In 2005, the World Challenge series entered its sixteenth season.
The championship’s successful relationship with Speed Channel was now in its seventh year.
Race weekends included two standing start fifty-minute races – 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 eleven-race weekends during the 2005 season – the longest in series history. The opening round was in March at Sebring International Raceway, followed by a second event in Florida at Saint Petersburg. The series then moves north to Georgia for a race weekend at Road Atlanta. Rounds four, five and six are conducted in the Northeast with races at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Cleveland’s Burke Lakefront Airport and Lime Rock Park in Connecticut. In July, the championship takes a trip to the West Coast for an event Infineon Raceway. Competitors stay in the West for races at Portland International Raceway. Next, the series makes a stop at Denver, Colorado. The penultimate round is held at Mosport International Raceway and the series finale takes place at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Round one of the 2005 SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge Grand Touring Championship was held at Sebring International Raceway as a support event for the 12-Hours of Sebring. Thirty-one Grand Touring drivers would compete in a fifty-minute race around the seventeen-turn 3.74-mile road course.
|It is the opening lap of the 2005 SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge for the Grand Touring competitors. Leading the field through Sebring International Raceway’s turn fifteen is the series current champion, Tommy Archer driving the 3R Racing Dodge Viper. Behind him is the pole-winning Porsche 911 GT3 Cup of Wolf Henzler and Archer’s teammate, Phil McClure, in another Viper. Thirty-one drivers participate in the first round.|
|The Grand Touring grid for round one of the 2005 World Challenge season what determined by practice times after qualifying was rained out. The defending series champion, Tommy Archer, recorded the second-fastest time and started on the outside of the front row. Archer jumped into first place early and led flat-to-flag. Driving the No. 1 3R Racing Dodge Viper, he went unchallenged and was able to control the pace of the contest.|
|Finishing in the runner-up position for the second consecutive year was Andy Pilgrim driving the Mobil 1 / Motorola / Bose sponsored Cadillac CTS-V. Last season, Pilgrim’s result was much more dramatic as he stalled the Cadillac and had to charge through the field. This year, Pilgrim was gridded fourth and fought with the Dodge Viper of Phil McClure and Robin Liddell and Wolf Henzler in Porsches to finish second by a margin of 0.490-seconds.|
|In 2005, Robin Liddell joined John Groom’s team as part of a three-car effort. Drivers, Liddell and Groom, were joined by Canadian, Alex Penfold and raced the Porsche 911 Cup model with backing from AXA Financial. Liddell was gridded sixth for the start and passed Phil McClure and Max Papis before battling with the Cadillac of Andy Pilgrim and Wolf Henzler in another Porsche for the final spot on the podium.|
|There were two Volvo S60 R entered under the Volvo Cars of North America banner. Driving one of the Volvos was the five-time 24-Hours of Le Mans winner, Derek Bell. Racing the second car was a series rookie, Jameson Riley. Bell would retire after four-laps with a transmission issue. Riley was gridded twenty-seventh and advanced ten positions during the race to win the Sunoco Hard Charger Award.|
|Joining the Cadillac team on a full-time basis this season was Max Papis. Papis arrived with a resume that included stints in Formula 1, CART and sports cars. His best time in practice resulted in the fifth starting position – one place behind his teammate, Andy Pilgrim. Papis’ race turned out to be eventful as he mixed it up with the Porsches of Robin Liddell and Wolf Henzler and Phil McClure driving a Viper before finishing fifth.|
|Phil McClure made some significant changes in the off-season. He changed his car number from 73 to 2. In even bigger news, the driver who, since 2000, scored eighteen top-five finishes and two victories driving a Chevrolet Corvette would be racing a Dodge Viper this season. McClure appeared at Sebring with a Viper prepared by 3R Racing and started in the third position. Unable to hold off Robin Liddell and Max Papis, he finished sixth.|
|The 2004 Porsche Supercup Champion, Wolf Henzler, made his series debut last season at Infineon Raceway and won the event. He also entered the finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and grabbed a second victory. This year, Henzler would participate on a full-time basis. At Sebring, he set the fastest practice time and when qualifying was cancelled, Henzler started on the pole. He was second for most of the race but finished fourth.|
|Three-time World Challenge titleholder (1991, 1992 and 1996), Lou Gigliotti, left the series to compete in the Trans-Am championship but returned in 2004. Last season, he captured two podium finishes and was tenth in the final standings. This year, Gigliotti was racing the No. 28 LG Pro Long Tuber Header sponsored Chevrolet Corvette C6. He was seventh quickest in practice but retired with an engine failure on lap-6.|
|1||2||Tommy Archer||Dodge Viper||20||-|
|2||4||Andy Pilgrim||Cadillac CTS-V||20||-|
|3||6||Robin Liddell||Porsche 911 Cup||20||-|
|4||1||Wolf Henzler||Porsche 911 Cup||20||-|
|5||5||Max Papis||Cadillac CTS-V||20||-|
|6||3||Phil McClure||Dodge Viper||20||-|
|7||9||Mike McCann||Dodge Viper||20||-|
|8||10||Leighton Reese||Chevrolet Corvette C6||20||-|
|9||11||Tim Wiens||Dodge Viper||20||-|
|10||17||Thomas Oates||Chevrolet Corvette Z06||20||-|
|11||12||Sonny Whelen||Chevrolet Corvette Z06||20||-|
|12||14||Jim McCann||Dodge Viper||20||-|
|13||8||Alex Penfold||Porsche 911 Cup||20||-|
|14||13||Bob Woodhouse||Dodge Viper||20||-|
|15||18||Mike Davis||Saleen SR||20||-|
|16||16||Lenny Diller||Dodge Viper||20||-|
|17||27||Jameson Riley||Volvo S60R||20||-|
|18||15||Mike Hartley||Dodge Viper GTS||20||-|
|19||23||John Bourassa||Porsche 911 T||19||-|
|20||20||Kenny Hawkins||Dodge Viper||19||-|
|21||24||Philip DiPippo||Chevrolet Corvette Z06||19||-|
|22||19||Brett Pearson||Dodge Viper||19||-|
|23||22||Adel Elsayed||Viper Competition Coupe||18||-|
|24||21||Warren Diller||Dodge Viper||18||-|
|25||30||Tony Gaples||Chevrolet Corvette C6||13||Suspension|
|26||25||Ed Braswell||Chevrolet Corvette Z06||10||Mechanical|
|27||7||Lou Gigliotti||Chevrolet Corvette C6||6||Engine|
|28||26||Derek Bell||Volvo S60R||4||Transmission|
|29||31||Stu Hayner||Pontiac GTO||2||Engine|
|30||29||Jon Groom||Porsche 911 Cup||2||Engine|
|31||28||Randy Hale||Ford Mustang||1||Mechanical|
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