Speedvision World Challenge Set For Second Half Of Season ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (July 10, 2001)* The SCCA Pro Racing Speedvision World Challenge Championships return to action July 20-22 at the Sears Point Raceway XFactor Grand Prix of Sonoma...
Speedvision World Challenge Set For Second Half Of Season
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (July 10, 2001)* The SCCA Pro Racing Speedvision World Challenge Championships return to action July 20-22 at the Sears Point Raceway XFactor Grand Prix of Sonoma Weekend.
Offering the fiercest production-based car racing in North America, the Speedvision GT and Touring Car Championships head into the three-race west coast swing with two very different championship outlooks.
The Speedvision GT title run is very much up for grabs with Michael Galati's No. 9 Champion Audi S4 Competition holding a narrow 11-point advantage over Peter Cunningham's RealTime Racing Acura NSX SC. Galati has taken two wins this season (the season-opener at Texas and Lime Rock Park), while Cunningham has triumphed the other three times (Sebring, Mosport and Detroit), setting the top career mark for World Challenge wins, at 21.
The Championship might look very different had it not been for a rare mechanical DNF on the Acura at Lime Rock, as Cunningham has consistently been the quickest car on the track*taking four of the season's five pole positions. Following the early-season addition of 200 lbs., SCCA Pro Racing has now cut the Vortec supercharger boost from eight to five pounds in search of optimal manufacturer parity.
"We've been making some little adjustments on the other cars out there, and many have made a significant impact," said Series Technical Director Gary Perry. "The weight didn't seem to slow the Acura as much as expected, so we felt a boost reduction was necessary. We've got two vastly different tracks next up on the schedule [Sears Point and Portland], and should see a little bit more variety at the point."
Despite running with three separate teams in three different cars, 2000 Porsche Cup Winner Mike Fitzgerald remains third in GT points, with 120 to Galati's 146 and Cunningham's 135. The four-time race winner in 2000 returns to the team he started with this year*Petersen Motorsports*at Sears.
Reigning Series Champion Jeff McMillin has not had an easy time defending his 2000 run in which he finished in the top-10 in all 10 races. After two-consecutive finishes outside the top-10 due to on-track incidents, the champ returned to form at Detroit, recording a third-place finish. He'll have an all-new No. 1 JJ's Snacks/John Hancock BMW M3 E46 beginning with Sears Point.
Several other drivers have had good first halves to sit in the top-10 in points and look to move up, including the Porsches of Johannes van Overbeek, Justin Jackson, Jimmy Adams, top rookie Bob Miller and Justin Marks and the Chevrolet Corvette C5 of Phil McClure.
Since Detroit in June, Chevrolet has been assisting its Corvette teams by making a trip to the wind tunnel, optimizing the aerodynamic package permitted by the series.
Based on the box office surprise $101.5 million three-week return for the movie The Fast and the Furious, the popularity of the import revolution is growing, and has never been more evident than in the Speedvision Touring Car Championship*The Official Racing Series of the Sports Compact Revolution.
Defending Series Champion Pierre Kleinubing holds a sizeable 37-point advantage halfway through the season in his No. 1 RealTime Racing Acura Integra R. After finishing fourth in the season-opening round at Texas, the young Brazilian has reeled-off four-straight top-two finishes, including three wins (Sebring, Mosport, Lime Rock race two).
Sophomore driver Don Salama's consistency has moved him into second place in the points, with 111, in the No. 94 Large Inc./H&R Springs BMW 328is.
Terry McCarthy sits third in the No. 23 FMG/Image Micro/Dinan BMW 328is, and hopes to record his first series win in front of the home crowd at Sears Point. He is 11 points behind Salama, with 100.
Steve Pfeffer was the early point leader with a win at Texas and a third at Sebring in the No. 26 John Hancock/JJ's Snacks BMW 328is, but had a rough Lime Rock doubleheader weekend, which resulted in a best finish of 13th and a destroyed racecar from the second event. He'll be back at Sears Point to attempt to add to his 99 points.
Defending Sears Point race winner Hugh Plumb (Acura Integra R) sits fifth in points followed by the BMWs of Ken Dobson, Will Turner and Alfred duPont. Teammate Mike Fitzgerald is 10th in his Acura.
Lime Rock's doubleheader featured good runs from both David Leslie in the Mazda 626 and the ICY/SL Racing Mazda Proteges*both of which look to be faster beginning with the West Coast swing.
The Speedvision World Challenge Championships join the American Le Mans Series and the Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup for three-straight events beginning with Sears Point, followed by Portland International Raceway (August 3-5) and Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca (September 7-9).