In 1998, the United States Road Racing Championship (USRRC) was formed as an alternative to the IMSA series – Professional Sports Car Racing (PSCR). The 1998 USRRC edition consisted of five rounds – Daytona, Homestead, Mid-Ohio, Minneapolis and Watkins Glen – ranging in length from 1.5-hours to 24-hours. The series had four classes which paralleled those of the PSCR series:

  • Can Am – open-cockpit, two-seat, prototypes with limits on different engine configurations
  • GT1 – production-based cars using a tube-frame or unibody chassis with turbocharged and large displacement engines
  • GT2 – production-based unibody cars with smaller engines
  • GT3 – production-based cars with a tube-frame or unibody chassis and the smallest displacement engines

The U.S. Road Racing Classic was the third round of the United States Road Racing Championship. The last time a professional sports car series had competed at Mid-Ohio was 1993. The Mid-Ohio event was 2.5-hours long. It was believed that this distance would allow the GT1s to be competitive with the Can Am cars as they would require one less pit stop. Can Am cars could run for 45-minutes between stops and the GT1 would go 55-minutes.

The United States Road Racing Championship event was promoted as a fight between the Can Am and GT1 class. Unfortunately, that scenario never played out as the two quickest cars in the field were the Dyson Riley & Scott Mk IIIs of Dyson Racing. Qualifying on the pole was the No. 16 of James Weaver and Butch Leitzinger. They dropped to second in class and overall with clutch issues.
The second Dyson car was piloted by Elliott Forbes-Robinson and Dorsey Schroeder. Schroeder qualified the car second in the Can Am class and overall. Forbes-Robinson followed Leitzinger for the first stint but clutch troubles caused the No. 16 car to stall when leaving the pits. This allowed the duo of Forbes-Robinson and Schroeder to take the lead and win by 15.17-seconds.
Quickest of the GT1 cars were the two Panoz GTRs entered by Panoz-Visteon Racing. The team had raced the previous weekend at Le Mans with the trio of Brabham, Wallace and Davies finishing seventh overall. David Brabham would be paired with Andy Wallace for Mid-Ohio. They finished first in GT1 and third overall. Their teammates Raul Boesel and Eric Bernard finished 2-laps behind them in second.
Former IMSA Camel Lights champion, Scott Schubot shared this Riley & Scott with Henry Camferdam. Schubot qualified the Transatlantic Racing prepared car third in the Can Am class and fifth overall. The team ran a consistent race and at the conclusion of the event matched their qualifying results.
Jim Matthews entered two Riley & Scott Mk IIIs powered by Ford engines. Matthews shared the driving duties with Barry Waddell. The second car, No. 39, was raced by Tom Kendall and David Murry. The team did not qualify well but made good progress in the race until lap-35 when Matthews retired with transmission problems. On lap-59 Kendall also retired with terminal a gearbox issue.
The No. 10 BMW M3 was driven by Boris Said and Bill Auberlen. This pairing ruled GT3 at Mid-Ohio – qualifying first in class, less than 0.5-seconds behind the quickest GT2 car. The finished ninth overall and beat the GT2 winner. This was a difficult race for Said as he was still recovering from a 160-mph accident at the NASCAR Truck race the previous weekend in Texas.
The Molser Raptor was driven by Shane Lewis and Vic Rice. Warren Molser began manufacturing cars in 1985 – starting with the Consulier GTP and then the Intruder. The Raptor, powered by a Chevrolet engine, was a modified Intruder - the most notable difference was the v-shaped windshield which reduced drag. Unfortunately, the car was the first to retire with a multitude of problems.
There were only three GT2 entries at Mid-Ohio – the No. 99 Schumacher Racing Porsche 911 GT2, Mazda RX-7 Turbo of Pettit Racing and Team Protosport Porsche 911 Carrera RSR. The Schumacher Porsche, driven by Andy Pilgrim and Larry Schumacher, dominated the class – they qualified 12-seconds quicker than the competition and took the GT2 victory.
The Oldsmobile Aurora entered by Robinson Racing started the race twelfth overall and fourth in GT1. The car was shared by team owner George Robinson and Jack Baldwin. They completed 104-laps finishing eighth overall and fourth in GT1. They were not as competitive as the other GT1s. The Panoz and Porsche in their class were built to FIA specs. which allowed ABS and carbon fibre brakes. The tube-frame Oldsmobile used less sophisticated technology.
Champion Motors entered a Porsche 911 GT1 EVO. This car was fitted with a 3.2-litre flat 6-cylinder DOHC twin turbocharged engine. Driving this entry was Bob Wollek and Thierry Boutsen – both drivers had competed at Le Mans the previous weekend. They were not as quick as the Panoz and qualified and finished third in GT1. Boutsen won the 1998 USRRC GT1 Driver's Championship and the team won the GT1 title.
The No. 88 was the only Ferrari entered in the event. The former Scandia 333 SP was raced by Mike Davies and Bill Dollahite. Davies qualified tenth overall and seventh in the Can Am class. The car began smoking and during the pit- stop it was discovered that the it was leaking oil. The car was taken back to the paddock for repairs and returned to finish eighth in the Can Am class.
Tom Milner’s Prototype Technology Group entered two BMW M3s in the GT3 class. The second car was shared by Mark Simo and Canadian Ross Bentley. They “played second fiddle” to their teammates, Auberlen and Said, qualifying third and finishing second in class.
The Panoz Ford GTR-1 was designed and built by Reynard. This carbon fibre chassis was powered by a 6-litre Roush-prepared Ford V8. The motor was mounted in the front but the design allowed it to obtain the benefits of a mid-engined car. In USSRC, the Panoz team fought with Porsche in the GT1 class honours. Panoz won three of the five events during the season but lost the Manufacturers Championship to Porsche by a mere three points.
The Riley & Scott Mk III had a very successful debut in 1995 – winning overall five times. In 1996, this model won the Drivers’ (Wayne Taylor) and Manufacturers’ title. Again in 1997, the car won the Manufacturers Championship and Drivers title (Butch Leitzinger). The early cars were powered by either an Oldsmobile Aurora or Ford engine. However, the most successful Riley & Scott Mk III team was Dyson Racing which used the Ford engine.

POS.CLASSDRIVERSCARENTRANTLAPSRETIREMENTS
1CAForbes-Robinson / SchroederRiley & Scott Mk IIIDyson Racing111-
2CALeitzinger / WeaverRiley & Scott Mk IIIDyson Racing111-
3GT1Wallace / BrabhamPanoz GTR-1Panoz-Visteon Racing111-
4GT1Boesel / BernardPanoz GTR-1Panoz-Visteon Racing109-
5CASchubot / CamferdamRiley & Scott Mk IIITransatlantic Racing107-
6GT1Boutsen / WollekPorsche 911 GT1 EvoChampion Motors106-
7CAField / MirroRiley & Scott Mk IIIIntersport Racing105-
8GT1Robinson / BaldwinOldsmobile AuroraRobinson Racing104-
9GT3Auberlen / SaidBMW M3PTG100-
10GT2Schumacher / PilgrimPorsche 911 GT2Schumacher Racing100-
11GT3Bentley / SimoBMW M3Prototype Technology Group100-
12CADowning / BayliffKudzu DLM-4Downing/Atlanta99-
13GT3Wagner / HavensPorsche 911 CarreraAlex Job Racing99-
14GT3Law / MarshallPorsche 911 CarreraG & W Motorsports98-
15GT3Marshall / FitzgeraldPorsche 911 CarreraG & W Motorsports96-
16GT2Worth / SansoneMazda RX-7Pettit Racing94-
17GT3Kitch / White / PetersenPorsche 911 CarreraAlex Job Racing93-
18GT2Stitt / RussellPorsche 911 CarreraTeam Protosport GT92-
19GT3Collin / EzellPorsche 911Fabcar/Perfect Power83-
20CABrown / MartinSpice HC94Brown Racing72-
21CASchroeder / VolkKudzu DL-4TRV Motorsport70-
22GT3Fahlgren / GreerMazda RX-7Swedish Car Specialist68-
23CADavies / DollahiteFerrari 333 SPDollahite Racing65-
24CAKendall / MurryRiley & Scott Mk IIIColucci/Matthews Racing59Transmission
25CAMatthews / WaddellRiley & Scott Mk IIIColucci/Matthews Racing35Transmission
26GT1Lewis / RiceMosler RaptorMosler Automotive22Mechanical


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