Weekly neds 2000-07-14

The Speedvision World Challenge Championships continue their record-setting 2000 season with the biggest entry in series history for the July 21-23 Grand Prix of Sonoma Weekend at Sears Point Raceway. A total of 88 cars (49 Speedvision...

The Speedvision World Challenge Championships continue their record-setting 2000 season with the biggest entry in series history for the July 21-23 Grand Prix of Sonoma Weekend at Sears Point Raceway. A total of 88 cars (49 Speedvision GT, 39 Speedvision Touring Car) are slated to take to the track beginning Friday Morning at 8:40 a.m. (Pacific). "We've got several new cars appearing for the first time this season at Sears Point, and while they may not factor into the season-long points championship, they could very well be a factor on the weekend's results," said Mitch Wright, Speedvision World Challenge General Manager.

Tomy Drissi, 1999 Trans-Am "Rookie of the Year," will make his debut in the Speedvision World Challenge GT Championship series at Sears Point Raceway during the Sonoma Grand Prix weekend on July 22-23. Drissi, who formed his own Trans-Am team for the 2000 racing season, will drive the No. 90 Drissi Advertising/Hikari Racing Toyota Supra Turbo fielded by Hikari Racing based in Dayton, Ohio. Drissi, who scored his first Trans-Am career win in the Johnson Controls 100 during the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach weekend, has competed once previously at Sears Point in a vintage race. "We've got a six-week hiatus in the BFGoodrich Tires Trans-Am Series but I'm always ready for an opportunity to race," explained Drissi who is currently fifth in the Drivers' Championship standings. "I'd rather stay sharp and focused, even if it means driving a different car in a different series, than just not race at all for such a long time. "Besides, I heard that G.J. Mennen was going to run in this race," grinned Drissi who beat out Mennen for the "Rookie of the Year" honors last season. "G.J. and I raced each other hard and often last year in the battle for the "Rookie of the Year" title. He's a good competitor and a great guy. I just couldn't resist taking advantage of the opportunity for us to race together again as rookies. "I'm looking forward to returning to Sears Point," said Drissi who has two top-five Trans-Am finishes in addition to his Long Beach win. "It's a challenging track and will certainly command the utmost of both the car and driver. And with the great competition in the Speedvision GT series, I don't expect this race to be any less demanding than a Trans-Am race." The Toyota Supra Turbo to be driven by Drissi has a legacy of success as well. Driven by Dave Schardt in 1999, the car was piloted to three podium finishes and eight top-ten finishes en route to Schardt's fourth place in the Speedvision GT final championship points standings. Mennen will again pilot the No. 04 Grand Sport Speedway/Haulmark Trailers Chevrolet Corvette C5, which saw his debut at Lime Rock.

World Challenge veterans James and Brad Sofronas of Greek Brothers Racing will each campaign a BMW M3 for the remainder of the Speedvision GT season, beginning with the Grand Prix of Sonoma. James, 31, will drive the No. 11 SSF Motorsports/Ego Magazine entry -- a former factory European Group A car he acquired early this year. Sofronas has competed in select World Challenge races each year since 1994, recording a best finish of sixth in Touring at Laguna Seca last year. "I ran with Peppaseed Racing in Speedvision Touring earlier this year to get re-acclimated with World Challenge while the details were finalized on the new car," said James Sofronas. "We're excited about the running the remainder of the season with our M3s, and plan to be running up front beginning with this coming weekend at Sears Point. "My brother Brad and I have been racing in the World Challenge Series since 1994, when we started with the Oldsmobiles, and we have always felt this to be the best sports car racing series around," he added. "I have competed every year since 1994, with cars ranging from Oldsmobiles and Hondas to BMW M3s and M5s. I just can't get enough of it!" Brother Brad Sofronas, 35, will drive the supercharged No. 15 SSF Motorsports/Ground Control/Greek Brothers Racing BMW M3 SC. In 10 starts, he has a best finish of fifth (Lime Rock Park, 1995). "James and I had discussed racing in the GT class over the winter of 1999," said Brad Sofronas. "I am very excited to be back with my teammate and brother in the best and most competitive racing series. We will definitely have our work cut out for us. A small team with tremendous potential."

The Porsche 911 GT3 Cup has received some rules help in an effort to bring the car up to a competitive plane in the Speedvision GT Championship. In a June 29 Technical Bulletin, the series announced that the 996-based car would be permitted to raise their rear wings a total of 250mm vertically. "The new Porsche needs two things -- bigger rear tires and more rear wing," said Scott Bove, driver of the No. 22 Valvoline/ Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. "While we'd rather have the GT3 R [ALMS and Grand-Am] wing, anything we get is help. Is it a huge help? We'll see. Sears Point isn't a place where you're really going to see a big difference because the problems lie in high-speed stability. "Regardless of how much it helps [mechanically], a bigger rear wing gives a driver more confidence in the car." Other technical changes heading into Sears Point include an optional final drive ratio for the Corvette C5 (3.73:1) and an additional 100 lbs. of weight on Dodge Vipers running the high, banana-shaped rear wing.

Defending Speedvision GT Champion Bobby Archer has signed Carrier Management Systems, Inc. as an associate sponsor on his No. 32 IQuest Motorsports/Viper Speed Dodge Viper GTS. Carrier Management Systems, Inc. is a Texas-based software company that has been producing and selling telecommunications-based network management software for 12 years. With over 350 installations throughout North and South America, Western Europe, and the Caribbean, CMSI is a leader in the Network Management and OSS software sector. "We're very excited about our association with Viper Speed and hope to leverage it into a larger sponsorship with customer involvement in the near future," said Paul Bilberry, President & CEO of CMSI. In addition to running CMSI, Bilberry is an avid amateur racer and enjoys driving his own Viper. "I'm very happy to be exposing a progressive Texas-based company to the exciting Speedvision family. Sears Point has been a great race track for me in the past and we're looking forward to another winning weekend with Carrier Management Systems on board," said Archer.

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Series PWC
Drivers Tomy Drissi , G.J. Mennen , Bobby Archer , James Sofronas