Speedvision World Challenge news 2001-02-23

SOFRONAS, CULVER IN TC KLINE RACING M3S: TC Kline Racing has named Michael Culver and James Sofronas drivers of the team's No. 12 and 21 BMW M3s for the 2001 SCCA Pro Racing Speedvision GT Championship. Sofronas joins the team after...

SOFRONAS, CULVER IN TC KLINE RACING M3S: TC Kline Racing has named Michael Culver and James Sofronas drivers of the team's No. 12 and 21 BMW M3s for the 2001 SCCA Pro Racing Speedvision GT Championship. Sofronas joins the team after running sporadic World Challenge races since 1994, earning five top-10 finishes in 19 starts through the end of the 2000 season. The majority of Sofronas' starts have come in Oldsmobile products, but the Newport Beach, Calif. resident has also competed in a BMW M5, M3 and 328is. "Since competing in my first race in World Challenge back in 1994, I have been looking for an opportunity to drive for a first rate team in a top level car," said Sofronas, who will pilot the No. 21 SSF Imported Auto Parts/TC Kline Racing entry. "I have finally gotten the chance to do so with TC Kline Racing and I owe it all to Hans Kopecky, the President of SSF Motorsports. We have built a strong relationship over the last two and a half years doing a lot of racing together in both World Challenge and BMW Club Racing. It was a natural progression for SSF to sponsor a front-running BMW team like TC Kline Racing, since SSF is getting more and more into high end performance parts for BMW as well as Porsche." South San Francisco Imported Auto Parts, Inc. is a leading wholesale supplier for European replacement and performance auto parts. Known to its 10,000 customers nationwide as SSF, it offers a complete product line for Porsche, BMW, Audi and Mercedes. SSF's five locations and 25 years experience provide unmatched service to automotive shops, tuners and race teams. Driving the No. 12 BMW M3 will be Michael Culver, of Westport, Conn. Culver has been successful in endurance street stock competition, winning the 1998 Speedvision Cup Sports Division Championship with co-driver Mike Fitzgerald, and finishing third the last two seasons in the Motorola Cup series. TC Kline Racing, which contested the 2000 Speedvision Touring Car Championship with drivers Neal Sapp (one win, Rookie of the Year, series runner-up), Mike Fitzgerald (one win) and Shauna Marinus, has converted two of its 328Ci E46-bodied racers into M3s for 2001. The team will be the only in Speedvision GT running the new body style in M3 trim. "We've decided to move to GT with the M3, but will be taking a slightly different approach," said Kline. "This season, we'll be running a stock, production-based E46 M3 drivetrain, as opposed to spending a lot of money on engine development and aftermarket transmissions. In addition to the budget saved, doing this permits our cars to run at a lower weight, which we feel may be advantageous with the new tires."

VORTRAG MOTORSPORTS TO RUN SCCA CHAMPION HINES IN TOURING CAR AUDI: Vortrag Motorsports has announced a three-car Speedvision World Challenge effort for 2001, with 1999 SCCA Club Racing Valvoline Runoffs Touring 2 Champion Rob Hines joining fellow Club Racing veterans Paul Lambert and Joe Blacker. Hines, of Arlington, Va., will pilot the No. 78 Vortrag Motorsports/TeleStrategies Audi A4 Quattro, part of the new three-car Audi stable. Hines has been a front-runner in the SCCA Club Racing Touring 2 class driving a Camaro the past several seasons, which included the 1999 National Championship and a runner-up finish in 2000. "I am excited about joining forces with TeleStrategies and Vortrag Motorsports for the upcoming year because I believe that the team has all of the elements to field a competitive effort in the Speedvision World Challenge Touring series," said Hines. "For me, Speedvision World Challenge is the next step in my racing career and by producing solid, consistent results in each race, I hope to be in contention for Rookie of the Year and possibly even the Championship itself." Lambert, of Los Gatos, Calif., who also competed in the SCCA Club Racing Touring 2 class in 2000 and won the NASA Endurance series, will pilot the teams other Touring Car, the No. 77 Vortrag Motorsports/CES Audi A4 Quattro. A veteran of formula, sports racing and vintage car racing, Blacker will embark on his rookie season in the team's Audi S4 Speedvision GT car. "I feel the new S4 quattro with the Motec M8 system on board will make a competitive package," said Blacker, of Columbia, Md. "Vortrag Motorsports has years of experience in Audi tuning and with the knowledge I have gained from working with Formula cars and from Steve Cole of Cole Performance, we should be able to go quick, right out of the box."

RED LINE, EIBACH RENEW CONTINGENCIES, B&M NEW FOR 2001: The SCCA Pro Racing Speedvision World Challenge Championships have announced three more contingency sponsors for the 2001 season. Returning this year are Red Line Synthetic Oil, maker of quality automotive lubricants, and Eibach Springs, constructor of world renowned automotive suspension products. New to the series in 2001 is B&M Racing & Performance Products, providing the ultimate in control for today's most sophisticated manual gearboxes. "Contingency sponsorship is the basis of any successful series," said Dave Delaney, Director of Sales for the Speedvision World Challenge Championships. "I would like to thank returning sponsors Eibach Springs & Red Line Synthetic Oil and welcome B&M Racing & Performance Products to the Speedvision World Challenge." Red Line will award the top finishing eligible participant in each class one case of Red Line Synthetic Oil. An additional end of the year award of $2,000 will be presented to the top participating driver in each class. Eibach Springs will award a $100 coupon, redeemable at any distributor or direct with Eibach Springs, payable to the highest eligible finisher in both the GT and Touring Car classes. A $200 coupon will be awarded to the top year-end driver in each class. B&M Racing & Performance Products will present $100 in cash to the highest B&M Racing & Performance Products finisher in both the GT and Touring Car Series. A $1,000 bonus will be given to the top participating driver in each class at season's end.

- Eric Prill

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Series PWC
Drivers Paul Lambert , Joe Blacker , James Sofronas