1998 was the second year for the Canada GT Challenge Cup. There were eleven one-hour races – one race at Mont-Tremblant, three at Shannonville Motorsports Park and the remainder taking place at Mosport International Raceway.

A wide range of vehicles were eligible for the series – FIA GT, Professional Sports Car GTS & GT, SCCA Improved Touring, GT1, GT2 & Trans Am and ASA Stock Car. The list of cars that were ineligible was much shorter – Sports Racers, Ground Effects Cars and Showroom Stock.

There were two classes (GT1 and GT2) based on qualifying and race lap times. If a GT2 driver 'broke-out' of the time bracket they would be moved to GT1.

Each of the races required competitors to make a one-minute pit-stop during green flag conditions. This made it possible for some teams to use two drivers without incurring the time disadvantage associated with a driver change. Over fifty different drivers took part in the 1998 season with events averaging approximately 30-entries. One of the rounds had a season high of 36-entries.

To attract competitors, there was a total event prize fund of over $50,000 and a year-end point’s bonus fund of $45,000 – split between the two classes.

The Canada GT Challenge Cup was the brainchild of Klaus Bytzek an inventor and patent holder of many auto parts. Through his successful business ventures, Bytzek was able to fund the series and owned two Porsche 911 GT1 EVOs. He won the series in 1997 using his Porsche 911 GT1 EVO Bytzek repeated this feat again in 1998 - with nine-wins and a second in eleven races.
The GT2 Chevrolet Camaro driven by Kirk Spencer gets sideways at Mosport’s corner-five. He had two GT2 class wins and four- second place finishes in 1998. Spencer won the GT2 championship by a mere 2-point margin over John Brenner. The title was not settled until the final event when Spencer finished second and Brenner was third.
Harry Bytzek leads his brother Klaus through corner two at Mosport. The brothers had many years of endurance racing experience often sharing driving duties - always in Porsches. The brothers won the 1973 Eastern Canadian Endurance Championship. Driving a Porsche 911 GT2 EVO Harry won a race at Mosport and finished second to his brother in the final GT1 standings.
John Brenner in the No. 81 Pontiac Firebird leads the Chevrolet Corvette of Barry Coons and Ray Arbesman in a Porsche 968. Brenner was able to score two GT2 victories during the 1998 season. In total he had eight podium finishes – four seconds and two thirds – leaving him a close second in the final standings.
In 1992 Chrysler entered the Trans Am series with cars prepared by the Archer Brothers. The Archers entered Dodge Daytonas in the 1992 and 1993 Trans Am seasons. The cars proved to be quite successful - winning two Trans Am races. One of the cars eventually found its way to TMI Racing and was driven by Brent Gates. Gates finished third in the final GT1 standings which could be attributed to numerous podium finishes.
Canadian racing veteran Ludwig Heimrath brought an impressive resume to the series. He had won many high profile races and was the 1961 and 1964 Canadian Driving Champion. He also won the 1977 Trans Am Championship. In the first year of the Canada GT Challenge, he scored five wins in eight races securing the GT2 title. In 1998 used his Porsche 968 to finish third in the final standings.
Former Super Kart competitor Sandy McNie made a big jump to a turbocharged BMW 320i. The GT1 class driver finished seventh in the final standings. His best finish during the season was a third at Shannonville.
This is the Datsun 240Z of long time Ontario regional competitor Ahmad Khodkar. Khodkar started the season with a GT2 class win and had a number of podium finishes. At the final race, he was bumped up to the GT1 class as he had broken out of the GT2 time bracket for the third time. He finished fourth in the final GT2 standings.
The yellow Porsche 911 GT1 was initially owned by Rohr Motorsport. Rohr was the first American team to take delivery of this model. It was driven by Andy Pilgrim in the Professional SportsCar Racing series. Ironically, this car made its racing debut at Mosport in 1997. The 630-horsepower car changed hands and was purchased by Porsche competitor Joel Reiser. Reiser finished eighth in the final GT1 standings.
This 1993 Volkswagen Corrado VR6 was shared by Gunter Schmidt and in selected races by Peter Carpenko. The car had a number of upgrades for 1998 - a new rollcage, independent rear suspension, larger brakes and a supercharger to give the car 300-horsepower. Schmidt’s best result was a fourth in the GT2 which he achieved four times. He finished fifth in the final standings while Carpenko was seventh.
The appeal of a healthy prize fund attracted SCCA World Challenge competitor Peter Schwartzott. Schwartzott entered his Honda Prelude as Shannonville. The car won the first professional race in America for Kumho Tires. He felt that the nature of the Shannonville course would allow him to be competitive against those drivers racing cars powered by V8 engines. Schwartzott started twenty-fifth and finishing twentieth.
Ian Phillips entered the Canada GT Challenge Cup with many years of racing experience. Phillips competed in SCCA World Challenge and Canada’s very popular Honda and GM series. In 1998, he raced a tube frame Mazda RX-7 and scored his best result at Shannonville. At that event he started at the back of the field and passed Harry Bytzek in the final corner on the last lap. Phillips finished ninth in the final standings.
Three of the top contenders for the GT2 title round Moss corner. The group is led by Paul Massingberg in a Chevrolet Corvette he is followed by the Camaro of Kirk Spencer and John Brenner in a Firebird. Massingberg had two GT2 class wins during the season. Despite these top finishes, he was sixth in the final standings as he did not enter all the events.
The Multimatic Ford Mustang Cobra GTS-1 made its first appearance mid-season. The car was prepared to compete in the United States Road Racing Championship. It was raced twice in the 1998 series – initially by Canadian actor Jason Priestly and then by Multimatic’s regular driver, Scott Maxwell. Maxwell won the race he entered while Priestly was a DNF after crashing while in the lead.
Corner one at Mosport and the start of the late August event. Scott Maxwell jumps into a lead that he would never relinquish. He is followed by Brent Gates in the Dodge Daytona, Klaus Bytzek in the Porsche 911 GT1 EVO and the Trans Am Camaro of Jerry Simmons driven by John Restemeyer.


Copyright Notice:
All content (photographs and text) appearing on this website are the exclusive property of © www.zoompics.com and are protected under International copyright laws. The subject matter on this website may not be reproduced, copied, stored or manipulated.

© Copyright 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016

Return to home page.