REALTIME RACING REVEALS 2001 PLANS: RealTime Racing has announced its 2001 SCCA Pro Racing Speedvision World Challenge GT and Touring Car plans. Some new faces and the return of the Acura NSX are on tap for the team which has won six Drivers' ...
REALTIME RACING REVEALS 2001 PLANS: RealTime Racing has announced its 2001 SCCA Pro Racing Speedvision World Challenge GT and Touring Car plans. Some new faces and the return of the Acura NSX are on tap for the team which has won six Drivers' Championships in the last six years, including five of the last six in Touring Car. Defending his 2000 Speedvision Touring Car Drivers Championship will be Brazilian superstar Pierre Kleinubing, who will carry No. 1 on his RealTime Racing Acura Integra R in recognition of his accomplishments last season, which included three wins, five poles and eight top-five finishes. Kleinubing's toughest competition for his third title may come from within his own camp, with Hugh Plumb returning in the No. 43 entry and the addition of 2000 world-wide Porsche Cup winner Mike Fitzgerald in the No. 44 car. Fred Meyer returns for a sixth season in the No. 45 mount, and rookie Brazilian Carlos Steyer will drive the same No. 46 car he carried to two top-16 finishes in the final two 2000 races. "This year's RealTime driver's lineup is as strong as any we've had," said Peter Cunningham, RealTime Racing team owner. "We have five very solid drivers and three legitimate title contenders, which is more than any team owner could ever ask for." Plumb returns after a roller-coaster season in which he finished two of the first five events, but avenged his bad luck by scoring more points in the final five races than any other Touring Car driver. The 1998 World Challenge T2 Rookie of the Year has wins in each of his three World Challenge seasons (including two in 2000), finishing fourth, third and fourth, respectively. Fitzgerald will again pull double-duty in the Speedvision World Challenge, running both the GT and Touring Car Championship as he did in the final five races of his 2000 rookie season. Already signed for a full season with Petersen Motorsports in its Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Speedvision GT car, Fitzgerald returns to Touring Car after running the 2000 season with TC Kline Racing, finishing 10th in the final point standings with one win, one pole, four top-fives and five top-10s. "With a one-two-three-punch like Kleinubing, Plumb and Fitzgerald, we hope to secure Acura its fourth-straight Manufacturers' Championship in addition to the Drivers' Championship," said Cunningham. "We're confident that our pre-season testing of the new spec Toyo tires and our solid existing package will help us have our best foot forward for the first couple of races." In addition to its Speedvision Touring Car efforts, RealTime Racing will also attempt to bring Acura a Championship in the Speedvision GT category, with the return of the Acura NSX. After a two-season absence, RealTime will field an NSX for Cunningham, who took the 1997 World Challenge T1 title in one and scored the model's last win in 1998. "We saw a great opportunity to welcome back an integral part of the Acura and RealTime Racing family," said Cunningham. "We believe the NSX to be a very strong car for the 2001 season." Cunningham will carry his traditional No. 42 on the car. After taking the 1999 season off, he returned for a full Speedvision GT campaign last year in a BMW M3, recording his career record-tying 19th win at Ste. Croix. The 12th season of Speedvision World Challenge competition is kicked-off with the March 4 Grand Prix of Texas, followed by the March 16 12 Hours of Sebring Weekend.