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 for changes for the 2001 season. Some highlights included larger purses due to additional sponsors and a new spec-tire from Toyo.

The ten-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. Twenty-eight World Challenge Touring cars would compete in a 50-minute race around the 3.74-mile seventeen-turn road course.

2000 World Challenge Touring Car Champion Pierre Kleinubing just missed making the podium at the season opener in Texas. But at Sebring, he redeemed himself by capturing the pole and victory. The Acura Integra Type R driver dropped behind Will Turner at the start but was able to pass him on the tenth lap. This was Kleinubing’s eleventh win in five years of World Challenge competition.
DuPont Motorsports entered two BMW 328is – one for team Principal Alfred duPont and another for 2000 'Rookie of the Year' Neal Sapp. The two opened the season with podium finishes – second for Sapp and duPont in third. At Sebring Sapp qualified the No. 55 BMW fourth. Unfortunately, he retired after fifteen laps with engine problems.
Will Turner made a great start from second place and led nine of the seventeen laps. The BMW 328is driver hounded eventual race leader Pierre Kleinubing until the end but could not retake the first position and finished just 0.815-seconds behind Kleinubing.
Steve Pfeffer drove the McMillin Motorsports BMW 328is to a convincing win over pole-sitter Neal Sapp at the season opening race at Texas Motor Speedway. At Sebring he was again battling with Sapp until the duPont Motorsports driver encountered engine problems. With the retirement of Sapp, he was able to cruise to a third place finish and maintain the points lead in the Drivers’ Championship.
TriPoint Engineering entered two Mazda Proteges at Sebring. Shauna Marinus qualified twenty-third and finished twentieth. The No. 40 entry driven by Paul Bonaccorsi fared slightly better earning a fourteenth place finish after starting sixteenth.
In 2001, Mirko Racing entered a Mazda 626 for British Touring Car veteran David Leslie. The Scotsman had competed for thirteen seasons scoring nine wins before leaving the British series to join the World Challenge championship. At Sebring, he started and finished seventh. For his drive, Leslie earned the Borla Performance Award after a race long battle with the BMW of Terry McCarthy.
Drew Hagestad qualified fifteenth in his Volkswagen Jetta. Problems during the race relegated him to a twenty-first finish - the first car a lap down to the leader.
Mike Fitzgerald was part of the five-car effort entered by the RealTime Racing Team. He had contested the 2000 season in a TC Kline prepared BMW. Here he locks up the rear brakes entering Sunset Bend. Fitzgerald qualified fourteenth and finished ninth in the Acura Integra Type R.
In 2001, Ken Dobson replaced his quick Pontiac Sunfire GT with a new BMW 328Ci. At Sebring, he qualified eighteenth and finished thirteenth.
The World Challenge Touring Car podium at Sebring. On the left is second place finisher Will Turner and at the right Steve Pfeffer who captured third. Between these two is the winner Pierre Kleinubing. The weekend was a World Challenge 'clean-sweep' for RealTime Racing as Peter Cunningham won the GT category.

FINISHSTARTDRIVERCARLAPSRETIREMENTS
11Pierre KleinubingAcura Integra Type R17-
22Will TurnerBMW 328is17-
33Steve PfefferBMW 328is17-
46Hugh PlumbAcura Integra Type R17-
58Don SalamaBMW 32517-
65Alfred duPontBMW 325is17-
77David LeslieMazda 62617-
810Terry McCarthyBMW 328is17-
914Mike FitzgeraldAcura Integra Type R17-
109Jeff AltenburgAcura Integra Type R17-
1113Roger FooHonda Civic Si17-
1212Rob HinesBMW 328is17-
1318Ken DobsonBMW 328Ci17-
1420Paul BonaccorsiMazda Protege17-
1517Carlos SteyerAcura Integra Type R17-
1622Mike BuzzettiAcura Integra Type R17-
1719Ken PaysonBMW 328i17-
1821Walter Markes Jr.BMW 328i17-
1914David WallBMW 328i17-
2025Shauna MarinusMazda Protege17-
2118Drew HagestadVW Jetta16-
2212Stephane TrahanVW Jetta16-
2333Neal SappBMW 325is15Mechanical
2426Grant LockwoodHonda Prelude10Fuel Pump
2524Taz HarveyAcura Integra Type R7Mechanical
2627Robert MummMercury Cougar7Mechanical
2728Hugh StewartVW Jetta6Mechanical
2830Kevin SchrantzMazda 6262Mechanical


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.