The 2000 World Challenge series proved very successful. Some of the new changes for that season included:

  • The two classes – World Challenge GT and World Challenge Touring – competing in separate 50-minute races.
  • Standing starts.
  • Spec rear wings and more aerodynamic bodywork.

These factors helped attract larger fields – the series was averaging over 70-cars per event between the two classes. As a result, there were very few changes for the 2001 season. Some highlights included larger purses due to additional sponsors and a new spec-tire from Toyo.

The 10-race season began in Fort Worth, Texas at Texas Motor Speedway and ended with a double header at Road Atlanta.

Round two was at Sebring International Racing as part of the 12 Hours of Sebring weekend. Thirty World Challenge GT cars would compete in a 50-minute race around the 3.74-mile 17-turn road course.

Late Friday afternoon and thirty World Challenge GT competitors funnel into Sebring’s very quick turn one. P.D. Cunningham made a good start in the Acura NSX and was closely followed by the Audi S4 of Michael Galati and, 2000 series champion, Jeff McMillin driving a BMW M3.
Johannes van Overbeek earned the pole driving the No. 81 Porsche 911 Cup. He fell back to tenth place on the first lap when he made a bad start - the result of missing a shift from first to second. However, with some hard driving, he worked his way back to a third place finish and earned the Borla Performance Award.
Peter Cunningham driving a supercharged Acura NSX qualified second and led the first two laps of the event before the Audi S4 of Michael Galati passed him. With two laps to go, he retook the lead using a daring outside pass at turn seventeen. For the leader of RealTime Racing, it was his twentieth career victory in World Challenge competition which broke the tie for most series wins with Lou Gigliotti.
Jeff McMillin won the 2000 World Challenge GT Champion and opened the 2001 season with fifth place at Texas Motor Speedway. At round two he started sixth in his BMW M3 and ran third for much of the race. He was passed by Mike Fitzgerald and Johannes van Overbeek on lap-15. At that the checker he finished fifth which put him fourth in the Driver's Championship.
The No. 38 Peterson Motorsports Porsche 911 Cup was driven by Mike Fitzgerald. He started and finished in fourth. Combined with his fourth place finish at the season opener, in Texas, Fitzgerald left Sebring with a third place in the Driver’s standings.
Series 'Rookie' John Young drove the No. 44 Saleen SR. Saleen, an American manufacturer of specialty high-performance cars, introduced the SR in 2000 after successfully modifying Ford Mustangs. The car was powered by a 5.8-liter V8 Ford which produced approximately 525-horsepower. Young started fifteenth and moved up the order to finished tenth.
During practice Daniel Eastman went wide at the Tower Turn – he continued without any serious consequences. Driving a Porsche RSR Eastman started nineteenth and finished eleventh.
G.J. Mennen was scheduled to race the No. 08 Chevrolet Corvette. He was also entered in the Trans Am event with Victoria Motorsports. During the Trans Am race, he made hard contact with the turn-14 wall and decided not to compete in the World Challenge race. His seat was filled by, series veteran, Paul Brown who had never driven the car or raced at Sebring. Brown started thirtieth and finished fifteenth.
Michael Galati started the Champion Racing Audi S4 Competition from the third position. He turned the fastest race lap (2:22.359) and led laps three through sixteen. However, Peter Cunningham passed him with two laps remaining in the race - leaving Galati just 0.381-seconds shy of first place.
The No. 01 Pirate Chevrolet Corvette C5 was driven by Bill Cooper. Cooper started fifth but mechanical problems after eleven laps forced him to retire. He was classified in twenty-seventh position.
The 2001 World Challenge GT podium at Sebring. On the left is second place finisher Michael Galati and at the right Johannes van Overbeek, who captured third. Between these two is the winner Peter Cunningham. The weekend was a World Challenge 'clean-sweep' for RealTime Racing as Pierre Kleinubing won the Touring Car class.

FINISHSTARTDRIVERCARLAPSRETIREMENTS
12Peter CunninghamAcura NSX18-
23Michael GalatiAudi S4 Competition18-
31Johannes van OverbeekPorsche 911 Cup18-
44Mike FitzgeraldPorsche 911 Cup18-
56Jeff McMillinBMW M318-
612Scott BovePorsche 911 Cup18-
79Jimmy AdamsPorsche 911 Cup18-
817Bob MillerPorsche 911 Cup18-
910Justin MarksPorsche 911 Cup18-
1015John YoungSaleen SR18-
1119Daniel EastmanPorsche RSR18-
1211Justin JacksonPorsche 911 Cup18-
138Phil McClureChevrolet Corvette C518-
1421Thomas Safar IISaleen SR17-
1530Paul BrownChevrolet Corvette C517-
1624David FarmerChevrolet Corvette C517-
1718Freddy BakerAudi S4 Competition17-
1816Jack LewisPorsche 911 Cup17-
1926James SofronasBMW M317-
2022Michael CulverBMW M317-
2114Keith AlexanderPorsche 911 Cup17-
2225Mark DixonPontiac Firebird17-
2329Joe BlackerAudi S417Mechanical
247Derek BellAudi S4 Competition17-
2523Walter SwickBMW M317-
2631Carol HollfelderFerrari F355 Challenge17-
275Bill CooperChevrolet Corvette11Mechanical
2813Boris SaidFord Mustang6Mechanical
2928Joe SulenticFord Mustang4Accident
3020Bobby SakChevrolet Corvette C54Mechanical


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