In 2001, the Sports Car Club of America’s (SCCA) World Challenge Championship was in its twelfth season. For the third year,
Speedvision was the primary sponsor. SCCA had developed a successful format that attracted competitors and fans.
A couple changes of note for this year:
Race weekends included two standing start races (limited to fifty-minutes) – one for the Grand Touring class and another for the Touring Cars.
To prevent any driver/car combination from dominating the class and ensuring tight competition, the R.E.W.A.R.D.S. System was implemented. Introduced in 1995, R.E.W.A.R.D.S. is the acronym for ‘Rewarding of Equalizing Weight Assigned to Reduce Driver Sensitivity.' This weight equalization rule adds or removes ballast from a car based on the finishing position of a driver.
There were eight-race weekends during the 2001 season. The opening rounds were in March at Texas Motor Speedway and Sebring, Florida. Teams weren’t back in action until May at Mosport International Raceway and Lime Rock Park. Lime Rock would be a doubleheader for the Touring Cars. The next event would be at Detroit’s Belle Isle which was just for the Grand Touring category. The championship would move to the west coast with races at Sears Point Raceway, Portland International Raceway and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The final weekend was at Road Atlanta. The schedule initially included a round at Charlotte Motor Speedway but when that venue was cancelled Road Atlanta became a doubleheader weekend.
Round three of the 2001 Speedvision World Challenge Series was held at Mosport International Raceway. Twenty-two Grand Touring drivers started the fifty-minute race around the ten-turn 2.459-mile road course.
|The pole-sitter, Peter Cunningham leads the field of twenty-two starters into Mosport International Raceway’s corner one. Jumping into second place is the Porsche of the other front row starter, Mike Fitzgerald. About to slot in behind, Fitzgerald is the defending series champion and fourth place qualifier, Jeff McMillin. Beside McMillin is the Audi of Derek Bell who was gridded sixth for the start.|
|In 2000, Peter Cunningham competed in a BMW M3 - this year, he was behind the wheel of an Acura NSX. It appeared to be a good choice as Cunningham had scored a first and second place finish in the opening rounds. Although he was outgunned by the Porsche of Mike Fitzgerald in practice, Cunningham demonstrated the Acura’s speed in qualifying. Starting from the pole, he led every lap to win by a margin of 1.498-seconds.|
|In the first two rounds of the season, Mike Fitzgerald competed in a Porsche prepared by Petersen Motorsports. However, the Petersen team wasn’t prepared to travel to Canada. As a result, Fitzgerald made alternative arrangements which saw him compete in David Schardt’ Porsche. He started on the outside of the front row and chased the eventual winner, Peter Cunningham for fifty-minutes to finish in the runner-up spot.|
|Entering Mosport, Michael Galati driving the Champion Audi S4 Competition was tied at the top of the standings with Peter Cunningham. He had a victory at Texas and a runner-up finish at Sebring. In practice, Galati was third quickest and could not do any better in qualifying. He had a poor start and completed the first lap in seventh place. The charge was on and by lap-ten, Galati was in third – his finishing position.|
|Johannes van Overbeek returned to the World Challenge series after a three-year absence. Originally, he drove a BMW in the Touring 2 category. In 2001, van Overbeek was driving the No. 81 Porsche 911 Cup. The opening round of the season did not go well for him but at Sebring, he qualified first and finished third. At Mosport, van Overbeek started fifth and was a beneficiary of the McMillin/Galati incident and finished fourth.|
|The defending series champion, Jeff McMillin was having a good start to the season. He was fourth in the standings as the result of fifth-place finishes at Texas and Sebring. On the way to his 2000 title, McMillin didn’t win a race but never finish outside the top-ten. He started fourth at Mosport and was in third place when the race’s first caution occurred. On the restart, he was hit by Michael Galati and pitted which resulted in a fourteenth-place finish.|
|Another driver benefiting from the restart incident between Jeff McMillin and Michael Galati was Jimmy Adams. Adams was gridded ninth for the start of the fifty-minute contest in the Motor Coach Industries sponsored Porsche 911 Cup. During the race, he found himself in a five-way battle with Johannes van Overbeek, Justin Jackson, Bobby Archer and Phil McClure. At the checkered flag, Adams was in fifth place – his best finish to date.|
|Rookie Bob Miller drove the No. 23 Porsche 911 Cup with backing from Rogaine. Miller was fifth in the title chase as the result of two top-ten finishes (sixth at Texas and eighth at Sebring). In practice at Mosport, he recorded the thirteen fastest time and dropped to fifteenth in qualifying. On the first lap, Miller spun and fell to last place. He moved through the field and finished ninth to earn the Borla Performance Award.|
|1||1||Peter Cunningham||Acura NSX||29||-|
|2||2||Mike Fitzgerald||Porsche 911 Cup||29||-|
|3||3||Michael Galati||Audi S4 Competition||29||-|
|4||5||Johannes van Overbeek||Porsche 911 Cup||29||-|
|5||9||Jimmy Adams||Porsche 911 Cup||29||-|
|6||11||Justin Jackson||Porsche 911 Cup||29||-|
|7||7||Bobby Archer||Chevrolet Corvette C5||29||-|
|8||8||Phil McClure||Chevrolet Corvette C5||29||-|
|9||15||Bob Miller||Porsche 911 Cup||29||-|
|10||10||Bobby Sak||Chevrolet Corvette C5||29||-|
|11||12||Tim Wiens||Porsche 911 Cup||29||-|
|12||16||David Farmer||Chevrolet Corvette C5||17||-|
|13||17||Mark Anderson||Porsche 928||29||-|
|14||4||Jeff McMillin||BMW M3||29||-|
|15||14||Greg Merril||Porsche 911 Cup||29||-|
|16||24||Justin Marks||BMW M Coupe||29||-|
|17||19||Tony Renna||BMW M3||28||-|
|18||13||Lou Gigliotti||Ford Mustang||27||-|
|19||18||Walter Swick||BMW M3||11||Mechanical|
|20||21||Joe Blacker||Audi S4||9||Mechanical|
|21||6||Derek Bell||Audi S4 Competition||3||Accident|
|22||20||Thomas Safar||Saleen SR||2||Fire|
|23||23||James Sofronas||BMW M3||0||Did Not Start|
|24||22||Anders Hainer||Porsche 911 Cup||0||Did Not Start|
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