Volume 1, No. 1 Dec. 17, 1999 Welcome to the first issue of the Speedvision World Challenge Newsfax, a weekly electronic update on the happenings in the Speedvision GT and Touring Car Championships -- the fastest growing road racing series ...
Volume 1, No. 1 Dec. 17, 1999
Welcome to the first issue of the Speedvision World Challenge Newsfax, a weekly electronic update on the happenings in the Speedvision GT and Touring Car Championships -- the fastest growing road racing series in North America. Leading into the 2000 season, watch this space for series announcements and updates on new and current World Challenge teams.
STANDING STARTS RETURN TO NORTH AMERICA: The Speedvision World Challenge has adopted a standing-start policy for 2000, bringing the practice to fans in the United States for the first time since the 1998 Toyota Atlantic Championship. Standing starts are the standard in many other parts of the world.
"Standing starts are some of the most exciting events in racing and they've been missed in the United States," said Mitch Wright, World Challenge General Manager. "From an operational standpoint, it's easier to officiate and should cut down on first-corner incidents."
BORIS SAID RETURNS WITH STEEDA: Two-time World Challenge race-winner and current NASCAR Winston Cup driver Boris Said III returns to the series with the latest creation from top Mustang-tuner Steeda Autosports.
Said, who plans a 12-race campaign in the Winston Cup series with Irvan-Simo Racing, expects to compete in all 10 Speedvision GT events. If there is a conflict, three-time defending BFGoodrich Tires Trans-Am Series runner-up Brian Simo will guest star in the seat.
Said and Steeda have hooked up in the past for three wins in the series now called the Motorola Cup -- the first professional victories for a stock Mustang.
The 2000 Steeda Mustang, dubbed the ST-460, will feature a 460 horsepower supercharged 4.6-liter SOHC V-8 with revised front and rear suspension. A limited number of custom-built race-ready street cars will be offered for sale.
"The World Challenge series showcases the parts we make for the public -- that's why we're here," said Dario Orlando, President of Steeda Autosports. "We've competed in the Motorola Cup before -- but those cars were stock. All the pieces on our World Challenge car are available in our catalog as bolt-on accessories."
Said has two career World Challenge victories, both in Mustangs, with the last coming in 1996 at Lime Rock Park.
"We're glad to be back with Boris -- the team just clicks together when he's driving," added Orlando.
STUTGART'S LATEST TO DEBUT IN 2000: Porsche's latest-generation 911, based on the 996 platform and dubbed the 911 GT3 Cup, will make its Speedvision GT debut in 2000 with Toad Hall Racing, Hikari Racing, Team Tech Motor Sports and Cambrian Motor Sports. This will be the first water-cooled 911 in the World Challenge, and boasts 370 horsepower out of its 3.6-liter flat-six.
RUNNER-UP KITCHAK RETURNS WITH A NEW RIDE: Toad Hall Motor Racing's lead car will again be the No. 3 Keewaydin Porsche of 1999 Speedvision GT runner-up Peter Kitchak. Kitchak took delivery of the 1999 911 GT3 Cup in early December, and looks to begin testing in early February. The car was campaigned by Bernd Maylander in the 1999 German Carrera Cup.
"If we can have the Germans duke it out with the big-bore American iron, it would be great. That makes good TV," said Kitchak. "I think we've got a tremendous amount of work to do, though. Since these cars raced in a spec series, they concentrated on making them the same and didn't worry about making it competitive against other cars. It's essentially a street car with a cage and air jacks.
"In doing what we're permitted to do in the rules, we will make the car much better, but it will still have less power, less wing and less power than last year. The plan is to get it to the speed of our old car, and then we know we'll be close. If it doesn't work out, it's not inconceivable to go out and buy an  RSR."
HIKARI RACING EXPANDING IN 2000: Hikari Racing has announced that its 2000 Speedvision World Challenge effort will include a new Porsche 911 GT3 Cup and also expand into the Touring Car Championship with three all-new Toyota Celica GTS entries.
Team principle David Schardt reported that the team has finalized a deal to bring a Porsche to the series, which he will drive. The team still has its Toyota Supra Turbo, which could also make Speedvision GT appearances throughout the season.
Kurt Buchwald has signed with the team to pilot one of the new Celicas, with one seat open for a sponsored driver and the third car utilized as a guest appearance entry.
BOVE TO MAKE ROOKIE RUN WITH TEAM TECH: New to World Challenge in 2000 will be Team Tech Motor Sports and driver Scott Bove. Bove has competed in nearly 50 races in two years of competition in Porsche Club, SCCA Club Racing and the USRRC, and hopes to be a threat for Rookie of the Year. Team Tech takes delivery of its 911 GT3 Cup December 20, and will immediately begin work converting the car campaigned by Pedro Couceiro in the 1999 Pirelli Porsche Supercup into Speedvision GT trim.
Bove owns Technifab -- which fabricates and manufacturers headrests and cockpit protection for Indy Racing League manufacturer G-Force. Over the past 10 years, he has competed in off-road trucks and SCCA Solo events, also occasionally getting behind the wheel to test NASCAR and Indy cars. Bove has worked with NASCAR Busch Series driver Mike Borkowski to hone his skills over the past two years, and believes he is ready to make an impact on the Speedvision GT Championship.
"I don't have a whole lot of expectations for our first season, but we think that a top-10 or top-five finish in the Championship and contending for the Rookie of the Year is pretty realistic. We also want to help give Porsche back-to-back Manufacturers' Championships," said Bove, 40. "There's a lot of stiff competition in the series, and I don't think any one car will be able to dominate. There's a lot of work to be done in developing the new 996s. It is down on power to the 993 RSR, but the handling should be better. Time will tell."
Bove also plans to run a 993 Cup car throughout the season with several guest drivers from the ranks of NASCAR and the IRL.
"The things that have been happening with World Challenge -- who wouldn 't want to be a part of it?" continued Bove. "I was looking at running a 993 in Grand-Am, but there are too many unknowns to raise sponsorship for it. I got to the point where I needed to make a commitment for 2000, and I decided to come and join the fun."