In 2007, the Sports Car Club of America’s (SCCA) popular World Challenge series for Touring and Grand Touring cars entered its 18th-season.
With continued sponsorship from SPEED TV, the championship attracted a loyal following of race fans and attracted competitors.
Race weekends included two standing start fifty-minute races – one for the Grand Touring class and another for 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. The maximum amount of weight that can be removed from a car is 100-pounds. And, no more than 200-pounds can be added to a GT class car and 150-pounds to a Touring Car.
There were eleven-race weekends during the 2007 season – ten-races for each class. The Touring cars did not compete at Long Beach or a new venue at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Touring Cars raced twice at Watkins Glen, which was a new addition to the 2007 schedule. Also, the Touring Cars were the only World Challenge class competing at Lime Rock. As in 2006, the opening round was in March at Sebring, Florida and ended in late October at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, California.
The opening round of the 2007 SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge Touring Car series was conducted at Sebring International Raceway as part of the 55th Annual 12-Hours of Sebring. Twenty-five drivers would compete on the seventeen-turn 3.74-mile road course for fifty-minutes.
|Twenty-five SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge Touring Car competitors prepared to line-up on Sebring International’s front straight for round one of the 2007 season. On the pole in the No. 72 Mazda 6 is Jeff Altenburg. Beside Altenburg is his Tri-Point Motorsports teammate, Randy Pobst. In the second row are the third-fastest qualifier, Kuno Wittmer, driving a RealTime Racing Acura RSX and the BMW 325i of Seth Thomas.|
|Leading flag-to-flag for the win was Jeff Altenburg in the Mazdaspeed Motorsports Development Mazda 6. This was his first Touring Car victory since the final round in 2003 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Altenburg’s task was made that much easier by his teammate, Randy Pobst. Pobst tucked in behind Altenburg and kept the third place RealTime Racing Acura TSX of Pierre Kleinubing at bay.|
|Finishing in the runner-up position, just 0.433-seconds behind the winner, Jeff Altenburg was his teammate, Randy Pobst. The 2003 SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge Grand Touring champion started on the outside of the front row. Pobst made several attempts to pass Altenburg but was equally occupied with keeping the RealTime Racing Acura TSX of Pierre Kleinubing behind him. He finished in the runner-up position.|
|The No. 1 Acura Certified Pre-Owned sponsored Acura TSX was driven by the defending SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge Touring Car champion, Pierre Kleinubing. Kleinubing qualified fifth fastest. At the start of the race, he trailed his teammate, Kuno Wittmer and the BMW 325i of Seth Thomas. Kleinubing inherited third place when Wittmer and Thomas made mistakes. He caught the leaders but had to settle for third place.|
|Chip Herr joined STaSIS Engineering in 2005, driving an Audi A4. The relationship garnered three victories last season and a third place in the driver’s championship for Herr. At Sebring International Raceway, Herr qualified tenth fastest. In the race, he advanced six positions and finished in fourth place. Herr’s efforts during the contest earned him the Sunoco Hard Charger award.|
|The Touring Car Rookie, Stan Wilson, captured two awards. Wilson drove the No. 92 Sorted Performance prepared Dodge SRT-4. He was the nineteen fastest in the qualifying session. On the opening lap of the race, Wilson advanced seven positions, which earned him the B&M Shifters Holeshot award. He also received the Piloti Rookie of the Race prize for finishing in fourteen place.|
|After a frustrating year of campaigning a Mercedes-Benz C230, Kuno Wittmer joined the RealTime Racing team. Wittmer drove the No. 44 Acura Certified Pre-owned Acura RSX. He immediately demonstrated his talent by qualifying third at Sebring International Raceway. Unfortunately, contact early in the contest took him out of contention and Wittmer was in seventh place at the checkered flag.|
|The most interesting Touring Car entry was fielded by Dr. Jim Osborn. For the last five seasons, Osborn had competed in a BMW. In 2007, he debuted a Volkswagen Jetta TDI. This biodiesel Volkswagen is powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder engine with a displacement of 1944cc. It was estimated to have 220-horsepower. Unfortunately, Osborn qualified last and retired on the second lap.|
|The podium at Sebring International Raceway for round one of the SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge Touring Car championship. In the center from Mazdaspeed Motorsports Development and scoring his first victory since 2003 is Jeff Altenburg. The runner-up and the winner’s teammate, Randy Pobst is standing on the left side of the rostrum. Completing the podium is the third-place finisher, Pierre Kleinubing.|
|1||1||Jeff Altenburg||Mazda 6||18||-|
|2||2||Randy Pobst||Mazda 6||18||-|
|3||5||Pierre Kleinubing||Acura TSX||18||-|
|4||10||Chip Herr||Audi A4||18||-|
|5||11||Peter Cunningham||Acura TSX||18||-|
|6||23||Charles Espenlaub||Mazda 6||18||-|
|7||3||Kuno Wittmer||Acura RSX||18||-|
|8||14||Brandon Davis||Acura TSX||18||-|
|9||7||Dino Crescentini||Audi A4||18||-|
|10||4||Seth Thomas||BMW 325i||18||-|
|11||23||Michael Galati||Mazda 6||18||-|
|12||4||Jason Martinelli||BMW 325Ci||18||-|
|13||24||James Sofronas||BMW 325Ci||18||-|
|14||5||Stan Wilson||Dodge SRT-4||18||-|
|15||22||Mary Katharine||Mazda 6||18||-|
|16||13||Nick Esayian||Acura TSX||18||-|
|17||24||Phil Parlato||BMW 325i||18||-|
|18||5||Hal Brown||Dodge SRT-4||17||-|
|19||24||James Clay||BMW 325i||13||Mechanical|
|20||5||Rob Holland||Dodge SRT-4||10||Transmission|
|21||9||Charlie Putman||Mazda 6||8||Mechanical|
|22||25||Jameson Riley||Volvo S40||8||-|
|23||21||Brian Smith||Dodge SRT-4||4||Mechanical|
|24||17||Ian Baas||Audi A4||4||Mechanical|
|25||24||Jim Osborn||Volkswagen Jetta TDI||2||Mechanical|
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