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. (EST), respectively, Saturday, Nov. 15 and on Speed Channel.
For more information, including live timing and scoring, please visit www.world-challenge.com.
-scca pro racing-