In 2007, the Sports Car Club of America’s (SCCA) World Challenge series was in its 18th-season. With SPEED TV as the primary sponsor, SCCA had developed a successful format that attracted competitors and fans.

Race weekends included two standing start 50-minute races – one for the GT class and another for Touring Cars (TC).

  • GT – The GT class rules accommodated a large range of vehicles from different manufacturers. Engine displacements ranged from the 2.5-litre turbocharged Volvo S60-R to the Dodge Viper with an 8.3-liter V10 motor. While most of the cars were rear wheel drive, the series also permitted all-wheel-drive vehicles such as the Nissan Skyline GT-R, Porsche 911 AWD TT, Subaru WRX STI and Volvo S60R. A majority of the competitors raced the Chevrolet Corvette, Porsche 911 GT3 Cup or Dodge Viper.

  • Touring Car – The Touring Cars were limited to an engine displacement of 2.8-liters. Vehicles originally equipped with turbocharged or supercharged motors were also homologated for the series. The class was split predominantly between front wheel drive cars from Acura, Honda, and Mazda and the rear wheel drives such as the BMW 325. Also proving very competitive was the all-wheel drive Audi A4.

    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 added or removed ballast from a car based on the finishing position of a driver. The maximum amount of weight that could be removed from a car was 100-pounds. And, no more than 200-pounds could 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 the two classes. The Touring cars did not compete at Long Beach or a new venue at Lowes 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 the championship ended in late October at Laguna Seca, California.

    There were twenty entries and nineteen starters for round six of the 2007 World Challenge Touring car race at Toronto’s Exhibition Place. Competitors would be challenged by damp conditions on the eleven-turn 1.755-mile temporary street course.

  • The World Challenge Touring Car podium at Toronto. On the left is second place finisher Ian Baas and the right Pierre Kleinubing, who captured third. Between these two is the winner Peter Cunningham. Cunningham’s victory ended a twenty-five race winless streak which dated back to March 2005 at Sebring.
    Peter Cunningham qualified his Acura TSX fourth and inherited first when early race leaders Kuno Wittmer and Ian Baas slid off the track and Chip Herr experienced throttles problems. In the late stages of the race, he was caught by his teammate Pierre Kleinubing and Ian Baas. An incident between the teammates allowed Baas to take second from Kleinubing. Cunningham was able to hold off Baas and win by 0.538-seconds.
    The No. 18 Audi A4 was driven by Ian Baas. Baas started second but was the first victim of the wet track when he slid into the corner-three runoff area. This incident dropped him to fifteenth but he made steady progress and by lap-24 he was third behind the RealTime Acuras of Cunningham and Kleinubing. An incident between the teammates allowed Baas to take second. He challenged Cunningham for the lead but finished second.
    In post qualifying tech Pierre Kleinubing’s front splitter was too low. As a result, the defending Touring Car champion was required to start from the eighteenth position. Kleinubing was able to move through the field and found himself second to his teammate, Peter Cunningham. On lap-24, he hit Cunningham which allowed the Audi of Ian Baas to take second. Kleinubing took the checkered flag in third.
    The No. 73 Mazdaspeed Motorsports Development Mazda 6 was raced by Randy Pobst. In the first five rounds of the 2007 season, Pobst had two wins and four podiums which gave him a comfortable lead in the Drivers’ Championship. At Toronto, he qualified six and finished fourth. Pobst left the event with his points lead intact.
    Canadian, Kuno Wittmer, started on the pole in the RealTime Racing Acura RSX. The start of the race was in wet conditions but Wittmer was able to hold off the all-wheel drive STaSIS Audi A4s of Ian Baas and Chip Herr. He led the first four laps until he was caught out by the slick conditions and had to use the runoff area at turn-six. Wittmer returned to the track and was fifth at the checkered flag.
    Chip Herr drove the No. 17 STaSIS Audi A4. Herr started from the third position and took the lead on lap-5 when Kuno Wittmer was forced to use the runoff area in corner-six. He ran out front for four laps but on lap-10 Herr’s Audi experienced throttle problems which cause him to drop down the running order. He finished three laps behind the leaders in seventeenth place.
    Jeff Altenburg entered the Toronto event second to his teammate, Randy Pobst, in the Drivers’ Championship. The driver of the No. 72 Mazdaspeed Motorsports Development Mazda 6 qualified seventh and finished sixth. After the race, Altenburg was still second in points but the gap between him and Pobst had grown.
    The No. 95 Tindol Motorsports Mazda 6 was driven by Charles Espenlaub. Espenlaub’s season was off to a good start. In the first five rounds, his worst finish was an eighth at Miller Motorsports Park and he had earned a podium at Watkins Glen. After qualifying sixth at Toronto, it appeared that Espenlaub’s streak of top-ten finishes would continue but at the checkered flag, he was eighteenth – 7-laps behind the leaders.

    FINISHSTARTDRIVERCARLAPSRETIREMENTS
    14Peter CunninghamAcura TSX28-
    22Ian BaasAudi A428-
    318Pierre KleinubingAcura TSX28-
    46Randy PobstMazda 628-
    51Kuno WittmerAcura RSX28-
    67Jeff AltenburgMazda 628-
    78Michael GalatiMazda 628-
    819James SofronasBMW 325Ci28-
    913Nick EsayianAcura TSX28-
    1010Jason MartinelliBMW 325Ci28-
    1114Stan WilsonDodge SRT-428-
    1217Tor KruegerLexus IS 30028-
    139Brandon DavisAcura TSX27-
    1412Seth ThomasBMW 325i27-
    1511Roberto SantosMazda 625Crash
    1616Andrew WojteczkoLexus IS 30025-
    173Chip HerrAudi A425-
    185Charles EspenlaubMazda 621-
    1920James ClayBMW 325i0DNS
    2015Charlie PutmanMazda 60Crash

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